December 19, 2020

Tea Advent Day 19

I’m aware that these posts are becoming like those deeply, deeply irritating recipe blogs where you have to go with the writer on a twelve day trek through the Andes to discover the finest lemons nature has to offer, before experiencing first hand the pure ecstacy of a soup made from winter roots and snow yams lovingly crafted by a wizened crone whose children have all left for the city, and how the writer painstakingly recreates the recipe on their return to civilisation where only avocados are available.

So I won’t bore you with the highlights of existence in Casa Uborka on a winter Saturday during lockdown, apart from to mention that Tesco accidentally delivered several tins of their finest chocolate-covered biscuits, and I, being slow-thinking and stupidly truthful, sent them back because they weren’t on my order. We recovered from this momentary dance with decadent dishonesty by making a cup of tea.

Despite its being a sound cup of tea with hints of chocolate, rose etc etc, what I like most about Russian Caravan is its romantic story. RC is the tea of Tsars, the leaves that first travelled to Russia from China on camel trains in the 17th Century. It would be prepared in a samovar, which is basically a fancy tea urn, quite a lot fancier than the ones you get in church halls. In Russia one might take ones tea with jam, so we have paired this refreshing delight with Aldi Sloe Gin Mince Tarts and a good dollop of brandy butter. This particular RC is not really smokey enough, but happily I’ve got a massive tin of properly smokey Tea Palace Russian Caravan in the cupboard, and I might have a cup of that purely for the sake of scientific comparison, later on.

My mug collection fails to include anything remotely Russian-looking to drink it from; I imagine some small glass cup in a filigree holder, don’t you? So I’ve pulled a real vintage number from the box, this one having been acquired when I was working at the South Bank Jazz Festival, in the summer after I finished university. That sounds majorly cool until you look closer and see that the bank was situated to the south of the River Humber, not the Thames.


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