July 3rd, 2013
Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 6 cardamom pods
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 - 4 tablespoon grated ginger root - depends how spicy you like it, 2 tbsp for mild, 4 tbsp for spicy chai
- 4 cups/ 1 litre hot water
- 1/4 cup / 50g palm sugar or 3 tablespoons honey
- 4 teaspoons loose fair-trade black tea or red bush (rooibos) for non-caffeinated
- OR 4 tea bags
Optional flavour additions:
- 1 vanilla pod - I save scraped vanilla pods for adding to chai (there is still plenty of flavour)
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/3 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 star anise
- Combine the whole spices in a large saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to extract the flavours from the spices. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then simmer for a further two minutes to slightly caramelise the sugar. Turn off the heat and add the loose tea. Steep for 5 minutes then strain through a sieve into a 1 litre bottle. Cool and store in the fridge, it will keep for several weeks.
- TO SERVE: gently heat 1 part chai tea mix with 1 part water and 1 part milk* of choice. Pour into small mugs and add a small pinch of cinnamon per cup to prevent a skin forming on the surface.
After making several wintry items for my children including a knitted vest and sheepskin sole slippers, I decided it was time to make something just for me. I do have several unfinished items for myself in the knitting bag, but they weren’t tempting me to return. Mostly because I have spent the past two winters attempting to the finish them and feel like I am getting nowhere as they are fine yarn knits. I wanted an easy project that I could finish in time for wearing this winter.
I know anything crochet is faster than knitting, and a chunky homespun takes less time than say 2 ply baby yarn. But first I had to find a pattern. I searched online free pattern sites including raverly with its thousands of shared patterns, but nothing really grabbed me. Until I was browsing the yarn section at Spotlight trying to unsuccessfully match wool to finish Mika’s slippers, and found a series of free patterns. This simple Cardellino Shrug pattern I found at Spotlight caught my attention (here is another similar shrug on my ‘craft’ pinterest board). Using a chunky 8ply yarn this was exactly what I was looking for. Something that I can easily put on over my winter merinos to add extra warmth and also looks good.
This is a really simple pattern, just one long piece, that is then folded then sewn to make arm holes. No shaping and one easy crochet stitch. If you are looking for something simple to make for yourself, that also looks and feels nice to wear, this is it. I have already had several compliments. And instead of taking all winter to make, it took about 3 weeks with on average 30 minutes a day.