Science makes up for raining on our Parade: Baking with Rooibos

Every now and then I have a slice of cake so good that I become hell-bent on extending my life.
“Bring me a barrel full of the finest anti-oxidants known to man! All this sitting around on couches while eating cakes must be prolonged.”
The problem with this is that it’s beginning to become clear that both couches and most slices of cake (especially of the kind that makes you want to live forever) are hell-bent on destroying humanity, one slothful glutton at a time. The comfort of a couch is my surest temptation against regular exercise, which is in turn, about the best thing I have to defend myself against the artery clogging side effects of an otherwise perfectly friendly Victoria-Sponge.
Oh, I love Science! The thought of all those poorly dressed but clever people going about and discovering all kinds of mysterious and wonderful things really gets me all agog. But this love is in spite of Science’s tendency to, every now and then, rain, quite heavily, on my parade. Couches, cakes, cigarettes and sunshine- all precious too me have now  taken on a bit of a sinister glow- thanks to science. (Lets just hope that science leaves looking at pictures of cats on the internet alone. It’s the last truly pure thing I have left).
Longevity is a bee that does not stay in my bonnet for very long. Far too much standing up while drinking vegetable juice to suit my sensitive disposition. And anyway, with cakes and couches few and far between I quickly begin to lose sight of my motivations for such an ambitious project.

It is then, very exciting, when science takes something entirely delicious and declares it to be a “super-food”. Tomatoes, salmon and cocoa all gorgeous and also apparently “healthy choices”. Rejoice! Rooibos is also in these ranks. Dear rooibos, with its calming wild bushy flavour and rich colour is also apparently a godsend to my insides- anti-oxidising (or some such noble behaviour) every filthy and long-neglected corner of me.

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Rooibos and Brideshead Revisted: most delicious.

I am now in something of a habit of trying to slip rooibos into my baking. It’s actually rather simple. Rooibos is easily introduced to any baking recipe that uses a fair amount of liquid like water juice or milk. Before you use the liquid as required in the recipe, brew it with some rooibos. My very rough method is to use one tea bag per serving. However, this will naturally vary on your aims.
I often use rooibos with custard base tarts, brewing the milk/cream with the rooibos first. Here I like less rooibos for more subtle background flavour. Any kind of tea is also well suited to candy based recipes like hard-sweets and marshmallows. I think its fun to have the flavour come through powerfully in these- as something unexpected and surprising. This is easily achieved. Simply substitute the water in the recipe for strong (espresso-strong) rooibos tea.
My habit , it must be noted, is to combine rooibos with all kinds of things that fall on the nutrition-fanatic’s naughty-list, so chances are that I’m not going to live forever. But it doesn’t take me long to eat a piece of cake and so even if I get just an extra five minutes added to my life it will be enough to make it count.

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