Today I have a guest blogger sharing a simple, refreshing recipe with you. I’d like to introduce you to Sue from Ivy Hill Farm. Our boys became friends at school, and Sue invited us down for a play date a few weeks ago. After seeing her email address ended with ivyhillfarm.ca, curiosity got the best of me, and I had to look it up. Ends up that Sue is a foodie to the extreme. She not only cooks…she cooks with food she raises! Ivy Hill Farm raises animals for “Food the Way Nature Intended”. We had a great tour of her farm, my daughter got to sit on a donkey named Poppy, and the kids helped collect eggs. And after all that hard “work”, we got to sit and enjoy a snack together. That is where I got to taste Sue’s Homemade Ice Tea, or as I’ve renamed it, SpIced Tea.
Hello from Ivy Hill Farm in SE Manitoba! It’s been a very hot summer so far and since sitting inside isn’t an option of the farm (I’ve tried once or twice, but it never really works), we’re always outside enjoying the sunshine (if by “enjoying” you mean wielding a pitchfork and shoveling manure while the sweat runs into your eyes). One of our usual refreshing drinks is a slight twist on an old favorite, Iced Tea. I mean real iced tea, none of this sugar-and-chemical-laden drink that revs you up more than an energy drink and leaves you thirsty at the end.
I suppose the combinations/permutations of iced tea are Legion, but our particular ‘recipe’ is the one the kids always ask for. Refreshing, thirst-quenching, and just a tad spicy, this drink when chilled overnight in the fridge will make you forget you’re sweating it out as fast as you can put it back in and will make your hot summer’s day just that much more enjoyable. Try to hold on to that feeling in about 5 months when the wind is blowing and it’s -40C!
To make this iced tea you need a large shatterproof glass carafe of sorts (you can use plastic, but I’m leery of steeping hot things in plastic, I just personally like glass better) that will hold approximately 1.5 liters of water with a bit of room to spare for sugar and stirring. Also needed are any sort of plain black tea bags (I use the old standard, Red Rose™ and Celestial Seasonings™ brand “Bengal Spice” Tea). This is an indian chai-esque tea with predominant notes of cinnamon and cardamom. The last ingredient is granulated sugar. I suppose you could make this with honey or sweeteners (stevia?) but I can’t vouch for amounts, experiment a bit and find the sweetness level you like.
Place 1 black tea bag and 2 Bengal Spice tea bags in your carafe and put the kettle on to boil water. I use my full kettle’s worth, which is about 1 liter. More or less doesn’t really matter, as after steeping we’ll top up to 1.5 liter with cold water. When water just reaches a rolling boil I pour the contents of the kettle into the carafe (here’s where “shatter-proof” is important!). Let steep for about 5 minutes or so (it’s iced-tea, not rocket science, there’s wiggle room) and then remove the black tea bag only. Add about 1/3 cup granulated sugar and stir till mixed. Again, use more or less, to taste. This is our preferred amount. Bring volume up to 1.5 liters with cold water and set on counter to cool for about an hour. Once it’s cool enough, put it in the fridge and refrigerate overnight.
You never remove the Bengal Spice tea bags and the drink gets spicier the longer it sits (but never bitter). It’s best made at least the day before, but 2 days is even better. MMMM, spicy and cool and sweet. It just doesn’t get better on an August day.
Sue Dick farms with her family at Ivy Hill Farm. They raise heritage breeds on pasture to produce grassfed, all natural meats, like the kind your grandparents used to eat. Only better because more is known about animal nutrition now! For more information check out the farm’s webpage www.ivyhillfarm.ca and for the daily blog and pictures Ivy Hill Farm’s Facebook page.