Turmeric latte. And a lot of people.

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.

Fruit smoothie

IMG_5395About an hour after I've had my jasmine tea in the morning,  I'm ready for breakfast, which almost every morning is a Nutribullet smoothie.Usually I will start with a base of kale or other greens then add a little fruit or avocado, some coyo yoghurt, and top it up with almond milk and various ground things from mysterious containers. (Actually, they're all labelled, so there's no real mystery).This morning though, I was distracted. No hemp seeds, no flax seed, no greens. Mainly berries. And that's fine every now and then. It was much like a fruit ice-cream milkshake, and that's a pretty good way to start any day.Fortunately I have a few boxes of Bioglan superfood powders on the shelf. A tablespoon of the supergreens one went in. A quick fix. I can steam the greens later with some garlic, chilli and ginger and have them with lunch.Ingredients for two1 large or two small bananasA large handful of frozen berries (I used a mix of raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants)1tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter (amazing stuff- goes great with bananas)1tbsp Bioglan supergreens powder, we got ours on Ocado (if you don't have this, I would recommend it. Along with hemp powder, flax seed, chia seeds and all those things you can get in the health food shop and many supermarkets now)1tsp raw cocoa nibs1tsp turmeric (fresh preferably, but I only had extract and powdered on my shelf)Almond milk, fill up to the line, otherwise enough for two glasses (unsweetened and preferably with a high almond content)MethodBlend it all together until smooth. Couldn't be simpler. If you don't have a Nutribullet, a normal blender should do the job.

Porridge with iced fruit, turmeric, spirulina and coconut nectar

porridgeIt’s just gone seven o’clock in the morning, a rainy and grey London summer morning. I have to take the children to school and nursery soon and then drive to a shoot in Camden.So, before I start the day, it’s time for a few moments to myself.A cup of green chai tea and a bowl of porridge makes the move from the warm comfortable bed to daytime a pleasure, especially when you jazz it up a little.This time, I’ve added frozen fruit. Get a heavy bottomed saucepan, pour in a load of sprouted porridge oats and add double the volume of almond milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 4-5 minutes, stirring all the time. When the milk is absorbed, add a handful of frozen fruit, some turmeric and spirulina then drizzle with coconut nectar. If that doesn’t get your day off to a good start then there’s no hope for you.