Holiday weekend chai

We’ve had a sensationally quiet weekend. Lots of cooking and chatting and sleeping. It’s been pretty nice really. 

I made chai this morning. If you are like me, you have a daily caffeine ration. I have a coffee first thing, and then one around 9.30am and then a cup of milky tea sometime around noon. Any more than that and I am zinging around at midnight getting mad and regretful because that extra cuppa means I don’t get to sleep so well. 

So I have been searching for a low-caffeine (no-caffeine preferably) beverage to satisfy that craving for afternoon comfort. Warm, frothy chai seems just the ticket. 

Chai is traditionally made with good black, stimulating indian tea so I am going to work on a roobios version of this (personally, I can’t stand rooibos on it’s own) for a sleepy night.


Basically, I googled chai recipes and took the bits I liked best from a bunch of them and then also consulted what we readily had on hand. 

It goes a little something like this:

4 cardamom pods
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cloves
Tiny little knob of fresh ginger, peeled
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups of water
2 cups of milk
Sugar to taste (we added a couple of tablespoons as per one recipe and it was crazy-too-much)
2 black tea bags
Grated nutmeg to top it off 

Dry roast the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon, moving them around in a frying pan over a moderate heat until they look toasty and smell fab (thanks Kate for this suggestion!). Smash them up in a mortar and pestle.  At this point anybody wandering into your house will be impressed by the fantastic smell.

Transfer smashed spices into a saucepan with the ginger, water and small grinding of black pepper. Let it come to the boil and bubble away for about 5 minutes. Then add the milk and sugar and stir. Let it come back to the boil and bubble away for five more minutes. Stir it occasionally and enjoy the nice smells. Remove from heat and add your two tea bags and let it brew for a few minutes. Sieve into mugs and grate a sprinkling of nutmeg over the top.

Obviously this is a very made-up kind of recipe. It’s totally open to how much of what you put in according to your own tastes – a piece of vanilla bean (or vanilla sugar), star anise, fennel seeds, honey instead of sugar would all be pretty yum. I am going to keep working on this and come up with the recipe that makes those caffeine-free afternoons completely happy. 

And apart from chai another highlight of the weekend was a surprise visitor. Look who turned up in the ‘hood? Someone dumped poor old Mazza on the nature strip in our street so we have moved her to her new home of “under the house” ready for the next hard rubbish when I am sure someone towing a trailer will take her off to a better place. She has nice legs, and very fancy footwear, I think.