Friday, 27 February 2015

Moroccan Mint Tea

On Wednesday afternoon this week, the Cycling 4 All team at university teamed up with local businesses and a few groups within the university itself to deliver the Food Festival, a 3 hour lunch to celebrate food, Fairtrade fortnight, locally-sourced products, and home-grown foods.  There was a banana cake baking competition, the Sustrans smoothie bike, Jamie's Ministry of Food, and other stalls, as well as a quiz where you had to guess which items could be Fairtrade and which could not.  Did you know that you can have Fairtrade gold?  I found a recipe card for the following Moroccan mint tea at a stall for Food on Campus, which is an initiative run by the university to encourage students and staff to plant, grow and harvest their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Ingredients (to serve 6)

10 sprigs fresh mint, plus extra to decorate
3 teaspoons green tea
3 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
4 cups water


  1. Boil the water and pour a small amount in the teapot, swishing it around to warm the pot.
  2. Combine the mint and green tea and sugar in the teapot, then fill it with the rest of the hot water.
  3. Let the tea brew for three minutes.
  4. Set out glasses for the tea, preferable tumblers to match the style of the glasses used in Morocco.
  5. Fill just one glass with the tea, then pour it back into the pot.  Repeat this action to help to dissolve the tea and distribute the sugar.
  6. Pour the tea.  Aim to have a foam on the surface of the tea by pouring with the teapot a high distance above the glasses.  If you do not have at least a little foam on the top of the first glass, then pour it back into the teapot and try again until the tea starts to foam up nicely.
  7. Decorate with the remaining sprigs of mint.

    Friday, 20 February 2015

    Saratoga Springs Ice Cream

    Back in August 2010, my family spent about ten days staying at the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa at Disney World Florida.  Amongst a busy schedule of activities for teenagers during the evening and plenty of things for kids as well (including watching Disney films by the hotel's swimming pool), I found an event for making ice cream.  On the day, Mum and I had been shopping in the Downtown Disney shopping district, so we had to rush to get a bus back to the hotel to make this soft, creamy ice cream, which we then ate back in our hotel room.


    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup cream
    1/4 cup sugar
    4 tablespoons vanilla essence or 1 packet of hot chocolate mix


    1. Place the ingredients into a pint-size zip-lock bag.  Make sure the bag is tightly sealed.
    2. Cover the bottom of a large plastic bag with ice.
    3. Add about a cup of salt (more needed if there are more ice cream bags).
    4. Place zip-lock bag of ice cream mix on top of the ice and salt.
    5. Shake large plastic bag for about 5-10 minutes or until ice cream is firm.

    Friday, 13 February 2015


    Next Tuesday (17th February) is Shrove Tuesday, or, as others know it, Pancake Day.  If it were a typical Tuesday, there wouldn't be much time to make pancakes as my brother would have school and would miss out.  However this year, Pancake Day falls on the Tuesday that my brother is on half-term, and I won't be needed in uni until evening, so we can take the opportunity to have pancakes for breakfast together.  This is the pancake recipe that my grandma uses and showed me last year when she was teaching me how to make pancake rolls.  It's not a typical American pancake recipe, but it closer to the crepe-style of pancake.


    1/4 lb plain flour
    1 egg
    1/2 pint of milk
    1 teaspoon salt


    1. Measure appropriate quantity of plain flour.
    2. Add eggs to mixing bowl.  Add one teaspoon of salt and whisk, preferably with a free-standing machine.
    3. Measure out milk into jug.
    4. Gradually add flour and milk to the egg mixture and whisk.  At intervals, use a spatula to remove mix from the sides of the bowl and incorporate them back into the mixture.
    5. Set pan on cooker at about level 3.  Using a piece of spare rag, grease pan with sunflower oil.  Grease pan for each new pancake.
    6. Add two tablespoons of batter for each pancake.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan and cook on both sides.
    7. Serve the pancakes with sugar and lemon, or honey, or maple syrup, or any other topping of your choice.

    Friday, 6 February 2015

    Raw Granola with Raw Banana and Cashew Yoghurt

    Last Thursday was the Health and Wellbeing fayre at uni, marking the launch of a new initiative to promote and sustain health and wellbeing amongst students and staff at the university through food, exercise, relaxation, and services such as the university's counselling service, the mental health charity Mind and NHS services.  There were various stalls with leaflets or, in the case of the Sustrans stall, a bicycle fitted with a blender which you could ride and make your own berry smoothie (which will next be available at uni on Wednesday 25th February for the Food Festival), as well as a quiz which you could complete with the chance of winning various prizes including month-long gym memberships.  At the stall at which you could register your attendance and maybe also receive a goodie bag (which contained a stress ball in the shape of a lemon, lip balm, hand sanitiser, a pedometer, a hand warmer and a few leaflets), you were encouraged to write on a post-it what you would like to see this initiative do for the university.  Being an advocate of food and looking after yourself, I took three post-its and wrote:

    1. Introduce compulsory timetabled sessions on yoga/relaxation for all students.
    2. Encourage students to eat breakfast everyday.
    3. Encourage students to get enough sleep each night.
    That second option is what I have a post on for this week.  Breakfast.  The most important meal of the day, or so they say.  The meal that should not be skipped in favour of sneaking a bit more sleep in before a lecture.  One of my friends was talking about wanting some granola a few days ago, so I felt inspired to look up a recipe for granola.  I found one in the January 2015 of the Asda magazine, but I've adapted it a lot by making it into a raw version by not cooking the granola mix and topping it with raw banana and cashew yoghurt, in accordance with this recipe for raw banana and cashew yoghurt from Choosing Raw.

    Ingredients (to make 4 small servings)

    1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours or more, then drained
    2 large bananas
    1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2/3 cup tap water or coconut water
    1 pinch sea salt
    200g rolled oats
    raisins, to serve
    blueberries, to serve


    1. For the yoghurt, blend all the ingredients together until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
    2. Mix together the rolled oats and raisins.
    3. Scoop some of the yoghurt into the bottom of each glass.  On top of this, add a layer of the oat and raisin mixture.  Add another layer of the yoghurt to the glass.  At the very top, add another layer of the granola mix.
    4. Add some blueberries to serve.