Friday, November 21, 2008

On Chai Tea and Piracy

I’ve got a little catching up to do this weekend. It’s Friday morning, and it’s going to take me a few hours before I really get the ball rolling on my work. So I’m going to start my day right, with Nutella toast and a nice cup of chai tea. The radio’s on, and after breakfast I’ll clean up. Then, I’ll probably make some cookies, and then, then I’ll get started. But my day starts with this cup of chai, a recipe from my aunt.

I had entirely forgotten about this recipe, but I remembered it last week. With the cold comes a tastes for warm spiciness. During the past few days, I’ve kept a pot of it on the stove, perpetually warming, ready. It’s warm, sweet and spicy, perfect for a cold apartment, and it’s better than any tea bag. I’ll tell you why: There’s something a little witchy about it, when you throw pinches of this and handfuls of that into a big pot of simmering aroma that fills up the place. As well, with tea bags, you can’t know or decide what goes into your chai. So if you’re partial to cardamom, double it. The original recipe called for sugar, but I prefer honey for this. I have reason to believe this tea will be a staple for me this winter.

Chai Tea
Adapted from a recipe from my Aunt Hélène

3 tbsp loose black tea
1 cinnamon stick
3 pieces star anise
6 whole cloves
2 pieces whole cardamom pods
6 whole black peppercorns
6 cups hot water
1 ½ to 2 cups milk
1/3 cup honey
Bring all ingredients except the milk and honey to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Reduce heat, add milk and honey, reheat until very hot, but avoid boiling. Adjust sweetness if needed. Serve, with or without straining.

This week
Somali pirates are changing the economic life in port towns along the Gulf of Aden, where they inject their criminal fortunes into local businesses. Entrepreneurs and restaurant owners have seized an opportunity, setting up shop as caterers for the crews of highjacked cargo ships. They offer a range of "western style food" , including grilled fish and pasta, that will please the palate of the kidnappees.
Click here for an article by the AP.

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