Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Home Made Christmas

Each Wednesday from now until Christmas I will be blogging about a gift idea that can be made at home and I would love it if you would join in each week with your own contribution to "A Home Made Christmas".
I am sure that there are great projects to make, goodies to make, bake and bottle and ideas that you all have to share. I look forward to reading all about the things you make and being inspired by your ideas.

If you are worried about ruining the surprise feel free to post about something you have made in the past, something you saw or something you have received.

When planning home made gifts you need to consider a number of things:
How long the item will take to make? How far ahead do I need to plan?
How long will it keep?  What is the shelf life?
Does it need time to mature like Christmas Cakes/Puddings?
Can I make more than one at a time and give them to a number of people?

This week I want to talk about Tea.

If you grow your own herbs or spices you can dry them and give them as gifts.  There are a huge number of herbs that you can make tea from it is really just personal preference.
My favourites are Sage & Thyme, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Lemon and Ginger and Rosella (Native Hibiscus).
Just as a side note if you feel a cold or a sore throat coming on, and have sage and thyme in your garden, pick a sprig of each and put in a mug and pour over boiling water.  Both herbs have natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic properties and I swear by this tea as a cold remedy and will drink cup after cup when not well.
When giving your herbs as a gift for tea you have a couple of options.  You might like to pack the dried herbs and spices into individually labelled jar and provide small cards with surviving suggestions of different flavour combinations.  But you can also buy packets of empty teabags so you  can make them up ready to go.  Or you might do a bit of both where some are packed ready to go and some are left up to the recipient.
Fill your own tea bags
Packed with fresh sage and thyme
Another option is to make up a batch of Chai Tea as a gift.  This spiced Indian tea can be tailor made to suit any taste and makes an excellent gift.

Chai Tea

1/2 Cup Black Tea Leaves
3 Cinnamon Sticks
12 Cardamon Pods 
12 Peppercorns
4 Dried Allspice Berries or 1/2 Tsp Ground Allspice
15 Cloves
1 Tsp Cummin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger

Take all your ingredients except for the tea and spices that are already ground and grind in a moter and pestle.  You do not want to grind it to a powder by any means, so a few chunks are fine, but you do want the  flavours to blend.  mix in the other already ground spices and the tea leaves and store in an air tight container.

Making Chai

Put 2 tsp of the Chai mix into a sauce pan and add 2 lt of boiling water and 2 cups of milk and bring to the boil then turn off and let the mix steep for 5 minutes or longer if you like.  Strain the tea into cups and sweeten if you want with honey and sugar

Chai is one of those drinks that can be made to suit your tastes so feel free to add and subtract spices to your liking.  I sometimes add star anise or fennel seeds too.  It is all about trial and error.


  1. I've been thinking about trying to make chai tea lately. One of my favourite memories of traveling to India a few years ago was stopping every morning for chai from the roadside sellers. Best drink ever, nothing like the powdered ones you get in cafes in Australia.

  2. I'm sticking with the homemade gifts for my immediate family but unfortunately the extended family really don't appreciate homemade. They all want money or gift cards (not even a gift at all). Where do you get the tea bags from? We are fans of herbal tea so they would be great.


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