As the Autumn days grow colder and shorter, we all begin to suffer from colds and winter aches.  Two cinnamon lovers have suggested wonderful healing remedies; one magic, the other medicinal.


Isabella de Carvalho offers her Magical Healing Chai recipe, which makes two cups:


1/2 stick of fresh Saigon cinnamon

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced

4 whole cloves

4 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed

1/2 a fresh pod of fresh vanilla

5 whole black peppercorns

1 star anise




Place ½ pint (300ml) of fresh cold water in a saucepan with all the spices and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.  Add milk (dairy/almond/rice/nut/soya etc) and a sweetener (date syrup/brown sugar/honey etc) and let the mixture simmer for another 3 minutes.  Then serve.


Actually we made the chai without milk or any sweetener and found it really delicious and heart-warming.  The sweet cinnamon, ginger and vanilla is offset by the other spices (we used a strong Indonesian long pepper catkin from Peppermongers) and makes an almost beefy mix, like a bullshot.


Martin Thompson offers a less exotic but equally effective Hot Cinnamon Toddy, for one person:


1 stick of fresh Ceylon cinnamon

Whiskey to taste

Lemsip or other cold/flu medication

Honey to taste

Lemon juice - a few drops

Boiling water


“Stir well with the cinnamon stick and take to bed when retiring.  Sleep well and feel much better in the morning,” he says confidently.