MY BELMOND Botanical Teas are a seasonally inspired offering. As a proud Englishman they all have a British twist. But I’ve drawn on my travels, and Belmond’s beautiful portfolio, to create some truly global recipes.
Many varieties of scented pelargonium leaves make wonderful drinks for the summer. They can either be served hot as a floral tea, or allowed to steep and chill as a refreshing cooling tincture. Some varieties can be used to create delicious cakes, sugars and cordials too.
The most wonderful refreshing hot drink is Rose Geranium Tea. On hot summer days, I drink it by the gallon!
Try to source organic leaves from a rose scented pelargonium plant, also known as Rose Geranium. My favourite variety to grow and harvest are “Attar of Roses” and “Sweet Mimosa”. They have the added bonus of growing very pretty flowers.
Scented pelargonium are said to have both antifungal and antiseptic properties, as well as a calming effect.
I grow my own geraniums for their flowers and leaves, using them all throughout the summer. They serve as beautiful, decorative and fragrant foliage. I usually put them on tables where I know they won’t attract the attention of Stan, my dog!
This means that when harvesting a few handfuls of leaves, I tend to shake and blow them to remove any dust, rather than washing them. Washing can remove some of the flavoursome, fragrant oils. However, if you aren’t as sure of the provenance of your leaves, give them a good swish through a bowl of cold water.
Fill and boil a kettle and pour it into an empty tea pot, cafetière or tisaniere and leave it to warm. Re-fill your kettle with fresh water and bring it to the boil. Empty your by-now warmed tea pot and place a generous handful of rose-scented geranium leaves inside. Pour on the boiling water and swirl the leaves gently with a spoon. Pop on the lid and wrap in a tea towel or swathe in a tea cosy. Leave to stand for four minutes.
Find your favourite cup and saucer, tea-glass or mug and fill it with the pale green, fragrant liquid. Find a relaxing spot, settle back and enjoy.
A favourite wintertime tea, which I drink daily, uses fresh ginger or galangal, turmeric and lemongrass. I spend a day in my kitchen chopping and prepping, then freeze my raw materials in tubs. Then I just grab a handful each morning to fill my teapot, which I top up through the day. It’s pure health in a cup.
Using only fresh organic botanicals, prepare your lemongrass by stripping and trimming the root and tip. Then slice through the centre and rinse thoroughly in running cold water. Cut into 1 - 2cm slices.
Wash the ginger or galangal and turmeric roots. Grate them on a coarse grater. You may wish to wear gloves as the turmeric will stain your fingers. Combine the three treats in a large teapot and fill with fresh boiling water. Leave to steep for five minutes then pour yourself a warming cup of healthy happiness.
The health benefits to these ingredients are immense. Lemongrass lowers cholesterol, prevents infection and has anti-stress properties. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, boosts the immune system and promotes heart health. Ginger is a great antioxidant, anti-viral, aids digestion and prevents nausea. Galangal has similar properties while also aiding circulation.
Looking for something sweeter? All these recipes are best sweetened with a dose of your preferred local honey.
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