Friday 6 February 2009


Milk Tea Jelly: a low-carb dessert that is delicate and refreshing
I have had Karen Barnaby's cookbook, The Low-Carb Gourmet for quite a while. In the past, when I've low-carbed my way out of a few pounds, I have sought out her recipes because they're actually delicious-sounding as well as actually delicious. Barnaby is a local chef in Vancouver (she's executive chef at The Fish House in Stanley Park). She has published other cookbooks (that aren't low-carb) and she is active in a low-carb forum as she's an expert in making restaurant-worthy gourmet food for low-carbers. When you make one of her low-carb recipes, you don't actually feel as if you're on a diet. She indicates in the introduction to The Low-Carb Gourmet that she herself had lost 70 pounds and improved her blood pressure and cholesterol levels eating this way.

Barnaby is a fantastic wealth of information and she's a nice lady too. I met her a while back and the copy I purchased is signed by her too. There's nothing better than eating well and not feeling deprived. You certainly feel pampered making some of her gourmet dishes. I haven't been disappointed by any of the recipes yet. I highly recommend her book if you're a foodie trying to eat more healthy low-carb meals. If you want to check out all her low carb recipes, you can find them here. As you can see, she's shared many of the recipes from the 250 that are in her cookbook.

Some of the recipes that I particularly enjoyed were the "Deep-dish Pizza Quiche", "Salmon with Bacon, Tomato and Caper Vinaigrette", "Clams Steamed with Bacon, Green Olives, and Tomatoes", "Stir-fried Prawns with Tomato Coconut Cream","My Brownies", "New York Cheesecake" "Cream Cheese, Coconut and lemon mounds" and "Stained Glass Window Cake".

I was at Kin's Market today and purchased eggplants so I can make her Spicy Roasted and Mashed Eggplant (bharta) this weekend. I also intend to try the Cauli-flied rice and Scalloped Savoy Cabbage. My favourite section to read is her Little Nibbles and Dips section because I'm a grazer and having pre-made low-carb snacks in the fridge is so helpful so I don't reach out for chips or sugar-laced foods.

For this post, I used Barnaby's Coffee Jelly recipe and adapted it to my tastes. I'm a tea-drinker so I used really supersonic dark tea. In those HK cafes around town, they use orange pekoe tea bags and boil the heck out of it, creating this almost thick, dark amber liquid that is so strong it rivals black coffee. It comes with the milk (I suspect powdered creamer or canned evaporated milk) mixed into it already and all you do is add sugar to your liking. To make my Milk Tea Jelly I used Red Rose orange pekoe tea bags (4 in total) and steeped them in the hot water, squeezing the bags out until they rendered all they tannin-laced juices. I like my jelly stiffer than usual so I increased the gelatine a bit too. Using Splenda adds a slight sweetness to the jelly. I made one little custard cup full of the plain jelly without the cream and when it was set, cubed it to sprinkle on the Milk Tea Jelly.

The Milk Tea Jelly was so refreshing. It was light-tasting and would make a lovely dessert even if you weren't low-carbing.

*****update February 8, 2009******

Well, just 'cause Evelyn asked, here's my recipe--an adaptation of the recipe Barnaby created using coffee. I prefer tea of course. I believe any tea will do, but to be authentic Hong Kong Cafe Milk Tea, it's got to be Orange Pekoe tea bags. Red Rose brand is far superior in flavour and for some reason, I heard it's only available in Canada :P

Milk Tea Jelly

3-4 Tbsp. water [or enough to soften the gelatin]
4 tsp. gelatin
2 cups water
1/4 cup Splenda
4 orange pekoe tea bags (preferably Red Rose brand)
1/2 cup whipping cream
optional whipped cream for garnishing
  1. Place the 3 Tbsp. water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Let stand until the gelatin softens.
  2. Heat 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Heat the water until boiling and turn off the heat. Add the 4 tea bags and allow to steep until extremely dark (from 5-10 minutes). Press the bags with the back of a spoon. Remove tea bags and discard.
  3. Add soaked gelatin and stir until it dissolves. Add the Splenda to the tea mixture. Stir well.
  4. Measure out 3/4 cup of the tea mixture into a small bowl. Add the cream to the remaining mixture. Stir well and pour into 4 small dessert dishes. Place both mixtures into the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.
  5. Remove the plain jelly from the bowl and cut into 1/2-inch cubes and pile onto the jelly in the dishes. Garnish with more whipped cream if you like and a coffee bean or two.
    Total Carbohydrates: 8.17
    Carbohydrates per Serving: 2.04


Anonymous said...

OH I love Milk/Tea. and Jelly, I like all jellies esp coffee! have you tried coffee jelly yet?

Oh my goodness this looks so delightful!

I am not sure what Splenda is though = )

Anonymous said...

I love "The Fish House Restaurant" a must go to if anyones goes to Vancouver. This recipe sounds interesting. I know you said it tastes great. I'm just not sure about a coffee or tea jelly. I guess there's only one way to find out. I'll have to make it :)

Cakebrain said...

Girl Japan,
Yes, I have tried coffee jelly. It's just as yummy as Milk Tea!
Splenda is a low-carb/low-calorie sweetener that is approved by the food and drug administration in Canada and the U.S. It is
the name-brand of sucralose, which is made from sugar but passes through your system

Yes, I agree, The Fish House is excellent and chef Barnaby is just as adept at creating recipes that taste fantastic even though they're low in carbs.
I can't believe you haven't tried Milk Tea yet? and you live in Vancouver? the drinks are ubiquitous in the Asian community and all restaurants! Bubble Tea comes with Milk Tea in it as do most meals in Hong Kong Cafes. Try Cafe Gloucester on Cambie...or Copa Cafe on Cambie. When you eat before 5:00pm, you get a "free" drink with your mini meal! You can order hot milk tea or cold milk tea.

Mallory Elise said...

tea? into jelly? brilliant! why havn't i ever thought of doing that--i'm tea obsessive!!

evelyn said...


this is intriguing.

could i trouble you to post your recipe?


Cakebrain said...

Mallory Elise,
I'm a huge tea drinker too...generally matcha or genmai cha. I don't stick my nose up at Red Rose tea bags either! However, I'm not into fruit "teas" or rooibos because heck, they're not really teas but infusions! ick.
Well, since you asked, I suppose I'll give it a shot ;)

Julia said...

I have never heard of coffee or tea jelly, but it sounds lovely. I linked to the coffee jelly recipe...looks like a must try. Thanks for the great pictures of your finished product!

Justine said...

ooh this sounds great! i love anything with tea and I can't wait to try this! also speaking of sounding great, I like the miles davis that's playing on your playlist. oh my gosh: and as i write, tous les garcon et les filles?! amazing.

Cakebrain said...

I wouldn't have thought of it myself...but it's actually yummy!
I love anything jazzy. Miles Davis is my favourite for just relaxing and French jazz is just so cool!

Anonymous said...

I read that you're not into rooibos tea, but in South Africa I had a rooibos tea and red pepper jelly that was out of this world. I wonder if you're recipe could be used to make this?! I know that the jelly I had was more like a spreadable jam, and included apple jelly as a stabiliser.... I'm going to give it a try and see what happens! Thanks for the inspiration!

Cakebrain said...

yah, I'm not so into rooibos, but if you love it, who cares what I think of it? Make it into a jelly! to each his own!:)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmm! Looks good to me! My mom's doing the low-carb thing right now... I bet I couldn't get her to try this =/

Tammie said...

Amazing! I'm making it today for my friends.


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