When our Tapioca Pearls arrived in store before Christmas, I set myself the challenge of making Boba, aka Bubble Tea from scratch. Why was it going to be a challenge? Because traditionally the bubble tea you buy already made uses the larger tapioca pearls, whereas we stock the tiny ones. I wasn't sure it would work.
I'm pleased to report back that it does indeed work. The process was straightforward and fast. So I encourage you to give this deceptively simple drink a go.
Prep Time: 5 min, Cook Time: 10 min, Chill time: 1 hour
½ cup uncooked tapioca pearls
4 cups water (for cooking tapioca pearls)
4 teaspoons dried hibiscus flowers
1-2 tablespoons sugar of choice
1 cup hot water (for steeping tea)
milk of choice
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly add the tapioca pearls. Bring water back up to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so pearls don't clump together. Scoop a few pearls out with a slotted spoon to test for softness - they should be soft but with a little chew, a bit like pasta.
Tip the cooked pearls into a colander in the sink and run plenty of cold tap water over them straight away so they don't cling together, and also so they stop cooking. Set aside.
Meanwhile, pour 1 cup boiling water over dried hibiscus flowers and sugar; stir well then let steep for 10 minutes. Strain, stir again then allow liquid to completely cool in the fridge before making your drink.
To assemble your Bubble Tea:
Divide tapioca pearls between two tall glasses. Add ice and sweet hibiscus tea mixture evenly into both glasses. Add a splash of coconut milk or any other milk you fancy. Add a parfait spoon to help scoop up those plump tapioca pearls. Stir and enjoy!
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Whilst I used hibiscus tea for this recipe, Bubble Tea is traditionally made with a base of black tea and fruit syrup. If you want to try the black tea version, use black tea in place of hibiscus leaves, and add fruit flavoured syrup or cordial instead of the sugar.
Adapt the separate components of this recipe to your taste. The strength of the tea, the sweetness, and amount of milk and pearls.
Milk: I tested this recipe with regular full cream milk, oat milk and coconut milk, and they all passed the taste test. However if you want to turn the authenticity up a notch, try using canned evaporated milk. It's what's traditionally used in a lot of commercial bubble tea shops.
I love convenience in the morning. Even better when it's a decadent yet healthy convenience that comes in under budget!
Have you ever pondered one of life's age-old questions - what is the difference between granola and muesli? You are not alone. The quick answer is this: Muesli and Granola tend to feature the same ingredients, but they are prepared differently.
Muesli (both the raw and toasted type) & Granola are all made up of a combination of oats, seeds, fruits and nuts. Raw muesli is enjoyed in its natural state, while toasted muesli is oven baked til a little crunchy. Cold or warm milk is added, plus sometimes yoghurt and fresh fruit. Granola goes a step further, in that: it has some oil and sweetener added, and then it's baked; the fat and sugar help the mixture turn into crunchy clusters of deliciousness. In this recipe, we also add almond meal to help bind the granola clusters together.
Ready-made granola clusters aren't the cheapest thing to buy. Sure, they're truly yummy, but when you have a kid who can eat half a box in one sitting, you're suddenly motivated to seek out wallet-friendly alternatives!
I always assumed granola clusters would be trickier to make than regular toasted muesli, but yay, I was wrong! This granola recipe takes minimal time and cost to make, and you can tailor the ingredients to suit everyone.
What I especially love about this granola is the option to break it into bite sized morsels to be enjoyed with milk, or leave it in bigger shards, making it a portable breakfast on the go. And if you want to dip it in your morning cuppa, you'll get no judgement from us!
Does the thought of preparing a huge holiday feast for your friends, family and loved ones fill you with Christmas spirit? Nope, me either. It often means hours - days even - in the kitchen. It means endless trips to crowded shops for essential ingredients. Even the planning can be overwhelming. Just a simple christmas lunch still equates to several dishes, each containing a lot of different elements. All of those starters, mains, sides & desserts have accompaniments, garnishes and sauces. And we haven’t even discussed drinks yet!
I’m going to share one of my hot tips when it comes to Christmas cooking: You can cheat on the big stuff if you do one or two little things from scratch.
Outsource that ham and roast turkey! Call the deli tomorrow and tell them you’ll swing by on Christmas eve to pick up a couple of their cracking salads. Choose the already cooked prawns from the local seafood vendor. And treat yourself to a carton of pre-made custard.
Nobody will notice, because they’ll be so impressed when you casually let slip that you made the cranberry sauce. The delicious, vibrant cranberry sauce that costs you 3 ingredients, 20 minutes and zero perspiration. You don’t even need to fork out for fresh cranberries because this recipe calls for dried. It also calls for an orange, but honestly you can leave it out if you’re orange-less. Same goes for the cinnamon.
Seriously, if you have a good handful of cranberries on hand and a bit of tap water, you can make an excellent cranberry sauce. You can even make it a week or so before it’s needed. And if you make a little extra, pop it in a jar in the fridge and you have a lovely little gift on hand for someone.
Springtime is rushing past & summer is right on our doorstep! So stock your fridge with wholesome, filling, delicious chia puddings. When you're too hot to even contemplate toast for breakfast or you get a craving for an afternoon or late night sweet treat, chia pudding has got your back.
The humble chia pudding is a good reminder that sometimes mixing 2 or 3 simple ingredients together produces something far grander than the sum of its parts.
The soluble fibre in chia seeds makes it turn jelly-like when it's left to soak in liquid. Simply adding chia to milk and adding some flavourings produces the most delicious breakfast, dessert or snack with only a few minutes preparation.
I've provided a recipe for a basic chia pudding, plus 2 variations. Play around with different add-ins and toppings to come up with some more variations! Note that the recipe makes one single serve, so just double or quadruple the recipe if needed. I like to make 3 or 4 at a time so I have a few days worth of yummy breakfast or snack.
We love this dish at Halloween because of the rich, vibrant orange of the roasted pumpkin nestled alongside the deep purple of the rice. (Black rice is purple when cooked!)
This recipe works just as well as a cold salad as it does when eaten warm, so leave it up to the weather and mood as to how you choose to enjoy it.
Something to note about black rice: it's rather sticky in nature, so don't expect your usual rice salad consistency, where the grains are separate and dry. Black rice, with its glorious clumpy stickiness, is a different eating experience altogether, and it's what makes it so yummy.