Category Drinks

Matcha Latte Afagatto


remember the first time I had a hand warming bowl of fresh matcha tea. I was on an energy high for the entire day! As someone who doesn’t drink caffeinated coffee its a great alternative energy kick full of caffeine and packed full of antioxidants. I realise that unlike me many won’t have the same apprecaitetion for the bitter flavours of green tea or my favourite 90% dark chocolate. However if you can appreciate the flavour, health benefits and vivid colour of matcha tea then forget your Starbucks ”skinny-soy-hold the cream- add the sweetener and cinnamon sprinkle grande latte (with – correctly written name)…breathe….and get to your local health food shop or teapigs supplier and go make your own! That said, more and more independent cafes are offering this healthy alternative so it is far more accessible for an easy take out than it used to be. It can be made using sweetened milk such as sweetened almond (my personal favourite) of hazelnut to just take off that bitter edge.

For those still curious, matcha tea is essentially organic green tea leaves that have been ground to a fine powder and concentrated into this vibrant ‘gold’ dust. As I say, I like to use a sweeter milk but after a recent lightbulb moment of inspiration I wondered if the after dinner coffee and chocolate pairing could be ‘matched’ (excuse the pun) with an alternative? So, I thought, why not pair super sweet white chocolate with this bitter green and warming tea topped with some camp rose petals?

Think of it as an alternative coffee-free afagatto for your more hipster dinner party guests.

The body is a temple. But only once a month….


Jess - Matcha Latte Afagatto#3

Jess - Matcha Latte Afagatto#4

NOTE: To get the aerated effect, the best thing to use here if you don’t have a green tea whisk is a milk frother (see here). You can also use a hand blender.


hilst I always use unsweetened versions of dairy free milks such as almond and soy, I find the sweetened ones work better here as an alternative to adding maple syrup or honey. However feel free to use the unsweetened versions, especially for the afagatto where the bitterness is a lovely contrast to the sweet ice cream.

Matcha latte for 1 

  • 1/2 tsp match tea powder
  • 200ml milk of choice (almond, coconut, dairy, rice milk, hazelnut etc)
  1. Sieve the powder into a mug so its doesn’t end up lumpy
  2. Warm the milk in a pan until just coming to the simmer and then remove from the heat
  3. Using a whisk or frother add a few tablespoons of the hot milk to the powder and whisk well to combine.
  4. Once combined add the rest of the milk and use the whisk or frother to aerate.

Jess - Matcha Latte Afagatto#6

Matcha Afagatto for 4

  • 400ml (sweetened) almond milk (or soya, dairy, coconut, hazelnut….)
  • 2 tsp matcha tea powder
  • 4 scoops white chocolate ice cream
  • Optional – 2 tsp rose petals
  1. Make the matcha latte as above.
  2. Spoon the ice cream into small deep bowls
  3. Pour over the hot tea and top with rose petals


Jess - Matcha Latte Afagatto

Cool as a Wardlaw…

If you’ve ever been on an activity watersports holiday you’ll know that you usually return home needing a rest with an aching body equivalent to a bed bound OAP. A week in sunny Greece wakeboarding by day and re-hydrating on cocktails by night with bowlfuls of Greek salads and hog roasts set me up for some inspiration on my return home. Sadly the limes don’t grow fresh from the trees in London so Waitrose will have to do.

After and intense day on the water followed by an ‘Ab attack’ class this refreshing, healthy and downright delicious drink was the perfect way to cool our angry abs. Post workout it started as this innocent cucumber, mint and crushed ice drink….


But once showered and the clock hit 6pm it even more deliciously turned into this….a gin laced version we got the barman to ‘knock up’. I like to call it the ‘Cool as a Wardlaw’.


Serves 2 (ish)

  • 1 small cucumber
  • Large bunch mint
  • 2 shots (Innocent) apple juice
  • 1-2 shots fresh lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Optional – 2 shots gin and cucumber to garnish
  1. Mix in a blender until combined. Add more ice or any other ingredient to taste and balance. I only watched in awe from behind the bar as this was made so measurements were by eye and were to taste. It tasted different each time, more savoury post-workout, sweeter and punchy with lime as an evening tipple. Experiment!

Use Innocent apple juice. Not only as my loving sister happens to work for Innocent but it is delicious and conveniently on tap for me. Plus, the halo seems to reassure you that gin is a good addition, yes a good addition……?!


The Blood Orange ‘Gin’-ger






Today the sun was shining contently so I took the opportunity to make the most of my lunch hour and wonder (as I now do familiarly and regularly) around the buzzing streets of Nottinghill and Portobello Road. I love this street and I have huge appreciation for it. Stalls boasting crumpled and soft leather bags, waterfalls of scarfs draped like the limbs of a weaping willow from shop fronts and humble freshly prepared street food. But my favourite sellers are by far the fruit and vegetable stalls. They’re packed and bursting with ripe delights that spill out onto the road as if they too are eager to escape and explore, some not so successfully as tomato seeds and orange pith splatter the tarmac and imprinted into someones car tread.The prices are cheap and the produce is infinitely better quality than the local supermarket. Hands down the biggest and best avocados in town can be found here.

However, on my lunch break today my greedy eyes caught sight of a proudly glowing basket of blood oranges with a cheeky ‘4 for £1’ written confidently in bold. I don’t know what it is about that sign but it undoubtedly screams ‘bargain’! Even if advertising old teeth it would still seems a steal am I wrong? With a brown paper bag of these juicy golf balls and some blushingly pink leggy rhubarb that I just couldn’t leave alone I returned to work and to a state of recipe planning turmoil in my mind….

With Easter Sunday approaching, guests to cook for and plans for a pre-lunch cocktail I decided on using them to accompany a chilled glass of gin, lime and ginger. I needed it too after a sticky commute home knocking out many poor souls with the ends of my lanky giant rhubarb. I made up this recipe adding what I felt it needed and ingredients I liked but feel free to experiment too and add more or less of anything you like to adjust to taste. I image this would also be devine with ginger beer thrown in there somewhere!

The Blood Orange ‘Gin’-ger

Serves 1

  • 1oz good London Gin
  • 2oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • ½ small lime
  • Small knob root ginger
  • Salt
  1. Squeeze the juice from your oranges and add to a tall chilled tumbler with the gin.
  2. Squeeze in as much lime juice to taste just to add a sharp sour hum and a pinch of sugar if it all tastes a little bitter.
  3. Now you can either mash the ginger and muddle in and then strain, infuse with a few slices or finely chop some ginger matchstick and add to the glass.
  4. Coat the rim of your glass with lime juice and dip in a VERY light coating of salt. Fill the glass with your cocktail and sip happily in the sunshine!



Double Happiness

Summer seems to have arrived! Perhaps its temporary but with no more exams and job hunting understandably postponed I’ve been making the most of some refreshing cocktails. This one is aptly named ‘Double Happiness’ enjoyed with the first seasons pickings of my dad’s home-grown asparagus.

Serves 4-6 (Adapted from ‘Vogue- Entertaining and Travel’)

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 20 lychees (I used canned ones)
  • 4 mandarins/2 oranges, peeled and chopped
  • 125ml lemon juice
  • Vodka or gin
  • Crushed ice to serve
  1. Mix the sugar and the water to dissolve.
  2. Add the lychees and the orange pieces and leave to cool.
  3. Once cooled, add the lemon juice and a splash of the lychee syrup if you like. Crush the fruits lightly to release some of their flavour.
  4. The original recipe called for this to be divided into 6 and mixed with 60ml of alcohol to each serving….However I did it to taste and added 30ml of gin/vodka to roughly equal parts juice. Add crushed ice and serve in the sun!



Almond Milk



I’m not a religious soya milk/nut milk drinker but I prefer it on my granola or porridge etc. However, with its aura as a ‘healthy’ ingredient I was horrified to realise that your generic ‘Alpro Soya’ is sweetened and full of, not only sugar, but other additives too. Even the unsweetened version has a lengthy list of ingredients. Whats natural about that? Normal milk does get a beating from health freaks but at least there is no ingredients list on the label. Its like a lot of vegan and vegetarian food in that they get a reputation for being ‘healthier’. Sure tofu may have less fat than a sirloin steak, but its made with unnatural ingredients that won’t provide you with any health benefits unlike a steak.

So long story short, I thought I’d have a go at making my own nut milk which it turns out is painfully easy. This is a fantastic alternative to milk for your vegan buddies and takes two simple natural ingredients.

  • 200g whole almonds
  • 650ml cold water

1. Soak the almonds in the water overnight.

2. The next morning drain and add to a food processor. Coarsely chop with a pinch of salt and then add another 650ml of cold water, splash by splash until creamy.

3. Once all the water is added, blend until combined

4. Pour into a bowl lined with some muslin cloth and strain the ‘milk’ from the solid almond pulp. Bring the sides of the cloth up and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.


image5. Add half a cinnamon stick if you like and then leave to infuse and chill in the fridge.

6. Store in a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

Note: I dried out the pulp almonds a little and used them in a cake as a ground almond/flour alternative. It was fairly successful but it added a huge amount of moisture. So I suggest really wringing out the pulp in the  muslin or drying them a little before use.


Elderflower and Cucumber Collins

So it turns out I do like gin! This recipe will now be a reminder of finishing my finals and the end of uni. Its such an easy cocktail to quaff while relaxing in the sun as its so refreshing!

  • 40ml gin
  • 25ml elderflower cordial (or St. Germian elderflower liqueur if you have it)
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • Handful of diced cucumber
  • A few mint leaves
  • Soda water
  • Coarsely crushed ice
  1. Gently crush some diced cucumber and mint leaves to together to release their flavours.
  2. Add the gin, elderflower and lemon to a tall ‘tumblr’ (see what I did there) and top up with soda water to taste. Add some coarsely crushed ice and enjoy.