313 Tasting Notes
Ahhh, this is nice.
It’s been tired times for little Kelshy and I am so over having blood tests taken, but I hope they’ve got enough of my blood to actually figure out how to make me feel less like perma-garbage. And way heavier than I’ve ever been. And always sleepy.
And yet I still managed to be awake until midnight last night, even though I specifically made myself a nice cuppa this to help me drift off into dreamland and maybe, just maybe wake up refreshed instead of exhausted? Oh well. Tasty, though. I love lavender, but it needs to be balanced with the right other flavours otherwise it’s a bit like drinking soap. And it needs to be sweet, otherwise, again, soap. So brewed this up with two little spoons of sugar and tucked in while finishing my evening attempt at finishing that awful race off the end of the heli-carrier in Lego Marvel Superheroes on the Xbox. The chamomile balances out the lavender beautifully, with just a touch of the other bits giving it lift and balance. It’s like being wrapped up in a warm blanket of lovely flowers that I’m magically not allergic to. Lovely.
But I also made a little gaggle of five-spice gingerbread Daleks and TARDISes to take to the office last night, and they went down an absolute treat. Huzzah! Five-spice makes the best gingerbread.
And here’s something I wrote where I talked to some nice gentleman about a Christmas special they made for a show called Doctor Who:
It’s been days and I’m still reeling from the weeks of emotional anguish that the last few episode of Doctoroo put me through. And this is in spite of previewing everything a few days early in the interest of journalism. I should have been prepared. We watched it as it aired at my friend’s birthday party in London and when it was done I cried a lot and my poor, long-suffering spouse had to comfort me until I was in a fit enough state to play board games with everyone again.
Also, I baked chocolate, orange, and cardamom biscuits with the intention of using my Dalek biscuit stamp, but sadly, the dough was too soft to stamp out properly so I just did rounds instead. I managed a single, mostly recognisable Dalek. I haven’t been able to bring myself to eat it yet. Maybe tonight.
As for the tea, I dunno, this tea is so massively seasonally-appropriate right now. Warm nutty spice, an almost gingerbreadiness. Chestnut tea just somehow brings wonders to every blend it touches. SO GOOD. I love it with all my heart.
Ok, so I was totally sold as soon as I saw the name of this one – Black Orchid is a SPECTACULARLY AWFUL two-part Doctor Who serial starring Petey Davison and his gaggle of ducklings. It has a special place in my heart. Plus, I’d just come from interviewing some contemporary Doctor Who luminaries at the BBC and happened to be passing the vicinity of Selfridges, so I thought it would be criminal not to pop in. How serendipitous, or something.
And the tea is gorgeous, too. Similar to Vanilla Shortbread from Whittard, but a touch more caramelised, I think. I’d expected a slightly darker brew than the burnt orange I got in the cup, but it certainly delivered on flavour, and the base plays beautifully with the rich vanilla-ness of it. Nom. This was a good idea.
This tea is basically the essence of Christmas tastes to me, in the best possible way. It’s like drinking a warm winter pudding, redolent with soft warming spices and a rich fruitiness from the currant and orange peels, set against a robust breakfast tea base.
And it’s not too heavy on the cloves, which have a tendency to make me grumpy when they’re TOO overbearing, which they can be in some holiday-flavoured things. I mean, they’re there, but so is a good measure of ginger and cinnamon and cardamom. Bang-on, old skool holiday goodness.
(Though I do remember in my cooler, pre-asthma days, when I’d smoke those fantastically goth black clove cigarettes – like, a whole two a week, mostly in the interest of socialising with the other academics who smoked – so many people would comment that they smelled like Christmas time. I found myself sharing a sidewalk with somebody who was smoking one a few weeks ago, and it is a really comforting scent. I just don’t like too much of it in my tea.)
But I digress. The bad news is that my work just sent an email that I’m due to be auto-enrolled in the university’s pension scheme, even though I’ve literally opted out of it FOUR BLOODY TIMES THIS YEAR, and I thought they were supposed to give it a rest for a few years if you say no the first time. I’m sure this will mean there will be a chunk of change missing from my next pay packet that I’ll have to wrestle back from them a month later, which is pants because it’s Christmas and my pocketbook is so strained I’m scared. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAERGH
/nervously sips tea
Ok – full disclosure, as a journalist who sometimes writes about/interviews people about certain tv shows, I sometimes have to watch things ahead of broadcast.
That being said, in spite of this being the case for the latest Doctor Who episode, and having watched it again on Saturday, I AM STILL NOT OKAY AND I KEEP MAKING THESE VERY STRESSED FACES ABOUT IT because like, it was some beautiful writing and acting, and I still think it was a really frustrating way to end this character’s run.
(The tea’s still jolly good, though – and everything this season is best with a good measure of warming cinnamon, so it’s some little solace I guess?)
Great news! I fell down the stairs getting off the bus today! My shoulder and back definitely feel like they’re going to be massively messed up tomorrow! I am so grateful I still have a stash of the Canadian back pain pills you can’t seem to get from pharmacies anywhere else!
THANK YOU CANADA FOR RECOGNISING YOU TOTALLY DON’T NEED A PRESCRIPTION TO NEED THE HECK OUTTA ROBAXACET PLATINUM plus I am so tired right now (falling down the stairs getting off the bus probably didn’t help) that I crawled under my desk for a few minutes to see if it would be a good place to nap.
In other news, the pile of Things I Need To Write seems to continue to grow exponentially, and in my current state of being, I have no confidence whatsoever and may have to chop a longish opinion piece down to like 300 words and some quotes from people whose opinions are more important than mine. Ugh. The life of an almost-not-paid-at-all journalista on her quest to, I dunno, get invited to the same parties as Peter Capaldi? Getting paid would be nice, too.
Oh yeah, tea. I was SO nervous about trying a banana thing, because when banana is done badly, it’s massively unpleasant. The last thing anyone wants is to take a sip of something that, it turns out, is a dead ringer for that banana medicine they give you for ear infections and stuff when you’re a kid. Or any kind of readymade banana milkshake. That’s that kind of fake flavour that I think I actually only acknowledge as banana because that’s what I’m told it’s supposed to taste like, rather than bearing any meaningful resemblance to my very favourite source of potassium. NO.
Not so with Monkey Chops. It’s subtle, which is definitely for the best, and really didn’t make a massively banana impression on me until a few sips in. The mouthfeel is creamy with a dash of sugar and skimmed milk, and the soft baked banana flavour is more reminiscent of banana bread than anything else, with lovely bread/cake notes and enough tea-ness that you don’t forget you’re drinking tea. And I do love banana bread. So this is good. I’m very glad I tried this one.
This is one I’ve been wanting to try for ages, and I’m really glad I got it as autumn is in full, blustery November force. Perfect.
I’m not getting masses of bonfire, but I’m fine with this as smoke has a tendency to make itself the only thing I can taste if it’s been applied with too heavy a hand. This, however, is positively buttery. Like, I’m getting a really lovely, buttery mouthfeel from this as well as toffee flavour. That buttery toffee seems to come in first, enveloping a lovely taste of sweet apple.
In other news, it’s far too windy out there, and I’ve literally just remembered an essay I need to write for a forthcoming book that I’d COMPLETELY forgotten about, on the eve of the release of another book I wrote an essay for being released. Yippee!
(Oh my Gosh I have such a full writing schedule for the next few months I might throw up)
Decaf is important. I’m grateful to have a nice, bright lemony brew to gently send me to what I hope will be a sound sleep tonight. It has to be. I’ve been nervous for so many days, and then oddly anxious this weekend, even though my scariest work is done.
Yeah, so on Friday, I got up at like 5 in the morning to rattle down to the BBC in London to interview Mark Gatiss, Peter Capaldi, and Steven Moffat. How I managed to say questions and make conversation and not just sit there slack-jawed and gibbering, I have no clue. Lovely gentlemen, all of them. Details to follow.
Ok, I’ve had this cute little tin of this tea sat in the back of my office desk drawer for nearly 2 months, and I’ve finally got round to trying it.
Made it this morning with a few sachets of sugar and a splash of somebody’s milk (sorry, some other department in the building) and it’s actually really autumnal and lovely. There’s a sort of top note that reminds me slightly of a buttery flapjack, with a mouthfeel that becomes juicy as the apple flavour comes in (and it’s definitely cooked apple, but there’s a touch of sharpness, so it isn’t cloying), and the finish is lingering caramel. A warmth from the cinnamon hums over the blend without bringing masses of spice, and the hint of soft tannin is surprisingly nice. I dunno, I liked it.
Also, tomorrow I have to get up at like 5 to go to the BBC in London to interview some people who are VERY IMPORTANT and I’m utterly terrified. So that’s a thing.
CRAP CRAP CRAP OH NO :(
Apparently my Bluebird order went through twice – a quirk of the way that your shopping basket times out if you haven’t done anything with it for a while, I think – but because I’m a muppet I only noticed that the total was oddly high after it had shipped, so what’s done is done. I don’t mind terribly because obviously I love Bluebird tea, but I am a bit poor, and half of that money was what would otherwise have been earmarked for my November bus pass. Crap. I am a sad Kelsh.
So, uhh, tell your friends there’s free shipping and $5 off in my society6 shop? (egregious spammy self-promo goes here: https://society6.com/samikelsh?promo=8JNJ6ZRQJY3J)
But I digress. Made this as a latte with supermarket value range almond milk. I can see why it’s value range, but the tea continues to be basically my favourite ever and the perfect spicy drink. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM.