Tag Archives: Tea

Recipe – Kiev-Style Raspberry Jam

I will just say this, it took me forever to get through. In Gilmore Girls, Dean complains to Rory about this book (teasingly) blaming her for wasting his time with it. I don’t really blame Dean at all. The book is long, dense and the names confused me more often than not. The characters are also not that likeable.

However it is easy to see why this book is widely regarded as the “best novel ever written.” It deals with important themes, especially those of fidelity, family, marriage and society. Anna is a tragic character and is a reflection of her time; after falling in love with another man and leaving her husband Anna loses everything else so dear to her, her son, her friends, and her social standing. Despite the fact that I found Anna unlikeable, I was still able to sympathize with her and see her as a woman trapped.

The book also depicts Russian high society prior to the Revolution. My favourite parts of the book were when we saw Kitty and Levin in their country estate. I loved the scene where while making jam, all the women involved had different opinions on how “properly” to make jam. Out of the whole book, I felt that this was the most relatable scene, mothers, grandmothers and daughter all with different opinions on the “proper” way to do something.

So I decided to try my hand at making a Russian, or Kiev-style, jam. Essentially the defining characteristic is that it is made without water. This is the method that Kitty introduces to her new mother-in-law who is skeptical.

Fresh Raspberries

Fresh Raspberries

On the terrace were assembled all the ladies of the party. They always liked sitting there after dinner, and that day they had work to do there too. Besides the sewing and knitting of baby-clothes, with which all of them were busy, that afternoon jam was being made on the terrace by a method new to Agafea Mihalovna, without the addition of water. Kitty had introduced this new method, which had been in use in her home. Agafea Mihalovna, to whom the task of jam-making had always been intrusted, considering that what had been done in the Levin household could not be amiss, had nevertheless put water with the strawberries, maintaining that the jam could not be made without it. She had been caught in the act, and was now making jam before everyone, and it was to be proved to her conclusively that jam could be very well made without water.” (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Part VI, Chapter II)

2015-05-18 12.02.09

Cover with sugar, lemon juice, and vodka and refrigerate for at least three hours

I don’t blame poor Agafea Mihalovna, I too was skeptical, but it turns out that jam can indeed be made without water. This method produces a jam that is much more like fruit preserves, as the structural integrity of the fruit is maintained.

Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved

Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved

2015-05-18 15.51.39The jam is perfect spread on a scone or roll of bread served with some good Russian tea. The Russia tea ceremony is quite intricate and involves a special brewing pot called a Samovar. Lacking in resources I settled for a cup of Four Red Fruit tea from Kusmi, a tea company originating from St. Petersburg.

Recipe
3 cups raspberries
2 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
¼ cup of vodka

  1. Place raspberries in a pot and cover with vodka, sugar, and lemon juice. Refrigerate overnight or for at least three hours
  2. Prior to cooking jam sterilize your jars either by boiling them or placing them in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Place pot on stove and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. The raspberries with give off a heavy fragrance and the liquid in the pot will darken
  5. Simmer for 15-20 stirring the mixture occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and jar your jam
  7. Remember to place the full jars into a pot of boiling water in order to seal them properly.

Wishlist Wednesday – Sylvia Plath Tea

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” – C.S Lewis

Oh how I do agree with Mr. Lewis on this one. There is nothing better than curling up with a good book and a hot cup of tea, especially on cold and snowy winter days like this one. I can’t remember if it was on BookRiot, or Buzzfeed where I originally saw that there was a company in Australia that was blending tea inspired by famous authors. Either way I forgot about it until recently.

There is a DavidsTea right around the corner from my apartment and so I frequent there quite a bit. Today I got an email from them (yes I’m on their mailing list) about how they are pairing with etsy to support local artists and sell handmade goods. I spend a lot of time on etsy to begin with and so today while looking at the mugs available for sale, I remembered the article that mentioned this company in Australia. A quick search brought me to the Literary Tea Company Page.

The company hand blends tea inspired by famous including William Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. While the Jane Austin tea is especially appealing (Jane Austin alway conjures up images of tea parties for me) the Sylvia Plath inspired tea stood out for me. Made with Hibiscus, Orange Black Tea, and Lavender it is recommended that you drink this while reading the Bell Jar. It’s a great idea and while I would love to order them all, if I have to pick just one it would be Sylvia Plath’s

The

Special Post – Christmas Roundup

I got some pretty great literary themed gifts for Christmas this year, and I wanted to share them all with you. Thank you to all my family and friends for knowing me well enough to know that you can never go wrong with buying me books.

2014-12-28 20.32.15

First up is a set of Reader’s Teas from Indigo. The box states “There is nothing more agreeable than the voice of a book and the quiet of a cup of tea,” and I happen to agree. I love White Teas and am especially excited to the the White Anjou Pear. Now just to find the right book to pair it with.

2014-12-28 20.32.36From the One of a Kind Craft Show come this literary inspired pillow. My apartment is lacking in book related decor, and I love the sentiment expressed on this pillow; “I open a book, it opens my heart.” The pillow is from Lois Ward of Goodlines Décor, based in London Ontario, who makes all her products out of pre-loved fabric and non-toxic ink. You can check out her site and where to buy her products on her webpage.

2014-12-28 20.34.13

Also from the One of a Kind Craft Show is this bookbinding kit from Sprout’s Press. I posted a while ago about how much I loved everything at the Sprout’s Press booth and was so excited to open this on Christmas day. I can’t wait to try my hand at binding my own journal and will be sure to share my experience on this blog.

2014-12-28 20.33.52

Obviously a number of books were on my Christmas wish list. Santa must read this blog because Lena Dunham and Amy Poehler are both hilarious women as well as strong female role models, and anyone who reads my blog knows what a winning combination those two things are. I cannot wait to start reading these so that I can fall in love with both women even more.

2014-12-28 20.37.28 2014-12-28 20.37.57

Last but not least, everyone knows that I am constantly carrying multiple books around with me and always have a need for good book bags. The one on the left depicts Queen Street West and was crafted by No Place Utopia, which creates beautiful Toronto themed artwork and decor. The tote with the typewriter is also from the One of a Kind Craft Show and was crafted by Made in Brockton Village. Both of these will definitely come in handy when lugging around my collection.

Finally I also received a gift certificate to Indigo and am torn on which books to buy. Right now I am pretty much set on The Tastemakers by David Sax, and The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray. Anything can happen when I step into a bookstore however, and I have a feeling I will be needing one of my new book bags to carry home all my purchases.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and has a very happy New Year.