Monday, March 23, 2009

tea for two

Tea for twoand two for tea,
Just me for you,

And you for me

And so on and so forth ;). Welcome to Londontown, my friends! The British capital was never an immediate must-see city on my list of exotic places I'd like to go in the world, but when I found out that two of my best friends and former roommates were spending their break their I knew I had to visit!
Our first day was spent sightseeing in London and meeting up with friends who are studying there. But that wasn't enough, we longed for a small British town, and so we hopped on a train for...
Winchester, Karen's tourist book of day-trips described it as the most picturesque town outside of London.
but we also discovered that it had religious significance,
the longest Gothic cathedral in Europe, for example,
or perhaps, cultural significance,
as we found even further down the road,
at the home of Jane Austen,
and if that wasn't enough for us, there was the Great Hall,
that was extrememly historically-significant, because it housed King Arthur's Round Table.
We were blown away by what naiive luck we had!
Then we found ourselves hungry and happened to wander right into the alleged oldest pub in all of England, Royal Oak,
Could this day have gotten any better?
It did. With this plate right here, the Special of the Day- Chili, Saffron Rice, and Crisps,
followed by a superb Belgium waffle, sandwiching chocolate ice-cream. YUM.
By the time we got back into London all we had time for was a short pub crawl in the neighborhood of our hotel... what a shame ;).
During our final day we stuck to the remaining touristic London activity, including Westminster Abbey,
Big Ben (yes it was raining, figures, lol),
and the Tate Modern Art musuem.
I couldn't have asked for a better end to my spring break! I met these girls by chance, (flashback photo!) being paired with Courtney (left) as my freshman year roommate, and having Karen (right) living down the hall from us. Now I can't imagine my life without them.
But before I get too homesick let's reflect back to that London tea. I found I've really gotten into tea the past few years; drinking it to start my day at breakfast, having a cup to warm me up from the afternoon winterchill, and sipping an herbal variety in the evening as I wind down. Do you recall this photo from Chile? It is because of my frequent use of that mug that my host-dad dubbed me as the abuelita flaca and eventually gave it to me! I love tea, green, red, black, white, and I really couldn't choose a favorite. Thankfully, so do the wonderful people at, and they've been gracious enough to provide us all with a little guide on tea-lover essentials: --> Tea is one of those universally loved beverages that you can find in any cafe or restaurant anywhere in the world. Whether it's served hot or cold, with milk or without, black, green or Oolong - tea is a refreshing treat, morning, noon or night. When it comes to making tea yourself, there are a couple of different methods you can use. You also have different ways in which you can serve your tea - whether you choose a porcelain or china teapot that matches your dinnerware or a modern stainless steel tea kettle - here's a quick guide on how to make tea and some of the cool tools you should have on hand.
Tea Bags: Probably the easiest tea-making method is using pre-made tea bags available in any grocery or convenience store. Tea leaves are pre-measured and packaged inside paper filters. Simply use your tea kettle, tea pot or electric thermo pot to boil some water and pour directly into your cup or mug. It's important to keep in mind that most tea bags are good for one use only. Tea bags are good for making hot tea in a short amount of time.
Tea Strainers: Another popular way of making hot tea is by using a strainer. Strainers are placed over or in a tea cup to catch loose tea leaves. Usually made from sterling silver, stainless steel or china, strainers often come in a set with a strainer and a saucer.
Tea Infusers: Another popular tea making device is a tea infuser, in which loose tea leaves are placed for brewing. Called a teaball, tea maker or tea egg - tea infusers are typically small spherical, conical or cylindrical mesh or perforated metal containers. Placed in a cup or a pot of boiling water, the tea brews without the loose leaves getting into the water.
When it comes to stocking your kitchen with all of the essential tea making supplies, where do you start? Here is a handy list of all the essentials that no tea lover should be without.
  • Tea Kettle: A tea kettle is absolutely essential for any tea lover. Available in many colors and finishes, a high quality tea kettle makes for a lovely kitchen accessory, in addition to boiling your water to just the perfect temperature.
  • Tea Pot: Typically seen as more of a decorative piece, a nice porcelain or china teapot is the perfect addition to any dinner table. Unlike a tea kettle, teapots don't heat your tea. Typically, you must pour hot water from your tea kettle into your tea pot. The teapot than keeps your tea warm while you dine. Many teapots come with a built in or detachable strainer which allows you to brew your tea using loose tea leaves.
  • Infuser See Above
  • Strainer See Above
  • Iced Tea Maker: Iced tea makers are pretty simple in concept. You simply pour your hot water into a durable jug and an infuser filled with loose tea leaves brews your tea. Stick it in the fridge and let it steep and in time you've got the perfect iced tea.
While the concept of making tea may seem simple enough, there are a couple of ways in which you can brew the perfect cup. Whether you prefer the leisurely approach with an infuser/strainer or the more convenient pre-made tea bags the perfect cup of tea is just a pot of hot water away.
Thank you! I don't know about you but I certainly found that helpful! Now I've got to get back to making another favorite of mine, Chocolate Chip Cookies! Tomorrow is Family Night in here in Strasbourg and each one of us students is making a dish to share at our event. Hope your week is starting out well, I'll be back on Wednesday to let you know how everything goes!

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