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.

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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!

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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.


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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.


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I like making stuffed courgettes, the possibilities are endless, and I cannot understand why some people don’t appreciate the versatility of courgettes. So here I am, sticking up for the green vegetable, and presenting you with different ways to get them onto your plates! My go-to method is to stuff them with ricotta/cheese/parsley or sometimes minced meat, but this time I didn’t have either of those things in my fridge, so I opted to use what I already had.

You will need (2 portions):

1 round courgette per person

1 red bell pepper

1/2 a bulb of funnel (or according to taste)

1/2 cup spinach

2-4 sundried tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped cheddar or grated Parmesan (I used some chunks of Scamorza)

1 egg

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Trim the edges from your courgettes so that they can sit flat. Cut in half across the wider part.

Place in a deep pan with boiling water for about 20 minutes until soft. Fish them out and let them cool until they are cool enough to handle.

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

In the meantime the spinach, red bell pepper, sundried tomatoes, and fennel need to be chopped finely. Whisk the 2 eggs in a bowl and add all the ingredients, reserving some cheese for later, and add a pinch of salt & pepper to taste.

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Scoop out the insides of the courgettes, leaving a 1cm border all around, and being careful not to cut through the sides.

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Fill the courgettes with several spoonfuls of your mixture till the top and place in an oven-proof dish (a deep one is better as sometimes they will leak). Cook for about 30 minutes until they are browning at the top.

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