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Now I’ve never been a big fan of marshmallows – but a few months ago, I decided to make my own.  I thought to myself, this treat was a recipe long before it became a commercial product on a shelf – which incidentally was the only way I had eaten it up until then.  So I searched for some recipes and settled for the one from Thomas Keller of French Laundry.  I figured that if Thomas Keller – chef extraordinaire – found this recipe worthy of his name, it was good enough for me.  So I made my first batch – and oh my god – I realized I had never had a marshmallow in my life before.  Forget the chewy, gummy mess you know out of a bag.  Marshmallows – real  marshmallows – should be fluffy and light.  I dropped one of my delicious mounds of glory in a cup of Chocolate Chai and thought I had died and gone to heaven – aaaahhhh – now this was hot chocolate with marshmallows – oh how we had been deceived for oh so long!!!

Now most people would have been satisfied with this discovery, but I decided to take it a step further and thought … what if I infused my marshmallow with tea????  Because, well, this is how my mind works.  So I made a batch – and quite frankly – the only thing more delightful than these precious white clouds was the look on my face as I bit into my first Cream of Avalon Marshmallow – pure bliss.

I know what you’re thinking – forget it – too hard – she’s nuts – who has the time to make their own marshmallows??  Believe me when I tell you – it takes longer to write out the recipe than it takes to  make them.  So pull out your mixer and make a batch!!  You won’t regret it.  And what’s cooler than telling your guests that you’re serving Smores for dessert with HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS!!!!

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Boil 1/2 cup of cold water and steep 1 1/2 tsp of the tea of your choice for 20 minutes.  Remove tea leaves and cool tea.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold tea. Soak for 10 minutes.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Pour boiling syrup into gelatin and mix at high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. Add vanilla and incorporate into mixture. Scrape into a 9 x 9-inch pan lined with oiled plastic wrap and spread evenly. (Note: Lightly oil hands and spatula or bowl scraper). After pouring marshmallow mixture into the pan, take another piece of oiled plastic wrap and press mixture into the pan.

Let mixture sit for a few hours. Remove from pan, dredge the marshmallow slab with confectioners’ sugar and cut into 12 equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef’s knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners’ sugar.

VOILA!!

We often talk about the romantic world of tea – yes it’s a commodity – yes it’s a business – but there is a long history and romance that surrounds this fascinating ‘commodity’.  This fabulous movie captures that romance in a beautiful and quite ‘lyrical’ way.  We love it.  We’ll be arranging a viewing soon – so stay tuned for details…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nsJXeT6EtY]

Rick Smolan is a photographer – an accomplished photographer.  Rick was sent on assignment by TIME to do a story on Amerasian kids in Korea – these are children born of American GI’s conceived during the Korean war.  Unhappy with the way TIME delivered the story he saw in Korea, he decides to take a sabbatical and return to Korea to tell the story properly.  As most of us westerners think – Rick thought he would make a difference to the story – little did he know that this story was going to change him.  Watch Rick tell his story – it’s beautiful.

[ted id=”297″]

154013843_23f044117f_mWe thought we loved teapots – well…this blog, Teapots Teapots Teapots, is dedicated entirely to teapots – small teapots, large teapots, silver teapots, glass teapots.  The blog belongs to Andy Titcomb, who also makes teapots.  We were drawn to this beautiful piece – not for its practicality – but sometimes you can love something just because it’s beautiful.

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Not sure how long to steep your tea for?   Wrapped up and forget about your tea?  I don’t know about you – but there really is little more annoying than tea that is oversteeped.  Fret no longer – because in our technology age, there is a solution for EVERYTHING.  We LOVE this site!  It quite simply tells you when your tea is done steeping – simply click on the type and the timer starts!  BRILLIANT!

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One more…this one I believe is still being edited – so we’ll re-post when we see the final version – but this version is already brilliant!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y99_8XjHuXU]

The Tea Association of the US runs a fantastic competition every year called the Calm-a-Sutra of Tea.  It’s a creativiy contest challenging College kids to put together an original video highlighting the health benefits of tea.  The results are fantastic – and we’ve posted some clips in the past.  The competition for 2009 is fully under way and the clips are rolling in – so we thought we would share one we thought was fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7dx7RWyS14]

We live in a world where new is good – perfection is strived for – and young is beauty.  We thought however that we would share with you today a beautiful aesthetic that the Japanese believe in – it is the principal of Wabi-Sabi.  In a nutshell, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and accepting the natural cycle of growth.  It is simple, uncluttered and it values authenticity above all else.  Wabi-Sabi is about flea markets instead of big box stores and malls; it’s about aging wood not laminate.  The principals of wabi-sabi celebrate crack and crevices and believe that it is a sign that loving has left behind.

It is so easy to disgard what isn’t new and forget what has aged – but stop and look closely next time at a pot that isn’t perfect – a flower that isn’t fully standing tall – or the aged face of the people around you – they all have a story to tell.

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Yes – we made a brief blog entry about Milk Oolong when we first introduced it to our tea collection – but I’ve decided to go back and tell you the story behind Milk Oolong. For those of you that haven’t tried it – WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???? For those of you that have…well you understand what I speak of when I describe a smooth creamy aroma reminiscent of sweet milk – and a fresh light liquor that is clean on the palate.

The tea world is a romantic world – it still lives very much in the world of legends and folklore – and the story behind this amazing tea is no different. Legend has it that one evening, the moon fell in love with a comet as it passed it through the dark night sky. As comets do, it burned out and vanished. The moon was distraught and devastated that its love was gone and in her sorry, she caused a great wind to blow through the hills and valleys where the tea bushes were flourishing, causing a great drop in the temperature. The next morning, the tea farmers went to pluck their tea leaves and discovered when it was processed that the tea had a milky characterisitc.

To answer the question that many people pose when they first encounter this tea – is it flavoured – no, real Milk Oolong is not flavoured – there are cheaper versions that are – but true Milk Oolong gets its milky/sweet flavour from a severe temperature shift that happens just before the leaves are picked. It is an Oolong – which means that it is partially oxidized – this particular Oolong being very lightly oxidized. Make a cup and tell us what you think – it’s flavours are unlike anything you’ve had.

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This is a commercial shot at Liverpool station for T-Mobile – but we were struck by and reminded of the power of people and what happens when they work together – powerful…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM]