slow made, home made authentic Indian chai tea

True Indian chai is a far cry from the watered-down Western coffeehouse version. Authentic chai is made with thick buffalo milk, a considerable amount sugar , black tea, and cardamon pods–-if you’re lucky.

First, all of these ingredient should be fresh (or as fresh as possible). You can get all these spices in specialised Indian spice shops.

1. Lipton Yellow Label black tea OR Five Roses Chai tea bags [DO NOT USE GREEN OR LEAF TEA, IT WILL RUIN THE TASTE].

2. Cloves, whole cinnamon sticks (good quality), star anise, fresh ginger + ginger powder, pink & black peppercorns, cardamon pods, vanilla husks (for taste)

3. Optional items: White khas-khas (Indian name of a spice, which is round dried seeds); and soanph (green dried, not roasted)

4. 250ml full-cream milk + 250ml tinned coconut milk. (If you’re lucky enough to find buffalo milk at Indian speciality stores, Durban mostly, then that would be perfect)


In a clean deep dish container, put 2 cups water, 1 cup milk, 1 full teaspoon black tea and spices as follows.

1 pod cardamon
1 tspn ginger zest
1 tblspn ground ginger
4-5 big size whole black & pink pepper corns
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 vanilla husk/pod
2 star anise pods

Pop the dry whole spices in a warm pan for less than 40 seconds. The heat releases the natural oils of the spice. On a piece of manila paper, crush all of the ingredients together. Immediately put this mix in dish with water and milk. Keep them on stove top about 15 minutes, keep stirring continuously. Add brown sugar and honey to your taste. Drain on strainer and serve in a cup.

The idea is to burn water from the tea while mixing the spices into the leftover tea. You may have to experiment with the quantity of water and milk to the final quantity of tea. In my experience, 2:1 ratio works better, i.e. I use 2 cups of (milk + water) for making one cup of chai. 1 cup of water is burned in the process. This provides smooth taste of chai.

Please note: Chai making can be fun, but you cannot cut time.



mr brainwash – latest

Mr.Brainwash on Banksy’s suggestion that he become a street artist:

“I take everything seriously and I do everything with my heart. So when I got the chance of doing something I was like a mental patient who finally got to see a shrink. I vomited out everything I had inside.”

See more on Banksy’s protege here:

secret admirer

secret admirer



just kidding

just kidding


hummingbird cupcakes with pistachio cream cheese frosting


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

Pistachio Cream Cheese Frosting Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups chopped pistachio nuts

1.5 tubs of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 pistachio essence (available at Pick n Pay and all good retail stores)

1 teaspoons vanilla essence or 1 pod vanilla (the latter adds intensity to the flavour)

5-1/2 to 6 cups powdered icing sugar

Half a pack of Moirs Milk Tart Instant Pudding.


Whip together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy. If piping on frosting, add milk tart instant pudding, finely chopped pistachio nuts and pistachio essence into the cream cheese mixture. Gradually beat in dry pudding/pistachio mix and powdered sugar until frosting reaches spread or piping consistency. Make about 3-1/2 cups

Dried hibiscus flowers (I use fresh frangipanis)

Directions for baking:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.with rack in center. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla, and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next. Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. Add to egg mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in flour mixture.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with dried flowers, if desired.

Serve at room temperature with love 🙂



south african brandy cocktail of the year: the fynbos (recipe)

The Fynbos

This trend-forward brandy based cocktail ticks all the boxes: it looks and tastes delicious; it’s easy to mix and made with easy-to-find ingredients – all key to a popular cocktail.

Glass: Martini


50ml South African brandy
50ml rooibos tea
25ml sugar syrup
12.5ml ginger liqueur
1 teaspoon honey
A dash of bitters (optional)
Garnish: lemon twist

How to make sugar syrup:
Mix 1 part boiling water and 2 parts sugar, stir to dissolve and let it cool.


Chill a martini glass, shake brandy, Rooibos tea, honey, sugar syrup and ginger liqueur. Strain into martini glass, finish off with a lemon twist on top. Eugene recommends Butlers Ginger Liqueur

This is TOO yummy and ideal for sexy, cold winter nights.

see more on Brandy Fusion and other Cape Town trends here:


creativity and the tao

About the year 1215, a Zen priest called Mu Ch’i came to Hangchow, where he rebuilt a ruined monastery. By rapid swirls of ink he attempted, with undeniable success, to capture the moments of exaltation and set down the fleeting visions which he obtained from the frenzy of wine, the stupor of tea, or the vacancy of inanition. Ch’en Jung, about the same time, was noted for the simplicity of his life and the competence with which he fulfilled his duties as a magistrate. . . .Finally, he was admired for his habits of a confirmed drunkard. “He made clouds by splashing ink on his pictures. For mists he spat out water. When wrought up by wine he uttered a great shout and, seizing his hat, used it as a brush, roughly smearing his drawing; after which he finished his work with a proper brush” One of the first painters of the sect, Wang Hsia, who lived in the early ninth century, would perform when he was drunk real tours de force, going so far as to plunge his head into a bucket of ink and flop it over a piece of silk on which there appeared, as if by magic, lakes, trees, enchanted mountains. But none seems to have carried emancipation further, among these priests, than Ying Yu-chien, secretary of the famous temple Ching-tzii saii, who would take a cat-like pleasure in spattering and lacerating the sheet.      – from I Ching or the Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm

The remarks about Ch’en Jung, in particular, suggest that these gentlemen, having splattered the silk with ink, would contemplate the mess until they could project the shapes and outlines of landscape. Thereafter they would take “the proper brush” and with a few touches bring it out for all to see.      Cases of this use of the creative un-, sub-, or superconscious are so numerous among painters (including Leonardo), physicists, mathematicians, writers, and musicians that we need not go into further examples. . .      – from Tao, The Watercourse Way by Allan Watts.

Footnote to Watt’s excerpt above:

Hokusai (1760-1829), one of the great Ukiyoye masters of Japan, was once summoned by the Emperor to paint at court. He first dipped the feet of a chicken in blue ink and gently dragged them over a long scroll of rice paper. Then he dipped another chicken’s feet in vermilion ink and simply let the chicken walk freely upon the scroll. After this was done, he bowed deeply to his royal patron and showed him the painting “Autumn Leaves Falling on the Yangtze River.”


“The tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great.   Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree.”  –Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao