Monday, August 31, 2015

TEAM DARJEELING- Tea with my stylist

Had a hair appointment and brought tea to share with my stylist, Melissa, who has been doing my hair for over 15 years.  She is so sweet and has thrown a few tea parties as well.  She was telling me about the cake she is making for her nieces wedding next weekend, along with a couple hundred cupcakes.  At past appointments, when I've been in the process of planning a tea party, she has offered ideas and input when I bounce ideas off her.  She loved the Tardis and the idea of our traveling teapot and was happy to pose for a few pix!

TEAM DARJEELING: Irma and tea in the airport

I had a bit on time to spend looking around the airport in Lima waiting for my plane.  I got a kick out of the Coca Leaf cookies and chewing gum.  

Stopped by a coffee shop that also sold tea...Lipton tea bags.  Pass.  So I moved on to the next shop, which had a little cafe in back of the book store.  I was happy to find Tea Forte sachets in several choices of types of teas and flavors.  After sitting down with a book and tea, I heard a lady order a cup of tea.  I believe she may be a bit of a tea snob as well, based on some comments she made- something about "ugghh..people" with a groan (I think she was not so pleased with the Lipton tea bags offered next door, then a limited selection here).  I wanted to introduce myself and Irma to her, but after I simply asked the time to open the conversation, didn't feel she would appreciate the intrusion so I just snapped a photo of Irma and she happened to be in the background.

A couple of gift shops in the airport had displays with tea and teaware (smile)

Tea is a univeral drink that brings people together- Bruce Richardson

Sunday, August 30, 2015

TEAM DARJEELING: Tea shop in Lima, Mate de Coca and a little tea party.

We took a cab to an upscale part of Lima called Mira Flores- a part of Lima tourists often visit.  We went specifically to visit a little tea shop I found online called Te Quiero Te.  Each time we took a cab we were so happy to arrive safely to our destination, feeling as though we risked our lives in the process.  Here is a picture of the traffic- notice how close our side mirror is to the car next to us.  They do have white lines in the road- though people don't seem to see them- why drive in 4 lanes when you can make 9?

My daughter and niece with Irma (our traveling teapot) inside the tea shop.

 Forgive, my daughter, she learned to blow bubbles on the bus ride from Los Organos (beach where we stayed for a week in the north of Peru) to Lima.  She pretty much spent the rest of the trip blowing bubbles whenever I allowed her to have gum.   Pictured with Irma in Te Quiero Te tea shop along with my daughter and me are my sister-in-law and her daughter.

The owner, Napoleon, wasn't there that day, the sweet lady working was Giovanna.  My sister-in-law translated and explained who Irma was, and asked if she minded us taking photos in the shop.  
 Irma posing next to Mate de Coca.  These are the leaves Cocaine is made from- but much processing goes into it before it becomes the psychoactive alkaloid. Coca leaves have been used for centuries in Peru as a stimulant, to prevent altitude sickness, help with headaches and digestion.  Indigenous peoples often chew on coca leaves to increase energy and reduce hunger and thirst while they work long days.  It is illegal to bring the leaves or tea back to the U.S., so I ordered a cup to go and drank it on my way home.

Giovanna was so nice to give the girls little whistles.  On top of that, when she heard the shattering of my daughters outside the store as she dropped the beautiful ceramic piece, she gave her another one as dd's eyes started welling up with tears.

After purchasing the Mate de Coca to go, a few ounces of some Panettone flavored black tea, and a tea strainer we headed back to Lima to prepare a little tea party.  The girls and I made placemats for each guest out of construction paper.  Glue, colored pencils, construction paper and scissors were supplied and here are a couple of the place mats they made...

 The tables were set...

 I poured the Panettone black tea from Irma
Panettone (Paneton) is a popular cake traditionally served on Christmas and New Years in Peru with hot chocolate.  Many teas available at the tea shop were traditional teas that can be found anywhere, I know that Peruvians love their Paneton, and thought it has a local flair.

My daughter served alfajors, here she is serving to her Abuelo (Grandpa)

Hope you enjoyed being a part of our simple little tea party

Friday, August 28, 2015



Irma sat by while we ate all sorts of wonderful Peruvian dishes.  Sometimes she looked on longingly, and sometimes we brought her out to enjoy the meal with us.  The drink of choice with many Peruvian dishes is Inca Kola- a refreshing yellow colored caffeinated cola that I personally really enjoy.  Also, I enjoy a Peruvian wine that is next to impossible to find in the States.  Wine from Peru isn't considered among the best in the world, but there is one in particular that we love.  It is common to add fruit to red wine to make Sangria.  The famous alcoholic drink Peru is known for is Pisco Sour.  The drink that we broke out Irma for (because it is somewhat of an infusion, albeit a bit of a stretch) was Chicha Morada.  This purple colored drink, made from purple corn, is quite lovely.

I averaged gaining 1.3 pound/week I was in Peru.  Good thing I was only there 3 weeks!  :-)  Peruvians love their starches, and several at a meal is not uncommon.  Peru has over 3,000 varieties of potatoes, and the largest variety of corn in the world.  Fried potatoes or Fried Yucca or "Yucca Frita" frequently accompany meals, in addition to corn (often toasted), and sometimes rice.  

Inca Kola, "The Golden Cola"  You don't see Pepsi and Coke signs so much in Peru, but Inca Kola signs are everywhere.

Some Peruvian dishes I'd like to share with you:

Parihuela Mixo- a seafood soup

Tuno Saltado

Aji de Gajina
This one doesn't look like much, by oh my goodness it is good!

Enrollado en salse de longstino
Fish rolled with seafood inside

"Chifa" (Chinese) is very popular in Peru.  It is Chinese food, but Peruvian Chinese isn't the same as American Chinese.  This dish was stir-fried rice with fried egg on top.

Conchita- Peruvian toasted corn

This is one of my favorite dishes. In fact, my husband made it tonight for dinner (along with corn, sweet potato, conchita (toasted corn) and yucca frita)  How many starches was that?  Since I'm going for tea tomorrow, I figure the diet starts Saturday!  

A funny story about my first time trying ceviche.  When I asked what it was he told me it is fish.  I asked him how it is cooked, and he told me it was cooked with lime and salt.  I continued to press for how exactly it was cooked. Was it boiled?  Fried?  Baked?  He kept replying, "No, it's cooked in lime and salt"  Finally I asked, "Is there Heat involved in cooking it?"  When he replied "No, no heat"  I said, "No Heat, No Eat!"    I have since changed my mind after tasting it as it is absolutely delicious!  It is traditionally served with giant corn and sweet potato.  

The beautiful dish below is Causa 
Causa is made by layering mashed potatoes with tuna and mayonnaise and celery

We decided to treat ourselves to my favorite Peruvian dessert, alfajores.  My husbands sister-in-law taught me to make them once, but I haven't attempted on my own.  A good description of them I found on Alfajores have their origin in the traditional Arabic confection "alaj├║" found in some Spanish regions and found their way to whole South America in colonial times. Back then some ingredients weren't available or too expensive, so adaptations to the original recipe were necessary; and by now nearly each Latin American country has its own way of preparing them. In Peru Alfajores consist of two layers of fine and crumbly cookies made of flour and / or cornstarch, butter and powdered sugar filled with Manjar Blanco, a sweat, caramel-like, sticky reduction of milk and sugar.

Chicha Morada is the purple drink in the glass.  It is served cold.  It is made by boiling purple corn, cinnamon and cloves in water and simmering for close to an hour.  After straining, sugar and lime juice is added.  Next it is cooled and then chopped pineapple and apple are added.

Another wonderful Peruvian dessert is churros.  These aren't like those star shaped ones you get at the fair!  Here Irma is watching by as we purchase some filled with dulce de leche.  Irma is packed away in her box safely nestled in styrofoam, which is how I transported her everywhere we went. After picking out our churros we took them home to enjoy with tea (of course!).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Irma in Peru

I have reached civilization and have internet, so watch out for more posts in the days to come on TEAM DARJEELING teapot adventures.  The Tardis now has a name, "Irma"  Irma traveled first class from Seattle to Peru (with stops in LA and Mexico City along the way).  I was planning to break out the teapot and share tea with my fellow passengers, but I found the first class cabin to not be very approachable (lots of businessmen on their laptops, keeping to themselves.  I almost offered tea to the lady next to me, but chickened out.  

Because I don't watch TV and have never seen the show, I didn't recognize the Kardashians in the VIP louge in LA or on the plane from LA to Mexico City.  I saw some teenagers acting all giddy, but didn't know why at the time.  I sat next to either one of the Kardashian daughters, or a very beautiful lady who was with them, on the plane.  It's funny, I didn't know it until the next leg of my journey, the man next to me had seen the kids take a photo with them and told me who they were.  I apologize for not taking photos- if I were more outgoing there would have been some fun photos of tea with the Kardashians!

I also apologize for the long time between posts.  I tried.  Believe me.  But without running water, internet was a bit too much to ask for.  When I did venture to areas in Peru with internet, I had trouble accessing the blog and my Gmail (Kudos to Google for flagging an attempt to access my account from a foreign country)

Here is where the Tardis, "Irma" began her adventure.  In a little village called Naupe in the North of Peru.  This town has running water.  Sometimes.  I took a couple of showers heating up water and pouring in over me.  This family lives off their land, and raises their own food.   

Can you imagine cooking in these large pots, raised on bricks, with fire beneath?

 My daughter (in the blue) and her cousin LOVED all the animals roaming around.  They later got to take a ride behind the donkey pictured crossing the street behind them in the photo below.

 Of course we had a little tea party!  Nothing fancy, no fine china, tea bags my mother-in-law had on hand (No loose leaf tea to be found in is the local store.)

Below is where we heated water for tea.  Look at this great kitchen!  The wood is used for cooking (and boiling water for tea!)  This is the same oven my husbands grandmother used a half century ago.

   The teas ...
Canela y Clavo  and Mate de Coca.  You might be thinking, "Coca?  As in Cocaine leaves?  Yup!  More on Coca tea in a future post. 

 The highlight of this tea party was the freshly made dessert, a local specialty...Picarones. 
Picarones are in a doughnut form, but instead of just flour and eggs, local squash called "macre" and sweet potatoes are used.  They are served hot and drizzled with chancaca syrup.

You can see Irma way in the back, held by my mother-in-law, Irma.