You can eat tea any time

Was there a time when it was odd to have coffee flavoured foods? When did we have the first coffee cake, or Café Liègeois (a gorgeous ice cream/coffee dessert)? Now no one blinks an eye.

Thai Chai Pana Cotta

Thai Chai Pana Cotta

Why do we use tea so little in our cooking? After all we drink so much of the stuff! On our visit to Japan last year, green tea was everywhere in ice creams, cakes, desserts. I am not sure about the very green-ness of green tea catching on in such a big way here, I found the flavour an acquired taste.

Determined to explore what delights we can make with tea, we’ve been experimenting in the Edinburgh Foody household. We’ve come up with two different ways to use tea, Smoked Fish and Tea Panna Cotta. Both are easy and well worth the effort. Adagio Tea kindly sent me some samples. I just wish you appreciate their wonderful aroma.

Smoked Fish

Fish smoked on a rack

One of the contestants on this year’s Master Chef got us pondering how easy it was to smoke food. Having read many recipes and getting into our heads what was required, we tried smoking some grey mullet. You could use hake, cod, or something similar. We chose to use the Lapsang Souchong tea from Adagio.

Tea and rice spread on the bottom of the baking tin, fish on the rack

Tea and rice spread on the bottom of the baking tin, fish on the rack

As soon as I opened the sealed packet of tea wonderful smoky flavours escaped, redolant of a good peaty whisky.

We decided to smoke for 10 minutes, then cook the fish to complete the dish. Probably the most time consuming element was to find a baking tin and a rack that would fit inside! The trick seems to be to keep the heat very low and for a short time as the fish started to cook. The result was wonderful. A light smoky taste not at all overpowering.

Smoked Fish with Tea
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
A very easy way to add a smoky flavour to fish. You'll need a baking tin - we used the one we'd roast potatoes in; tin foil, a rack. Simply pan fry or grill the fish for a few minutes to complete the dish. Serve with vegetables and a light sauce. The size of the fish portion will depend on your appetite
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: British
Serves: 2
  • One portion of fish per person. Choose a white fish such as mullet, cod, hake
  • 50 gr Any type of ice for strewing in the pan
  • 1 tablespoon of tea - we used lapsang souchong
  1. We covered the bottom of the tin with foil
  2. Add the rice. This stops stops the tea burning. Add the tea evenly on top
  3. Place the fish on a rack that fits into the pan. Cover with foil
  4. Place on a very low gas for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes remove from the heat. The fish will be sufficiently smoked.
  6. Cook the fish for a few minutes in a pan or on the grill. Serve.

Fish Smoked Sous Vide

Our custom made "tea bag" for the sous vide

Our custom made “tea bag” for the sous vide

We then decided to experiment with a second piece of fish. We put two heaped teaspoons of tea into a piece of muslin to mimic a tea bag and vacuum packed it with the fish and cooked it in the sous vide machine.

The flavour was less pronounced, but definitely there.

This is work in progress, but we think we’ll crack it! Probably by layering the tea, then a piece of muslin, then the fish will probably enable the smoky flavour to infuse more.

Sous vide smoked fish
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
We love experimenting with our sous vide. This recipe is work in progress, but is an easy way to impart smoky flavours. You'll need a sous vide machine and a vacuum sealer. The size of fillet depends on your appetite..
Recipe type: Sous vide
Cuisine: British
Serves: 2
  • One portion of fish per person use mullet, cod, hake, haddock
  • Tea- we used Lapsang Souchong
  • Muslin or similar
  1. Pre-heat your sous vide machine to 60C
  2. Place two teaspoons of tea in the muslin and seal with cotton. Make the package as flat as you can
  3. Place the fish in the sous vide bag add the tea in the muslin and seal in the usual way.
  4. Place the package in the sous vide machine and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the tea in the muslin before serving.
  6. Serve with vegetables and a light sauce.

So easy, and so delicious!

Tea Pannacotta

Soaking the gelatin, mixing the liquids together, the tea, infusing the milk

Soaking the gelatin, mixing the liquids together, the tea, infusing the milk

Two further teas from Adagio were close contenders for this, Summer Rose tea and Thai Chai Tea. A very close call, but we plumped for the Thai Chai. The scent of this tea is wonderful.

I needed to find a way to infuse the tea in the milk, and had the brainwave of using a caftière which worked really well. I am sure you could use a sieve. You absolutely must have the leaf gelatin for this recipe. Don’t be tempted to add a lot of sugar, you really do not need it.

This is usually chilled overnight, but you can easily hasten the process with ice blocks. The result is so delicate yet flavoursome – pure indulgence. It was actually very easy to turn out from the ramekins, but you could put a disk of silicon paper in the bottom to make it even easier.

Thai Chai Panna Cotta
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
This is a very easy dessert to make. Choose a well flavoured tea, we chose Thai Chai from Adagio. You do need to use the leaf gelatin which is available in most supermarkets rather than the granular gelatin. If you don't want to wait overnight for it to set, follow our cheat's instructions
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • 250 ml full fat milk
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon of tea, we use Thai Chai from Adagio
  • 6 g leaf gelatin
  • 60 gr caster sugar
  1. Put some water in a small bowl to soak the gelatin. Break the pieces in half or quarters and place in the water to soften a little.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan or microwave until very hot but not boiling.
  3. Place the tea into the bottom of a caftiere and pour on the milk. Let it infuse for 15 minutes before pressing the plunger down. Alternatively, place the tea and milk in a jug and strain after 15 minutes
  4. Place the inflused milk, the cream and the sugar in a saucepan and warm gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Squeeze the leaf gelatin to remove excess water then place into the milk and cream mixture.
  6. Mix until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Take off the heat. The mixture will thicken as it cools
Method one for cooling
  1. Place all the mixture in a bowl and place inside another large bowl where you have placed one or two freezer blocks, add water to the outside bowl. The mixture will cook quite quickly. You'll need to keep an eye on it and when it starts to thicken, pour into 6 ramekin dishes.
  2. Using this method means it will be set within an hour
Method two for cooling
  1. Divide the mixture between 6 ramekin dishes and when cooled place in fridge to set for 8 hours
To unmould
  1. Take a rounded end knife and go round the inside of the glass ramekin, turn upside down and ease out gently.

This is such a delicious dessert, creamy and indulgent.

Adagio Teas can be bought online with free postage over £30 and 10% cashback for repeat purchases.

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More inspiring recipes on Adagio Tea’s Tea Chef site

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About Bread Baker Danielle

Danielle founded Edinburgh Foody in 2010. Having qualified as a professional bread baker in France in 2014, she is now on a new adventure in Gloucestershire. Check out Look out for occasional posts for Edinburgh Foody


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