Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The simplest of pleasures

There are times when you come across something so obvious that you can't help but slap your forehead in disbelief. You ask yourself how come you'd never thought of it before.

This is what I found myself doing while teaching a cookery class late last year. We were preparing the ingredients for a Thai curry and because some of the students had never used lemon grass before, I passed a blade (is this what we call a piece of lemon grass?) around the room so that they could all see - and sniff - it up close.

I then showed them how to peel off the dry outside layer, bash the remaining layers with a rolling pin to release flavour and fragrance and then chop it up finely for use in the curry.

At which point, someone piped up that they didn't throw the outer layer away. Instead, they added it to ginger peel and water and brewed a tea.

I immediately stopped in my tracks and did as she suggested, brewing a simple and refreshing cup of tea for everyone.

I've been brewing this tea ever since because not only does it have sharp, clear flavours, I've also found it works wonders on winter colds. A drizzle of honey takes it up another notch in the flavour - and health - stakes too.

So, this blog post isn't really a recipe. It's more of a suggestion. 
The next time you're using lemon grass and ginger, don't throw away the peel.
Put it in a saucepan instead.
Cover it with cold water.
Bring it to the boil and simmer for five minutes. 
Allow to cool. (The flavours will infuse even more)
Reheat for a cup of warming and restorative tea.

A cup of tea: it's one of life's simplest yet greatest pleasures. 

It's up to you whether you choose to strain the peel from the liquid or not. It makes no real difference either way.

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