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