There’s something about the end of September that brings about a certain nostalgia. Perhaps it’s that feeling that lingers from our younger days, where going back to school would signify excitement for some, and dread for others. And even if those days are long gone, the start of a new season, anticipating the cold, certainly brings a need for added comfort.


Enter tea. The British notoriously use tea for most situations, and I’m starting to appreciate their point. Tea makes you pause for a moment, and let’s face it – most of us do with a little pause several times a day. Take a minute, sip, decide on your next move without rushing. Yes, I’m starting to catch on to that frame of mind.

The name is striking – Celestial Seasonings – and the packaging artistic and attractive. In fact, with a history behind each iconic painting used for the packaging, you just feel that you’re on the right track trusting these tea producers. The boxes are printed on 100% recycled paperboard with 35% post-consumer content. The botanicals are purchased ethically, supporting the people and places in the world that produce their ingredients. These issues are increasingly important nowadays.

The good news doesn’t stop there – there are so many different teas to choose from. Today I’ll focus on two that have made me happy. I’m looking forward to discovering more and adding to my collection!


Dirty Chai Tea

For those times when you could do with a refresher and a gentle boost, whilst still enjoying a comforting taste… meet the tea with added coffee. Yes, that’s right – this special blend contains 40% black tea, a mixture of spices and 10% espresso. That means that you can get 46mg of caffeine in each brew, with a delicious flavour that you can enjoy while it perks you up. Incidentally, this tea bag will give you two cups of tea (or a pot) and infuses very quickly. Now what did they mean when they said that you can’t have your cake and eat it?

Sleepytime Vanilla and Sleepytime Blackberry Pomegranate

My beef with teas that are meant to promote sleep has always been the taste. If I cannot drink it, then it’s not going to get to work. The clever people at Celestial Seasonings in Boulder Colorado have managed to infuse this tea with a vanilla (and blackberry pomegranate) flavour that lulls you into a gentle sleep without any hangover sleepy feeling. I would recommend this if you have trouble sleeping, or even if you feel that you need help winding down after being on the go all day. A restful sleep will set you up to be able to better face the day ahead.


You will need:

  • 200g cooked chickpeas (or canned, drained)
  • 1 cup spinach, cooked or if using frozen, defrosted
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  • reserve a couple of lime wedges before squeezing (to serve)
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Fry the onion gently in olive oil for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and turmeric and stir. Keep the heat on low so as not to burn the garlic. Add the chickpeas and continue stirring to coat the chickpeas in turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the spinach and lime zest. Mix the spinach in and cook for a further 2 minutes until heated.

Remove from the heat before adding the lime juice and some salt to taste. Stir and serve hot with a couple of small lime wedges.

Once you try making this and realise how quick and easy (and cheap) it is to make your own mayo, where you know exactly what went inside, you may never buy another jar of mayo again. I like to put some curry in mine, but you may want to use mustard instead. It’s rather important to have an immersion blender and to use a container that is approximately the width of your blender, so there isn’t too much space at the side. You may use a regular blender, but in that case you will need to double the ingredients.

I’m using aquafaba in this video, that is the liquid found with chickpeas that are purchased in a can or carton (not the dried variety of course) that you usually probably chuck out as I did before discovering I could use it in recipes as a substitute for eggs!

If you prefer, you can use a large raw egg instead of the aquafaba, and in that case be sure to refrigerate as soon as possible, and throw it out within a few days and up to a week. Avoid giving to pregnant women. The version with aquafaba is vegan.

So, for the demonstration above, I used:

  • 4 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 2/3 glass vegetable oil (olive oil will have too strong a flavour, so it’s best to use sunflower or other similar oil)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot curry powder
  • pinch of salt

Whizz for half a minute, twisting the blender around slightly to incorporate all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate when not in use.