At night, as I climb the stairs from the restaurant to my apartment, I often want to do something in the kitchen. That might sound a little odd, but cooking at home and cooking in a restaurant are two completely different things. Often it is a case of trying out an idea that came to me during the evening and even more often it involves preparing something for my daughter, Emma, that she can eat (or drink) the next day.
Take ice tea, for example: in the morning, Emma doesn’t drink hot drinks and cold tea is a passion I have nurtured for many years. When holidaying in Japan some time ago, it became something of a game finding a flavour of ice tea in the vending machines that I hadn’t yet tried. Chilled, unsweetened (green) tea is a kind of national drink in Japan and is sometimes available in very strong, tangy flavours, for example when roasted corn is added.
I always make my ice tea using black, green or red tea (rooibos). I pour cold water onto sencha green tea and leave it to steep overnight in the fridge – this results in the best taste without any bitter overtones. With rooibos and black tea, I leave them to brew for a short time (3-4 or 2 minutes respectively), then I cool them down quickly using lots of ice cubes. This prevents the flavoursome essential oils settling on the surface. I then sweeten the tea a little with elderberry, basil blossom or mint syrup while lemon, lime or grapefruit juice (delicious with rooibos!) or mashed passion fruit provide a source of acidity.
Try this, for example: Boil 1 1/2 l of water then remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tbsp berry fruit tea, 1 tbsp black tea, 2 tbsp dried rose petals and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Cover and leave to steep for ten minutes, strain through a sieve, sweeten with 4 tbsp rose syrup and quickly cool using two handfuls of ice cubes. Cool well in the fridge.