Moroccan Mint Tea — recipe courtesy of Anna Gillis
4 cups water
2 heaping teaspoons fine green Chinese gunpowder tea
2 to 4 tablespoons cane sugar (to taste)
1 large bunch of fresh mint leaves
Cut very ends of mint bunch if there are hard stalks. The stalks have a lot of flavour, so be sure to leave most of the stalk and not to pick the leaves off. Rinse the bunch under cold tap water and shake off excess water. Blot dry with paper towel.
Boil about 6 cups of water. Rinse a (Moroccan, if you have it) teapot with boiling water to take off the chill and then add the tea and a bit more boiling water. Swirl the water and tea around and then let settle. The tea leaves will start expanding and the tea dust will settle to the bottom; pour out the water and with it the tea dust, which will leave a bitter taste to the tea if not rinsed off. Repeat this process three times; the soaked tea leaves remain in the teapot each time as you rinse them and pour out the water. Use 1 to 2 cups of boiling water for this process.
Take the rinsed bunch of mint and squeeze it agressively in your hands several times to bruise the leaves and stems before putting into the teapot. Add the sugar on top of the mint (you can put in less now and then add more later to taste). Pour the remaining boiling water over the mint and sugar and give the mixture a good stir. Let steep for 3 to 5 minutes and stir again. Pour into tea glasses from a height to aerate the tea, improving the taste.
Decadent Peppermint Hot Chocolate — makes 1 cup
1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
¼ cup canned full fat coconut milk (or additional milk) 4½ teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, cane sugar), to taste
1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon of peppermint extract
whipped cream (optional)
Heat the milk and coconut milk in a small pot until steaming, but not boiling. Whisk in cocoa powder. Add sweetener to taste and whisk.
Some peppermint extracts are stronger than others. Start out by adding 1/8 of a teaspoon to your hot chocolate, stir and taste. If it needs more peppermint flavour, add another 1/8 of a teaspoon.
Pour mixture into mugs and top with whipped cream, if desired.