Bergamot

Earl Grey tea

I noticed this particular blend of Earl Grey tea has blue flowers. Blue flowers? Not knowing what flower this could be, I did a tiny bit of research on Earl Grey tea, and of bergamot too, wondering if those petals could be bergamot flower?  My findings  enlighten me to the fact that there are actually two kinds of bergamot in the botanical world!  First, the European grown Bergamot Orange , botanical name is Citrus Bergamia.

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Second, the North American herbal plant Wild Bergamot, also known as Bee Balm,  botanical name is  Monardae20b82df1129d9ef5b8e8e91d7e1a0cb
This was confusing to me, because the herbaceous bergamot has a purplish flower, which some of the Earl Grey tea blends have.  Now, reading up on ingredients in Earl Grey blends, I found that the dried petals in my tea could very possibly be cornflower petals !HHDL_Garden_Cornflower
The type of blue flower petals in my tea blend is still a mystery, however, there is no debate that the signature flavor of Earl Grey tea is the citrus kind of Bergamot, the essential oil which is extracted from the aromatic skin of the sour fruit.

I have also discovered that Earl Grey tea is one of the most varied blends of tea,  and that “Earl Grey” as applied to tea is not a registered trademark, thus numerous tea companies produce their own blends of Earl Grey tea, using a wide variety of tea leaves and additives.  Aside from black tea, obviously, ingredients vary enough to make me dizzy; there is foremost the essential oil of the citrus bergamot, but may also citrus rind, licorice root, lavender, mallow flower, monarda flower, cornflower, jasmine, rose petals lemon grass,  vanilla ~~ just to name a few ingredients I have found so far.  What are the ingredients in your favorite Earl Grey blend?

All very well & good!  Actually, the reason for my curiosity is that I have been thinking about making Earl Grey ice-cream lately,  among other forthcoming tea-inspired ideas, so I finally did, and here’s  how I made a small sample batch, including a little photo slideshow…

  1. Heat to scalding, 1 cup of heavy cream with 2-4 tablespoons of your favorite Earl Grey blend in the cream — no need to boil.
  2. Add 1/2 cup sugar, and let it sit a couple of hours at least, to get the Earl Grey flavors exuding into the cream.
  3. When completely cool, stir well, and strain through sieve, then and add 1 cup milk.
  4. Churn freeze & enjoy!

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Served up in a little espresso demitasse,

and let me tell you,

the ice-cream is every bit as fragrant as the tea,  

absolutely delicious … 

jenjoycedesign© Earl Grey icecream

Earl Grey  tea ice-cream

… and I think that the Earl himself would approve!

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The Earl Charles Grey, 1764-1845

 

moody monday

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Emma and I are moody.

When feeling under the weather (on the eve of a birthday)…make candy!

Emma wants some …

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( See her nose? )

 Honestly, I have not gone on a candy-making jag in years.  I used no recipe, just tossed ingredients ( about a cup of org. sugar, a bit more than half cube of salted butter, a glob of corn syrup, and a dash of cream) in a small saucepan over a low flame while cold-water testing until it was right. Poored in a buttered pyrex dish over a bed of chopped toasted almonds, then sprinkled more on top.  I ate a ton of it, it shook off the blues, and then I felt better.

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Oh, and knit something really amazing !!!  Anyway, the rest of it is just cozy, dark drizzling dank gorgeous wintery day, while drinking coffee, munching butter toffee and knitting. I will be home in my hermitage for the week just working on forthcoming design. 🙂

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Sweet As A Rose

jenjoycedesign©fragrant-rose

This morning a lovely fragrant rose bloomed in the garden, and promptly I cut it off to put it in a vase on the table of the big open room of our house hoping to make the house smell lovely.  Now, usually that is fine enough, but being a bit of a striving dessert chef, my tongue could just taste that fresh fragrant blossom. Yes,  perhaps in a bath of whole cream, and barely sweetened with some fine crystals of organic sugar. My creative inner cook loves a challenge, and my nose and mouth can be jealous friends.

While this blossom was still opening it’s amazingly fragrant coral pink petals, I got out copper pots & spoons, and began to whistle a tune while a steam bath started to tremor. And this is how I made my rose ice-cream. . .

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I broke off only petals of a very fragrant variety of (organically grown) rose flower into bath of full cream ~~ about a cup, in preferably a glass or stainless steel bowl. Heated over simmering water as a double boiler, and when cream was very warm, added about a half cup of sugar (less is more) , stirred and let cool until room temperature. All that lovely rose essence leeches out into the full cream as the fat and the sugar really help the process. After it cooled to room temperature, I strained the petals out of the cream and added a little whole milk, not quite doubling the volume. Into the churn freezer it went.

jenjoycedesign©enjoy!

I must say, it would be perfect if I learned how to sugar preserve rose petals and garnished with them.  As the summertime drones on with mercury rising,  its a real treat to be enjoying a  little taste of rose ice-cream !