By Chef Selwyn Richards
PRIDE Cuisine Expert
There’s nothing more comforting than curling up in front of a warm fire with a good cup of hot chocolate or mulled cider. Warm beverages have a way of taking the bluster out of a cold winter day. The ideas for a warm beverage are endless. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started on that cup of warmth.
Hot Chocolate — Kids and adults savor the taste of hot chocolate. Warm milk, chocolate and marshmallows have a way of soothing us. Today packaged hot chocolate mix is in abundance. There are numerous types and various flavors. Yet there’s nothing quite like homemade hot chocolate to warm and soothe a cold and tired body.
Mulled Cider — Apple cider is a great way to warm up on a blustery day. Mulled cider gets its comforting effect from spices infused in the flavor during heating. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are the spices most often used. Mace, ginger, allspice, orange slices and lemon zest can also bring out the flavor of a mulled cider. It’s best to use whole spices to achieve a full flavor. Ground spices may be used, but the taste will differ slightly.
For the best results when making mulled cider, steep the cider over low heat. Simmering the cider for a couple of hours will bring out the best flavor. Do not boil the cider or the taste may become bitter. To keep your cider warm, place it in the crock pot after simmering.
Hot Tea — We are fast finding in today’s world that tea is one drink that offers a healthy alternative to caffeinated drinks. An abundance of flavored teas, comforting teas and healthy teas are available in supermarkets everywhere. Herbal teas have also become a big hit.
Most herbal teas contain no caffeine. Spearmint tea is soothing and is easy on the digestive system. Peppermint tea is also quite soothing but can be hard on the bladder and digestive system if consumed on a regular basis. Mint teas also have large amounts of vitamin C. This may also be a problem for those whose bodies are sensitive to this vitamin.
Regulate your mint intake in teas by making your own. Add mint leaves to tea while steeping. It may take a few tries to find the right adjustment of mint, but it is well worth it when it when you do find the perfect dose.
Chamomile tea is another comforting herbal tea. Chamomile is great for naturally relieving muscle spasms that can be brought on by the cold weather. Be careful if you are allergic to ragweed as chamomile is related to the ragweed family.
Flavored Hot Water — This beverage might sound a little strange but with some imagination flavored hot waters can be quite delicious. Add flavored extracts with a tiny bit of brown sugar or honey. Stir in orange, lemon or lime zest to add flavor. Spices can be added to give hot water a delicious taste.
These are just a few ideas on how to achieve a soothing cup of warmth. Experiment with different herbs and spices or head off to the supermarket to see what is available. Relax and enjoy.
Cinnamon Cranberry Halloween Tea
What You Need:
4 quarts of water
1 1/2 Cups of sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
8 Cups of cranberry juice
4 Cups of orange juice
1/3 Cup of lemon juice
How to Make It:
Pour the water into a Dutch oven pan and place it over high heat. Add the sugar and cinnamon and bring the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard. Pour the cranberry juice, orange juice and lemon juice into the mixture and stir to blend them in well. Serve warm with a cinnamon stick in each cup. Makes 32 servings. Preparation time: approximately 5 minutes; Cooking time: approximately 25 minutes; Total time: approximately 30 minutes.
There’s nothing like a warm cup of tea to liven up the Halloween celebration. This cinnamon-laced cranberry tea has a bit of citrus to give it a little spark. Place the tea in a crock pot on low to keep it warm and tasty all day long.
A “LIKKLE” BIT OF HUMOUR
“Please send me a cup of tea”
A new recruit wanted to have a cup of tea. So he dialed the number of the pantry but got the wrong one.
When someone picked the phone he said, “Please send me a cup of tea.”
“Do you know whom you are talking to?” the other side asked. “No,” he replied.
“You are talking to the director of this company,” the other side replied.
Then the recruit asked, “Do you know who is talking on this side?”
“No,” the other side replied.
“Thanks,” said the recruit, and he put the phone down.