Sunday, 5 October 2014

Home-Cooked: Wolfberry-Logan Tea

So. Incredibly. Thankful. For this long weekend. X)) 

And by long weekend, I mean finally being able to get a day off on the Hari Raya Haji holiday on Monday. It's the first time in agessss since I've been able to get a day off from work on a public holiday. I think the last few public holidays I've just always been on call or post call so I've always envied people who observe regular working days and get their public holidays off by default. Well, the stars have aligned and tomorrow, I'll be able to completely ignore my phone/alarm and savour those incredible moments in that place somewhere between sleep and waking, comforted by the thought that I'll be able to snuggle in deeper beneath the comforters until I'm fully rested. < br/> It's been so long (as always, I know ><) since I've last updated. Somehow it seems that when life gets busy, there are just too many things to think about doing and taking the time out to blog feels like a luxury that I can enjoy when I'm completely at ease and feel like I have the time to carve out and savour. So I'm making use of the opportunity now. 

I've been reading and listening to talks about mindfulness and its benefits towards health and one thing that's stuck with me, is how so many simple things in one's life can add up to make it richer, fuller, healthier. One of the most basic things would have to be food. If we pay attention to what we put inside ourselves, we can ensure that we're nourishing ourselves with the foods that will make us healthier and happier. Because being healthy is the foundation for living the best life we can live. :) I truly believe that. 

One of the drinks I've recently learned to make is Wolfberry-logan tea. I used to order this at Cedele when after awhile I realized that all the ingredients are things that I've seen in supermarkets so, in the spirit of Ahpo (my adorable grandma who always believes that anything in the restaurant can be made at home. Which is true most of the time in her case because she's a domestic goddess), I figured I should try to brew it myself and take that bit of wellness back home to be enjoyed. And boy, was it easier than I thought! 

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The key ingredients in this drink are - dried red logans, wolfberries (or goji berries), white lotus seeds, and dried logans. They're often used in all sorts of chinese dishes and desserts and are each supposed to have tons of health benefits (if you believe in Traditional Chinese Medicine and how foods all have 'hot'/'cold' properties to balance out your yin and yang. I would love to learn more about it just to understand it as a part of culture but I can't say that I completely espouse it since I would need to have some hard core scientific evidence to back it up eh? But I do believe that even if something can't be explained by western science...doesn't mean it ain't true. :) To each his own and...everything in moderation. 

A little more information about the ingredients:

1. Wolfberries/Goji Berries 

These are incredibly nutritionally dense. Not only are they loaded with vitamin C, they contain iron, calcium, zinc and other trace minerals as well as beta-carotene which promotes healthy skin. Plus, they're rich in anti-oxidants, help boost the immune system and improve your eyesight as well. That bit about the eyesight seems to be something that's popular in the TCM world because it's something I've heard about from my grandma since I was a young girl (wondering what those funny little red seed-like things were in those soups she'd make for me). 

Fun fact - Goji berries can be eaten in their dried form by adding them to trail mix, oatmeal or muesli mixes and can be mixed into your smoothies too. Mmm I'm thinking banana/blueberry and goji berries smoothie. (The colour might turn out funky though because of the orange shade of the berries. But it's worth a try ;)) 

2. Red Dates 

These seem to be a real powerhouse in the TCM world. Apparently it aids in the digestion and absorption of food plus helps with insomnia and menstrual cramps.

Other ways of cooking red dates - in porridges (red date and lotus seed porridge actually sounds really decent) 

3. Logans 

Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Improves skin tone! 

4. White lotus seeds 

Good source of protein, Magnesium, potassium. Traditionally thought to have calming properties which can help with insomnia or restlessness. 

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So here goes. 


(From left to right in a clockwise manner on the plate)
10 White Lotus Seeds 
30 Seedless dried red dates 

15 Dried longans (in the centre of the plate there)
10 - 15 Wolfberries 

You'll soon realize that actually, the beauty of this drink is that every is up to you to decide. The quantities of the individual ingredients can be varied according to your preference. The best part is, you don't even need to add in any additional sugar because the dried logans already have their natural sweetness. So if you like it more sweet, just throw in a few more of them! Or if you want, add honey instead of refined sugar for a natural sweetener. 

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1. Bring about 1 litre of water to a boil. 
2. Cut the red dates in half to allow for the nutrients to seep into the water a little easier. 
3. Toss in all the ingredients. 
4. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat. 
5. It's ready when the taste is to your liking. :)

And if you let it simmer longer, the flavors become more concentrated so you end up with a smaller amount of liquid at the end (mine served about 2 small cups) but you can always re-use the ingredients a second or third time until the flavors finally get boiled out. 

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Hope you enjoy this drink! Trust me, it's super easy to make and you'll immediately feel a sense of calm wash over you. Drink it anytime of the day but I think it's best taken in the evening with that glorious dusky sunlight. 

Ok, time to rest my eyes now. ZZZ. Have a great weekend.