Tea time

Monday, January 17, 2011

So after a lazy afternoon of napping and taking down the Christmas tree (at long last), I decided to entice my mother into some real quality time with a pot of tea.

While searching YouTube for "Brits speaking Spanish" (as a part of one of my projects for 2011. I think I may have stumped YouTube ... I found zero videos of this), I stumbled across the videos of "The Black Sisters" (username "alwayspureblood") who are obsessed with all things Harry Potter. And in one, they attempt to the American accent -- well, although they very nearly only play off the American high school stereotypes (though I can't blame them, really, with the types of Hollywood movies that gain popularity).  I also came upon one where they satirically teach how to make a proper cup of tea.

Oh how funny it was to see that "kettle".  When I spent that year in England, I arrived at my accommodations to find that they had provided me a kettle, which was found atop my wooden wardrobe.  I was actually very wary of it.  I figured it was probably clean, but I wasn't about to use a kettle that had been used by many others before me (it looked used).  Luckily, I had brought my own hot pot from the U.S. Weird?

This is the best teapot I could muster up ... it appears to be an artifact from 1300 A.D. China.
Note to self: once I can spend money again, I must get a cute, functional, non-gilded teapot.

Anyway, I had no idea the pot is to be warmed before the tea goes in!  Or that the hot tea is added to the milk/sugar mixture rather than the other way around.  Anyway, I added a bit too much sugar, but still this process yielded one of the best homemade cups of tea ever.  Just the right milkiness.

I also tucked into a slice of banoffee pie, which I began making last night and did not finish until 12+ hours later.  Since it is highly, highly recommended not to boil sweetened condensed milk within the cans, I tried another method ... which had only a mild success rate.

I poured two cans of the condensed milk into a pan, which I covered with aluminum foil and nearly submerged in a hot water bath before popping the thing into a 425 degree oven.  The instructions said to leave it in for 50 to 75 minutes for one can, so by my estimation, I should have left the milk in the oven for 75 to 90 minutes.  Just after the 90 minute mark, I checked the color of the milk -- not an easy feat, pulling the heavy water bath out of the sweltering oven and removing the scorching foil without tearing it or getting water into the milk -- to find that it was still white as ivory.

In it went again, and after checking once more for its color (no progress), I decided enough was enough at the 3 hour mark and I was going to use it whatever state it was in.  Though the top was still ivory-colored, I discovered the bottom layers had in fact turned into dulce de leche (which I should've just bought in a can from the supermarket, duh).  I had to strain the jiggly caramelized slabs out of the milky liquid.  When it had cooled in the store-bought pie crust, I stuck the thing in the refrigerator and left it there overnight.

In the morning, I added 2 bananas (3 would've been better; there aren't nearly enough bananas in the final product, though the flavor has somehow seeped into both the whipped topping and the toffee). Then I whipped heavy cream, caster sugar (which I created by grinding regular sugar in a coffee grinder) and some coffee grounds together to create the whipped cream.  I couldn't but help myself to a slice then, but found that it was far too goopy, so I stuck it in the freezer.  Not unlike the first-ever banoffee pie I had in England, bought on sale from Spar.


By the way, I am moving along swimmingly with my BBC Spanish lessons.  I can order food, ask for directions and a hotel room, but I couldn't tell you what my name is.  I'm also nearly halfway through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, if you were wondering!

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