Life is full of surprises. Take me for example, I'm not as young as I look. And that's all down to the restorative elixir made from Nature's wonder: turmeric. Yes, that's right, for only a few pence a day, you too can look and feel like me. And you will have the guaranteed extra benefit of living forever.*
Try as I might these days to shop and eat food from sources I know and trust, it's not always possible if I want to continue with the occasional exoticism. We have been trading spices for years as a nation (not always necessarily in a morally legitimate way) so I accept that my cupboards are full of fragrant wonders of the world I thoughtlessly spice up our meals with.
The turmeric in this drink came from Peru and I have no idea of what the lives of the farmers and workers is like. The almond milk supposedly came from organic small growers and co-operatives, but we all know that a lot of almond farming is on environmentally shaky ground and the cost of growing is huge.
The pepper came from Telicherry, Kerala, meant to be the finest pepper in the world. As I stir it into the drink, savouring its fruity aroma, what's the picker doing after a day's work? And the saffron, cardamon and coconut oil that goes into it too? Could I not just be happy with a fresh mint tea, made from the herbs growing in my garden? But then I think if there was no demand for all of this, there would be no point in growing it and no economic benefit. Is a pathetic wage really an economic benefit at all?
I love this drink though. It's comforting, healthy, tasty and nourishing. But as with everything we ravishingly consume it's worth stopping to think a little about where it comes from and the people who have been involved in its journey. From the earth to the farmers who grew it; the pickers and packers; the delivery drivers who collect and transport it; the shipyard workers and the ship's crew; the distribution workers here and the people you hand your money over to before you bring it home. All for a moment's pleasure and the guarantee of eternal life.**
*not a guaranteed benefit.
**not a guarantee.
I make a paste from about five tablespoons of turmeric powder (dried is best for this, it is more concentrated so you get more of the curcumin) and add a fair amount of water until it's the texture of houmous.
This is all done in a small pan on a gentle heat, so when I add a tablespoon of coconut oil, it melts easily in and is quickly absorbed.
A good twist of pepper, some ground cardamon (about a teaspoon's-worth), a pinch of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper and sometimes a touch of ground cloves go in.
Finally, a pinch of saffron if I'm feeling the urge, maybe some ground ginger or cinnamon and then I transfer it to a glass jar, kept in the fridge to use over the course of the week.
To make it up, put a heaped tablespoon of the paste in a small milk pan and top up with a tumbler-full of almond milk. You can, if you prefer use cow's milk, coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk, whatever.
Stir well and serve warm.