Thursday, 21 November 2013

Taro Coconut Bubble Tea

I had vaguely heard of bubble tea before but it was not something I had ever got around to trying…I’m not sure if this Taiwanese trend has really hit the streets of Northern Ireland yet. And for the rest you who may not be in the know bubble tea is a Taiwanese beverage that contains little chewy tapioca pearls. For someone who has a real fear of rice pudding and isn’t all that keen on its milky pudding cousins of semolina and tapioca I must admit that the thought of enjoying tapioca in a drink wasn’t all that appealing! But ages and ages ago thanks to a foodie pen pal I received all the kit I needed to make myself some bubble tea at home. And so I thought it was about time that I bit the bullet and embarked on a tapioca tea journey. Natalie who sent me the pen pal parcel directed me over to her friend Lyndsay’s blog for directions on making bubble tea so I adapted these to use the tarococonut milk tea powder that I had been sent to make my drink.

And if you want to have a go here’s how…

35g tapioca pearls
70ml water
1 teaspoon honey

100ml hot water
40ml almond milk

Put the tapioca and water into a small saucepan, set over a medium heat and bring the water to the boil. The tapioca should double in size, this should take about 5 minutes. Once cooked remove from the heat, drain the pearls and rinse under cold water. At this point you can stir in a little honey to sweeten your tea. Then set the tapioca to one side.
Bubble tea can be made with any tea or fruit juices that you enjoy but I was given taro coconut tea to use so followed the instructions on the packet on how to prepare this (which basically involved dissolving the tea powder in 100ml of hot water). I then mixed this with the almond milk and transferred the mixture to the fridge to cool.
Once my milky mixture was cooled I mixed in with the tapioca pearls and sip away. This is best enjoyed with a big chunky straw so that you can slurp up and then chew on the gooey tapioca balls at the bottom of the glass.

So go on and give it a try….even for a rice pudding-phobe I rather enjoyed this tea!!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Paprika and Gruyere Cornbread Muffins

Bonfire night isn’t such a big celebration in Northern Ireland as it is back in England, which is a real shame as I think it is one of my favourite events of the year. As a child we always had family and friends gather in the back garden wrapped up in our winter hats and adorned with mittens and bobble hats ready to oooo and ahhh at the roman candles and screeching rockets that would be let off from the end of the garden before we wrote our names in the air with sparklers and congregated around the bonfire that was topped with a guy (which was normally hastily made by stuffing newspaper into some of my Dad’s old clothes that were waiting for a charity shop drop). Food played a really important part in these evening with cauldrons full of pumpkin soup being served alongside barbequed sausages and roasted chestnuts. And although I may not have a bonfire to huddle around on this cold autumnal evening I’ve been busy in the kitchen instead cooking up this batch of gluten free cornbread muffins that would be perfect dunked in some of the pumpkin soup my mum always makes at this time of year.


400g coarse yellow cornmeal / polenta
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons paprika
100g grated gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
50g melted butter
345 ml buttermilk  

Preheat your oven to 200ยบC / 400°F.

Grease a 12 pan muffin tin with a little vegetable oil.

Place the cornmeal, salt, paprika, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl and mix until fully combined. Then fold in the grated cheese.

In separate bowl beat together the egg, butter and butter milk.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until combined. Dollop the mixture into each of the muffin tins. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven, use a palette knife to remove the muffins from the tin and serve warm.