Tea, ghosts and Casa Loma

I recently spent one week of my autumn holiday in my beloved city of Toronto.  This is my favorite time of year and the day I arrived to the island airport was nothing less than a perfect quintessential fall day.  There are many things to love about this great city.  I had the opportunity to revisit both old and new.  My favorite being the plethora of small and delicious coffee and tea shops.  My old hood, the Annex, is host to many cozy and warm spots to take the edge off of a cool autumn morning.  Ezra’s Pound which serves lattes up by the bowl is an all time favorite.  My timing was impeccable early one morning as I popped in for a chai tea latte just as hot yummy croissants were being pulled from the oven.

The neighborhood where Ezra’s Pound resides is also nearby to Casa Loma.  Toronto’s very unique “castle” in the city.  Casa Loma was built by a famous Toronto business man named Sir Henry Pellatt.  The home is now owned and operated by the Kiwanis club and open for tours.  The prettiest room on the tour is the “Conservatory” which was a green house of sorts for many exotic plants and flowers.  This was also Lady Pellatt’s favorite room where many afternoon teas were once held.

David’s Tea is another favorite.  Although, David’s has moved to the States and growing at a rapid pace, it had it’s beginnings in Canada.  David’s mirrors the changing season’s the way the fashion industry does.  It introduces blends that are new but still retains customer favorites.  During the fall season I cannot get enough of David’s pumpkin chai tea.  I can be anywhere in the world but when I open a tin the fragrance automatically takes me back to my kitchen in Toronto.  My very good friend Mike surprised me with three tins of pumpkin chai tea upon my arrival.  Hurrah!

The evening concluded with a ghost tour of the University of Toronto.  The university campus is a wonderful place to walk and explore.   The tour we did was with “Muddy York Walking Tours.”  The tour guide (as well as founder of the company) was exceptional.  We started at the old steps of the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) and continued through the historic campus.  He shared with us many stories of ghosts and ghouls as well as history of Toronto and the campus.  It was an exhilarating walk and by the end it appeared the entire city was haunted.  The Hart House on campus has a wonderful restaurant called “Gallery Grill.”  They have a nice variety of loose leaf tea that can be enjoyed in the lounge near the fireplace.

Toronto's Castle in the City!

Toronto’s Castle in the City!

Ezra'sPoundChai

Ezra’s Pound- Latte bowl

hauntedUniv

“Haunted” building on the ghost tour

torontoSkyLineatDusk

Toronto Skyline at Dusk

 

Jam with Tea

I started making jam about two years ago.  The first experiment was at my friend’s family farm house in Canada.  An amazing experience as well as intimidating considering her family cooks and cans all sorts of delicacies.  I found a pear/vanilla jam recipe in the New York Times and started my experimentation.

Today I made that same jam only I used Vanilla Chai tea in place of the water.  I also experimented with a tea/jam recipe from this months Tea magazine.  The jam is a cranberry/apple using a black tea.  I made the jam using a spicy Masala tea (a friend had brought me from Kenya.)  The jam came out delicious!  I was really happy with both considering my cooking experiments sometimes go awry!:)

jams

Pear Vanilla Jam

http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/3057/Chunky-Vanilla-Pear-Jam.html

I substituted water for brewed Gypsy Rooibos Vanilla Chai tea.

http://teamag.com/

Cranberry Apple Preserves (taken from Latest Issue of Tea Magazine)

This preserve is equally at home on the breakfast table or with your afternoon scones as it is on your Thanksgiving dinner table.  It can also be made with pears in place of apples or a combination of apples and pears. For the black tea, Darjeeling, Ceylon and Keemun are excellent choices, but any black tea should give you a very good result.  This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily, so make plenty to use and to share.

Yield: 4 cups preserves

4 cups peeled and diced apples

2 cups fresh cranberries, washed

3 cups sugar  (I also cut the sugar to 2 cups)

2 limes

3/4 cup triple strength black tea  (used a spicy masala tea)

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger root

1/4 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients except the lime and ginger to a heavy pan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and turn down to medium.  Simmer, skimming the foam after about 5 minutes.  Let simmer until the cranberries have burst and the apples or pears are tender, roughly 10 to 15 minutes.  Add lime juice, zest and grated ginger.  Simmer until thickened and remove from heat.  Let cool.  Process in a canner, or store covered in the refrigerator.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Anne of Green Gables and Tea

I’m re-reading “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M Montgomery (yet) again!  I love the book and I also adore the Canadian miniseries that was adapted from the book featuring Megan Follows.  Anne is one of the most celebrated young heroines in literature (with a very close second, “Jo” of “Little Women” fame) and she is such an incredible role model for young girls.

I am at the part of the book where, Anne invites Diana to Tea with tragic results.  Diana essentially gets drunk off of currant wine as opposed to drinking afternoon tea.  I look forward to having an “Anne of Green Gables” day to celebrate my favorite little literature orphan!

If you have never read or watched “Anne” please do!  Be sure to enjoy with a lovely cup of black currant tea and celebrate the genius of L.M Montgomery!