The weather is slowly starting to cool and the days are getting shorter, which means that winter is nearing (or in our household it also means that cricket season is over and football season is starting).
This means snuggling up on the couch under a woolly throw with mugs of hot chocolate or chai, warming soups and big pots of chili. Glasses of red are drunk by the fire in cosy pubs after work on Fridays, after a week spent complaining about the less than comfortable temperature in our office and trying to smuggle extra heaters into the room. Weekend getaways are to cosy shacks, where a woodfire is a non-negotiable. And, most excitedly, the planning of the annual trip away to warmer weather.
This year, we are heading to Lombok in Indonesia (via Perth, WA) with two of my closet friends. It will actually be their honeymoon (and dont worry, we wont be totally cramping their style – they have two weeks alone after we fly home). My friend James and I have ended up sharing quite a few of our important life events, including spending three out of four of our previous overseas holidays together, so it seems quite fitting that I would end up joining him on his honeymoon.
I have spent the last two weekends brewing up big pots of chai to sip on throughout the day. My favorite way to serve chai is to use the chai spice mix to flavour freshly made almond milk. I like to steep the spices in a little water over night to get a more intense flavour – the timing of this works well too, as the almonds for the milk also require overnight soaking.
Chai spiced almond milk
1 cinnamon quill
4 crushed cardamom pods
10 coriander seeds
1 star anise pod
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Small knob ginger
2 black teabags (or two heaped teaspoons black leaf tea)
3/4 cup almonds
Raw honey to taste
Add all spices to a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a low boil to allow the spices to start to infuse the water. Turn off the heat and cover, leaving over night.
Add almonds with enough water to cover by an inch to a container and leave to soak overnight.
In the morning, drain and rinse the almonds, then add to a blender with 1.5 cups of cold water. Blend for around two minutes, then strain through a nut bag, squeezing out all the liquid. In the meantime, strain the spice mix to remove the spices, and return the liquid to the saucepan over a low heat with the almond milk and honey. Add the tea bags/leaves for 3 to 4 minutes while the liquid warms, then remove.
If you’d like your chai to be frothy, add warm mix to the blender and blender again until the milk has started to froth.
Serves 3 – 4