Chai latte {caffeine-free}

Chai latte {caffeine-free}

As I'm sure you know, we had a cold snap last week here in London. For three days we saw snow, wind, sub-zero temperatures and freezing rain. It was the first time that I've experienced this kind of weather since moving here nearly five years ago. To me it felt like the beginning of winter back home, but in a place that's just not equipped to cope with the cold. To be perfectly honest, I was shocked to see the extent to which the city stopped functioning. Trains were completely cancelled, the tube was running with very severe delays, sidewalks were dangerously icy and residential services like garbage collection were halted. It made me realise how well-adapted we are to to our cold winters back home in Canada - for obvious reasons, of course. But it did get me thinking about our climate system in broader terms, and what cities need to do to adapt to changing climates. What if events like the one we just witnessed become more frequent in the UK's future? How can we build more resilience into the way a city functions so that people can still go about their daily lives? What can we learn from countries that are already accustomed to pronounced seasonality? 

Chai latte | Beloved Kitchen
Chai latte | Beloved Kitchen
Chai latte | Beloved Kitchen
Chai latte | Beloved Kitchen

No matter where you live in the world, there is one thing that people universally do in cold weather, and that's curling up at home with a nice warm drink. Lately I've been loving the warming power of cinnamon and ginger, and chai lattes have been my go-to warming winter drink this year and during last week's cold snap. The one issue I do have with coffee shop-style chai mixes is that they usually contain black tea, which means I can't enjoy my favourite potion past 2pm for risk of ruining a good nights' sleep.  Which led me to seek out a chai mix that's caffeine-free. I came across this caffeine-free chai mix by Yogi Tea (one of my favourite herbal tea brands) which inspired me to create my own home-made version. If you're short of time the Yogi version does the trick, but let me tell you there's nothing better than a homemade chai latte made from whole ingredients. 

Chai latte | Beloved Kitchen
Chai latte | Beloved Kitchen

I know what you're thinking - how long does it take to make? Is it complicated? I'm here to tell you that it's dead easy and very worth it! The concept is simple - bring a bunch of lovely fragrant spices to a boil in water sweetened with a bit of maple syrup, and let simmer for about half an hour. Let the brew rest for another 5-10 minutes, strain and voila! You've got homemade cinnamon-kissed perfection. To make the latte, you simply heat equal parts milk and chai mix in a milk frother (or saucepan and whisk) and dust with cinnamon powder to serve.

Chai latte | Beloved Kitchen

Now what are you waiting for - go and make yourself some chai while winter's still around!

Chai latte {caffeine-free}

This is my version of coffee shop-style chai latte. It's rich in flavours, with strong cinnamon and ginger tones against a sweet maple backdrop. I omit black tea to keep it caffeine-free so that it can be enjoyed in the evening as a warming winter treat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sticks cinnamon (or 3 small)
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 5 slices ginger, about 1/2 cm thick
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 cups water
    Β 
  • Milk of choice (I like to use almond milk), to serve 
  • Ground cinnamon, to serve

Method:

Add the cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves to a mortar and lightly break up the spices using a pestle (alternatively, lightly crush the spices on a cutting board using the side of a knife). Do this very lightly, just so that the cinnamon breaks up a bit and the cardamom pods slightly open up - there's no need to grind the spices down. Transfer the spices to a small saucepan along with the sliced ginger, maple syrup and water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit a further 5-10 minutes before straining.

When you are ready to enjoy a chai latte, add equal parts chai mix and milk of choice to a frother and heat the mixture throughout (you can use the mug in which you plan to serve the latte to measure this). I use an electric milk frother which makes a lovely foamy latte, but you can also use a stovetop milk frother or simply a small saucepan, heating over medium heat until warm throughout and whisking to create a nice foam. Top with ground cinnamon, if desired.

Makes approx. 2 cups of chai mix - enough for about 4 servings. The chai mix can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Kale, shallot and goats' cheese omelette

Kale, shallot and goats' cheese omelette

Kefir acai smoothie

Kefir acai smoothie