At Chhabra’s Chai our ethos focuses on the importance of taking a break to relax and create the perfect chai. Unsurprisingly, this is a concept inherent within tea drinking more generally, there is no denying that a well infused cuppa is great for unwinding.

More specifically with spiced tea, the health benefits come into play –  from the circulation and reduced inflammation advantages of Ginger, to the digestion and immune system support from Cardamom. Now, drinking tea is not solely a means to chill out but also to create a sense of well-being. A healthy mind is equally as important as a healthy body, so taking time out for mindfulness is absolutely paramount.

We are now dedicated to chatting with interesting individuals with varying hobbies, interests and professions to greater understand their ‘Chai Moment’, in other words what they do to be mindful even when their mind is full!

As such, whilst baking a gourmet pecan pie, we gossiped with Shauna O’Malley, Demi-Chef for the Galvin Company, based in the Old Spitalfields Market, London.

First things first, who’s your celebrity inspiration?

It has always been Heston Blumenthal. I think what he brings to the culinary world is really fascinating. He is really out there and definitely makes his mark on the industry.

 

What’s it like being a chef?

I really love my profession. I’m constantly experimenting with new cooking techniques and ingredients that create interesting flavours and bring depth to my dishes. I have a great team to support me which is so important in this line of work.

It can be a struggle to make time for social occasions which means I don’t get to spend time with my friends and family as much as I would like. Stress can also play its part especially with the pressure I put on myself to create the most wholesome dishes. But it’s ultimately part of the job. I genuinely enjoy the fast pace kitchen environment, but the make or break status is definitely not for everyone. And although things are constantly on the go, I feel it adds to the excitement of the service, there is never a dull moment.

I wouldn’t change my career for the world!

 

That’s amazing but it definitely sounds like things are constantly moving a million miles per hour! How do you wind down after work?

Sleep mainly!  I always love to end service with a late night cup of herbal tea. I’m always on the lookout for new brands and unique fruity blends, especially during the cold weather.

I enjoy therapy baking if that’s a thing! I love just popping some music on and experimenting with sweet and savoury snacks at home, where my toughest critics are my family.

Recently, I’ve been trying to read more. A good book or an educational article takes my mind away from anything work related, without feeling like I’ve wasted hours on social media. Reading helps my mind relax too, when I read before bed I tend to get a better night’s sleep.

 

We actually call a person’s process of unwinding their ‘Chai Moment’. How important are taking these moments for you – especially within your busy working life?

Very important – it’s very easy to become consumed by the bubble of your job and career, so I think taking a break from it all and doing something for you is critical. My hours are varied and long, I could finish at 11PM one evening and back at work again early the next morning. For that reason, I really appreciate using my spare time wisely by engaging in activities that keep be sane, grounded and absent from the pressures of the kitchen.

 

We couldn’t agree more! So why have you got us baking this Pecan Pie today?

Anything sweet is always a winner but the nutty flavour of the Pecan Pie balanced alongside a crisp buttery pasty base, is a perfect match with the Nutmeg and Ginger flavours of Indian chai. I hope you guys like it!

 

We’ve got to ask, how do you like your chai?

That’s easy, I like #mychai very well infused, I add in a fat heaped spoonful of the Original Blend mix for a nice golden colour. It has to be slightly too hot to drink, to really warm me up!

 

So what’s next for you?

Over the past few years I have been working hard to move my way up the ranks. Currently, I am in the process of thinking about my next career path. As a chef I have a great array of possibilities available, I just need to find the perfect one for me.

 

Pecan Pie Recipe

Serving Size – 5

Ingredients

  • 900g of corn syrup
  • 400g of brown sugar
  • 4.6g of salt
  • 4.6g of vanilla extract
  • 227g of butter
  • 800g of liquid eggs
  • 200g of pecan pieces

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Melt butter and corn syrup together and add to mix.
  3. Pour into pre baked shells and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  4. Bake at 130°C for 35 – 40 minutes until the mixture is firm, the mixture will continue to set while cooling

Per serving: 1137 calories, 37g of Fat, trace protein 216g Carbohydrate. 0g dietary fibre, 99mg Cholesterol, 977MG Sodium

 

NOTE: The baked shells are similar to pastry cases and can be store bought. If you would like to have a crack at baking them yourself the recipe is as follows:

 

Ingredients

  • 90g Unsalted butter, softened
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200g flour, plus extra for dusting

 

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Slowly add the egg yolks, stabilising with a little flour.
  3. Once all the yolk has been poured in, add the flour.
  4. Form into a block and chill for 15 minutes.
  5. Roll out into the size of the pastry ring (£1 coin thickness). Chill again.
  6. Lay a few layers of cling film over the ring and fill with baking beans, pulses or rice.
  7. Bake at 160°C until the sides of pastry are set and it is a nice golden colour (25 mins roughly).
  8. Remove the cling film the filling and allow the base to cook until golden and cooked all the way through (10/15 minutes)