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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tea Documentaries on DVD

Here is my meager collection of tea documentaries. The Renaissance of Tea is a 49-minute film by Teance featuring Norwood Pratt and filmed on location in China, Taiwan, and the U.S. Explore the World of Tea is a 20-minute promotional film by The Charleston Tea Plantation and a great way to vicariously visit the tea gardens there if you can't make it in person. All In This Tea is 70-minutes of pure enjoyment as we follow David Lee Hoffman to remote regions of China in search of the world's finest teas. It is the winner of the Amsterdam International Documentary Festival (2006); the Berlin, Sydney, Denver, Hawaii and San Francisco International Film Festivals (2007); and the 2007 Copenhagen and Montreal International Documentary Film Festivals. The Meaning of Tea - winner of the 2008 Garden State Film Festival; Renderyard Film Festival London; Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival Houston; South Africa International Film Festival; and Wisconsin Film Festival and previously reviewed on this blog - is an extraordinary 74-minute journey through India, Japan, Taiwan, Morocco, England, France, Ireland and Tea, South Dakota searching out the meaning of tea. There are an additional 45-minutes of Special Features included on this DVD. And finally, we have the History Channel's Modern Marvels 50-minute documentary on Tea.

Are there others out there that you recommend?

Matcha Marbled Tea Cake

The lovely photograph above (and recipe below)
courtesy of Sabra from Cookbook Catchall


1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1.5 teaspoons matcha powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Butter a loaf pan. Line with a piece of parchment paper that covers bottom and long sides (leave some poking up from the pan to facilitate lifting the loaf out later). Butter the parchment paper.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with sour cream. Add vanilla, and mix 1 minute.

4. Portion out 1/3 of the batter into a small bowl. Mix in matcha powder, stirring well to combine.

5. Spread one-third of the plain batter into prepared pan. Use a small offset spatula to ensure an even, flat layer. Dollop with 1/3 of matcha batter and use a spatula to gently spread the matcha layer on the top of the other. Spread another third of the plain batter on top, followed by another third of the matcha batter. Repeat one more time so that the final layer is the rest of the matcha batter. Run a thin knife through batter to marbleize. Run spatula over top to ensure the batter is flat in the end.

6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire cooking rack for a few minutes. Lift cake out by the parchment handles and allow to cool completely on rack.

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