When you live in a big city and you have a job to do, errands to run, friends to meet and a home to take care of, well it’s normal to feel like you are always running out of time. It happens to me a lot! And if I have some free time my mind immediately races to all the things I could be doing to fill my day: restaurants to try, museums to visit, recipes to try, sports to practice… When everything else has been taken care of, maybe I remember to relax, sleep, take care of myself. And I admit it, I always feel a pang of guilt if I decide to simply do nothing. Being lazy: isn’t it the ultimate guilty pleasure?
Do you think it’s weird, this ode to being lazy? I get restless if I am not doing anything at any point in time (and guilty thinking about all the things pending to do). My husband constantly tells me to relax and to not take up on so many activities. So here’s to learning to do things slowly! To be fast is not my goal anymore, I take no pleasure in multitasking and doing things halfheartedly, simultaneously ticking off actions from my imaginary to do list.
I am much more aiming at doing things slowly these days; and allowing myself the time to enjoy the process and the end result, like for example baking a cake or brewing a cup of tea and then sitting down to eat and drink them.
I discovered Jing Tea a few months ago when I was invited to one of their tea tasting events at the COMO Metropolitan Hotel in London . Their range of loose leaf teas feature some of Asia’s finests, from those with rare and complex characters to more accessible teas, to suit all palates.
JING defines the modern tea ceremony, an experience that absorbs the senses and refreshes and inspires the body and mind. We offer more than just great tea; we find the finest tea producers, design simple and elegant teaware and share our knowledge and passion to create an inspired tea culture.
Tasting different teas at the JING event gave me the idea of a tea and cake pairing. Since it’s autumn, I chose a traditional Tuscan recipe of Castagnaccio, a plain cake made with chestnut flour, water and extra virgin olive oil. It’s grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free so it’s also perfect for my Whole30 diet. Since it’s a Tuscan cake, I looked up Jul’s Kitchen for the recipe, as she’s the expert of this regional cuisine.
Local variations of Castagnaccio have pine nuts or rosemary or raisins, but I used what I had available at home: cashew nuts and mixed dried fruits.
For the tea pairing I chose JING Yunnan Dian Hong Cha tea, a strong and full-bodied black tea from rich-soiled Yunnan province.
Yunnan gold, known as dian hong gong fu, is a type of black tea from Yunnan, China. The Chinese name “gong fu” means “great skill”, reflecting the skill that goes into the production of this tea. [Rate Tea]
This tea is particularly good first thing in the morning or with a late afternoon slice of cake. I enjoyed drinking it with a slice of Castagnaccio, as the tea is clean and refreshing, so it balances off the richness of chestnut flour and sweetness of dried fruits.
The appearance of Yunnan Gold loose tea is “long, olive-gold twists dappled with orange”, these are the golden tea tips.
I used the JING Glass Infuser Mug, which is part of the JING elegant teaware collection (the range is perfect to make tea gifts this Christmas). I added 1 tablespoon (3g) of tea and one cup of water at near-boiling temperature.
The ideal infusion time for this tea is three minutes and you can re-use the wet leaves for a second infusion.
When steeped, the golden down covered buds of Yunnan Gold develop into a brew with an auburn sheen. The leaves from spring’s harvest release a rounded caramel richness and a lingering finale of spice – ginger, nutmeg and cloves. [JING website]
Yunnan Gold is a sweet tea with a floral fragrance and malty aroma. The taste is dark, rich and lightly spicy.
I used JING Tea Timer during the infusion; after the three minutes the tea had a dark amber colour and was ready to be enjoyed.
At your own time.
Here’s the recipe to make Castagnaccio, the traditional Tuscan chestnut cake.
- 300g chestnut flour
- 40g cashews
- 40g dried fruits
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sieve chestnut flour and salt in a large bowl. Add water bit by bit, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Keep on pouring in water until you have a smooth and liquid batter (as thick as pancake batter). Add half quantity of cashews and dried fruit and stir again.
Take a large baking-pan (I used my brownies’ pan) and grease it with extra virgin olive oil. Pour in the batter. Sprinkle with the remaining cashews and dried fruit.
Bake in preheated oven to 180°C for about 30 minutes until chestnut cake is firm and covered with wrinkles. You can eat it warm or cold.
Disclaimer: for the purpose of this review I received from JING complimentary tea bags and teaware. All opinions are my own.