A spring mocktail known as “The Peony”

pioenbordSpring has finally sprung and what a joy it is. Basking in the sunshine, watching the world turn into a pastel coloured fairy tale with fragrant blossoms strutting their stuff all over the place. I just love, love, love this time of year. Everything comes back to life and I myself finally wake up from my months long hibernation period. Such joy!  Such delight! The arrival of this merry season calls for celebration. No specific reason necessary, just any celebration will do.

The Netherlands is famous for it’s delicious spring and summer strawberries and they have been showing up at all the local farmers markets lately. Their bright red colour and sweet aroma are irresistable to me so I picked up a carton (or two, three…). I’ve also been spotting some really early peonies, which happen to be one of my favourite flowers. It always amazes me that out of just one tiny bulb within days a flower that is bigger than the palm of my hand emerges and when in season I buy them in bulk to enliven my house with their delicate powdery scent. They are a reminder to me that I too have the potential, just like that tiny bulb, to fully bloom and entice the world around me with my own beauty. I know, spring brings out (the not so talented) poet in me. Just indulge me okay?

Ingredienten The peony 2

As a happy coincidence just a few weeks back I received an email from a friend of mine. Her mother is a talented artist who hand paints beautiful porcelain china. She is moving to a smaller house and wanted me to have some of her work for which she won’t have the space anymore. The rest was auctioned off for a charity called www.worldgranny.nl. I was so moved by this lovely gesture as I haven’t lived in the same country as my own parents for the past 22 years and sometimes really miss being doted on. And here was this lovely lady who I had only met once leaving me an incredible collection of unique one of a kind hand crafted works of art. In my life when it rains it pours….

One of the pieces was a beautiful small plate with peonies which I loved from the moment I set eyes on it. It was the inspiration for this mocktail that has rose hip tea as it’s base. I blender a strong infusion of the tea with some strawberries, lime juice and honey and seal the deal with just a hint of pure morroccan rose water. You won’t believe how reminiscent of peony this cheerful drink smells. You can drink it as is like a morning smoothie or when in an exceptionally girly mood you could serve it in pretty tea glasses to accompany a sunny spring high tea.  For more of a sophisticated version dip a chique cocktail glass in lime sugar, fill the glass about two thirds with the strawberry mixture and top up with chilled sparkling water. To spring!

PS: Please go to www.worldgranny.nl if you want to contribute something for grandparents in Africa who are often left to care for their grandchildren after losing their own children to war or illness.

The peony zijkant met fizzThis drink is suitable for all 3 doshas and especially good for Kapha as a light breakfast in spring and summer. Pitta can substitute maple syrup (use less as it tastes sweeter) for the honey as honey can be too heating. Rose water is especially cooling for Pitta so add a dash more if you like.

The peony theekopje close 2

The peony (for 4-6)

  • 300 ml boiling water
  • 2 organic rose hip tea bags
  • 300 grams strawberries, crowns removed and cut into cubes (raspberries would also work really well in this drink.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • juice of 1 or 2 limes
  •  a couple of drops of pure organic rose water
  • 2 strawberries halved for garnish
  • about 300 ml sparkling water (optional)

Lime sugar

  • finely grated rind of 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoon cane sugar

Put the tea bag in the boiled water. Leave to infuse for an hour or so. Now let the infusion cool down really well. Make the lime sugar by mixing in the lime rind with the cane sugar. Pour the mixture on a small plate.

Now mix all other ingredients (except the strawberries for garnish and the sparkling water) really well in a blender. You could add some ice cubes if you like but make sure you crush them really well in that case.

If going the fancy route wet the rim of your cocktail glasses by rubbing a slice of lime along them. Run the rims of the glasses through the lime sugar on the plate. Now fill each glass about two thirds full with the strawberry mixture and top up with the sparkling water. With a knife make a tiny slit at the bottom of each halved strawberry and position them on the rims of the cocktail glasses. An organic rose petal would also make a pretty garnish.

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