Saturday, October 10, 2015

Earle Swensens x Dilmah Tea Pairing Session

Earle Swensens x Dilmah Tea Pairing Session was hosted by OpenRice SG at the Vivocity outlet of Earle Swensens.

This beauty was a hot water dispenser and it always serves as a teapot warmer!

There was a wide range of tea put on display. And I wish we could've tasted some of these flavours too!

All of them were in luxury leaf bags, better known as the pyramid tea bags.

Besides looking fancypants, these pyramid tea bag shapes allow the tea leaves to completely unfurl in the process of brewing tea. Which allows for one to better taste the tea as compared to when you get the traditional tea bags which may make for a stronger brew and perhaps even a more bitter taste.

We were first brought through a presentation on the background and philosophies of Dilmah and introduced to the basics and essential of tea from growing, to manufacturing and eventually the production of the different types of tea. 

You'd be surprised to see how little most people know about tea. I was glad to learn about the different stages in the production of different teas and how teas like Oolong and Green tea essentially come from the same plant - Camillia Sinensis. How the taste and fragrance of these teas differ would then be dependent on the temperature and surroundings of where this plant is grown and processed. It would also be good to know that the cleanest ceylon teas come from Sri Lanka where the climate and soil conditions are optimal for growth.

I was also very inspired by the work of Mr Merril J Fernando, the founder of Dilmah Tea. The name Dilmah coming from the combined names of this two sons, Dilhan and Mahlik. He has dedicated all of his adult life to tea making and is still actively involved in the business, training the next generation (of his grandchildren). He has a MJF foundation which was established to fulfill his commitment to make his family business a matter of human service. The foundation renders assistance to underprivileged people of Sri Lanka and drives the ethical and sustainable efforts of Dilmah. Every purchase of Dilmah goes towards supporting this foundation so keep calm and drink Dilmah. 

Here at Earle Swensens, they have made an ethically conscious partnership with Dilmah in their tea time promotion. A choice of the Neapolitan Cake Slice or Chips 'n' slaw Sandwich with a cup of coffee or tea from the Dilmah Exceptional tea range costs just $6.90 with service charge and GST. A $3 top-up will get you a salad bowl too! 

At this Tea Pairing Session, we got to try four different varieties of Dilmah tea and both offerings of the tea time promotion.

English Breakfast (Single Origin) and Pure Peppermint (Infusions)

Who would've thought chips made for such a brilliant sandwich filling?
Parmesan topped sandwich breads and a filling of potato chips and their signature coleslaw that greatly lessened the guilt factor.
I thought this went well with the Pure Peppermint but mum thought better of the English Breakfast.

And then we were given the chance to brew our own tea.
As good students, we took out our tea bags after leaving it in the hot water for no more than 3-5 minutes.
And no refilling of hot water allowed!
Because each teabag which contains about 2g of tea should only be used to brew a 200-250ml glass once.

Elegant Earl Grey and Ceylon Green Tea (Exceptional)

The vote was unanimous for this.
Earl Grey would be the choice for ice cream pairings.
Or perhaps we were just too used to Iced Earl Grey concoction over at O Coffee Club :p

Many thanks to Dilmah, Earle Swensens and Openrice for this Tea Pairing Session.
We learnt a lot and savoured our tea time together with the other attendees.

So the next time you're wanting to have an affordable high tea option...
I'll see you over at Earle Swensens! 

*All opinions are the writer's own. :)

Sharksfin melon chicken and big bone soup | 鱼翅瓜鸡肉大骨炖汤

Essentially the same except this time I had fresh dried cuttlefish airflown from Thailand that Daddy brought home. Skipped the red dates and corn. And I bought pork big bone for the first time! :)

I liked this version better. It's still sweet but more on the savoury side :)

Salted vegetable duck soup | 咸菜鸭汤. Charcoal boiled. Souper Saturdays!


  •  1/2 a duck (1 kg), chopped
  •  1 head of kiam chye, about 600g (salted vegetables), cut into large pieces
  •  3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  •  5 thick slices of ginger
  •  Water
  •  A handful of white peppercorns, washed
  •  3 tomatoes, chopped into 8 pieces for each tomato.
  •  1 tsp of light soy sauce

  • Method:

  • 1. Wash and rinse the salted vegetables
  • 2. Clean duck and remove any remaining feather stubs. Remove fat as necessary. 
  • 3. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Blanch the duck to remove any crushed bones and blood trails. Take out the pieces and discard the water.
  • 4. Fill a pot with water. I used about 5 litres of water in a large aluminium pot.
  • 5. Place the salted vegetables, duck, garlic clove, ginger slices, white peppercorn and tomatoes.
  • 6. Cover and boil over the charcoal stove.
  • 7. Add 1 tsp of light soy sauce for added fragrance and a slight tinge of colour.

  • *I added a packet of soya beancurd after the soup was ready. :)
  • *Many recipes call for sour plums but it's fine to leave it out.
  • *I didn't soak my salted vegetables, which I bought from the wet market and the saltiness of the soup was just right for the amount of water I used.
  • *I had the pleasure of using a charcoal stove but this works well on the stovetops and pressure cookers. 

  • From our kitchen to yours,
  • Brenda x

  • Saturday, October 03, 2015

    Jökulsárlón - Glacier Lagoon

    See the sun now bursting through the clouds
    Black and white turn to colour all around

    Credits to a master photographer and friend : Alwyn Loh

    Soon :)