This is Part 1 of ‘A Busy Mum’s Cooling Drinks and ‘Comfort Food’ Guide’.
It’s that time of the year again in Singapore – third quarter – and if one is a parent, the children’s test or exam weeks are upon us again.
For the rest of us, we are not spared! We have ‘life’s’ exams and so as we try to fulfil work deadlines one after another, fatigue and stress inevitably creep its way into our daily life.
At times like these, the best ways to render comfort and soothe tired souls is to whip up some homemade drinks or other nourishing foods such as congee.
But how to do this without running ourselves more frazzled?
Also, isn’t it cheaper to just buy that chrysanthemum drink or meat porridge from a stall vendor? Yes, that would be so much easier because time is such a treasured commodity and if given any extra time for a breather, many of us would prioritise sleep over anything else!
But buying any herbal drink or nourishing soups or congee from a vendor, though convenient, hardly gives you control over the drink’s or food’s ingredients to make it a healthy wholesome drink or food for your family. A little give-and-take is necessary in this case and it is with this intent I set out to discover some of the easier surefire ways to prepare such foods and drinks successfully at the first attempt!
The following are some of the cooling teas/drinks or soups that I have replicated successfully using the EASIEST way I know. The recipes are good enough to follow exactly if you have guests or need to brew something to bring along for a potluck party!
1. LONGAN AND WOLFBERRY TEA
I like longan and wolfberry tea. It is my kind of drink – no need to add sugar. I bought the dried longan from NTUC ( dried food section) I already had the wolfberries.
I was prompted to make the tea on my daughter’s 3rd day of exam – something comforting and heartwarming for a morale booster. Furthermore, wolfberries are very good for the eyes!
2. IRON GODDESS OF MERCY TEA WITH APPLE SLICES
I made this for fun really.
I was intrigued at how a Chinese tea can be sweetened naturally – by adding apples.
Ingredients: Water: 800ml; Iron Goddess of Mercy tea: 1 tbsp of leaves or 3 teabags; apples(any variety)-3 small, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Method: Boil the water. Place the tea leaves or tea bags in a pot and add the hot water. Leave for 5mins. Add apple slices and leave to steep for 15 mins. Serve warm.
3. CHRYSANTHEMUM TEA
Ah..this my family likes! Sweet, cooling, familiar – what’s there not to like?
This is how I prepare mine the SIMPLE way.
I fill my crockpot with 2 litres of water, add 150 grams of honey rock sugar, stuff 30 grams of yellow chrysanthemum petals inside two spice pouches and drop that in too. Leave everything inside the crockpot for at least 3 hours (if set on High) or overnight (if set on Low)
The end in mind is to have completely dissolved rock sugar and the petals to have steeped in liquid for at least an hour after the water has reached boiling point.
Notes: My husband and I like to drink this bitter (without the honey rock sugar); so once the drink is brewed we take our fill and only after that do my teenage children pop in the honey rock sugar to have their sweet tea 🙂
I am sidetracking here a little now…I guess I like surefire recipes that work because it is easier to ‘teach’ them to my children ( I come from that school of thought that anyone who can read can cook).
There is another reason….when I was very young, I saw my 65-year-old granny lose her astute sense of taste after being the cook in the family for so many years. After that occurred, her dishes were always too salty or off the mark. I reckon it was quite a blow to her because after that she had to relinquish her role of cooking and delegate it to a maid which we employed to assist her in other household chores too (my grandma continued to do chores as long as she could into her older age).
Inevitably, as one ages, one’s sense of taste and smell will be affected. This memory strengthens my resolve to collate all the favourite recipes for hand-me-downs now.
4. LEMONGRASS AND GINGER TEA
You know the kind of tea you get served at a spa?
Calm and relaxing and soothing to the throat and warming the tummy?
As I wanted to replicate that sort of relaxing ambience at home ( oh, why not? ), drive out ‘wind’ from our tummies which crops up too often because of a harried city lifestyle and detox (timely for my hubby too who had just returned from overseas and had a few too good meals too many), I decided to make this tea.
I changed the ingredients to 2 litres of water, 80 grams of honey rock sugar, 80 grams of lightly bruised thinly sliced ginger pieces (also stuffed in spices pouches), 5 pandan leaves tied in a knot (unchanged) and 180 grams of lemongrass.
I threw all the required ingredients in the slow cooker and put it on Low overnight or 6-8 hours (or if you wish on High for at least 3 hours); the end in mind is to bring water to a boil and let the brew simmer for at least 30 minutes.
It’s very relaxing to have this drink at night but be prepared to burp a lot and pass wind..you have been warned ^^