Well the fresh turmeric arrived, on Wednesday morning, and it lasted me a whole three days. 100g, it seems, does not stretch to that many teapots. A larger batch is on order (1kg), but it probably won’t reach me until the middle of this week. How will I cope? Because my homemade turmeric & ginger tea is my new favourite drink. It’s so good, I have no choice but to share the recipe, because it’s full of goodness and will fill your gut with infection-fighting superheroes all day long. What’s more, it’s quite trippy and mellow, and I’ve been feeling as calm as a cat all week. Try a cup before bedtime, to send you off into a gorgeous, fluffy sleep.
Turmeric & ginger tea (enough for 400ml – small teapot):
A bunch of fresh turmeric root
Piece of fresh ginger
Handful of whole black peppercorns
Squirt of pure lemon juice or honey to sweeten
1. Roughly chop the turmeric and ginger – no need to peel if you’re using a cafetiere as the plunger will keep all the bits down when you pour. I don’t weigh or measure anything, just throw in a few bits of each, depending how ‘gingery’ you like your tea. Both ginger and turmeric are excellent anti-inflammatories but turmeric is the real magic ingredient so lean more heavily on this. Ginger is quite fibrous to cut so try and cut ‘with the grain’.
2. Squeeze in some honey to sweeten – I like the squeezy bottles, they’re so much easier to use ans store. Again, I don’t measure, I just experiment with what works for me. If you’re on the AIP Elimination diet, you’ll have to use lemon juice for now and only use honey when you know it’s not a trigger. *At the time of writing I am off honey, obviously.
3. Add a handful of whole black peppercorns (peppercorns contain piperine which can increase nutrient absorption by up to 2000%)
4. Fill pot with boiling water, stir, and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.
5. Plunge, pour and enjoy! Don’t forget to lift the plunger between cups so the rest of the tea can continue steeping properly. Also, I find that even after I finish the pot, the mix is still strong enough to take another load of water, so reboil the kettle!
It’s the simplest recipe around, no faffing with blenders, juicers, anything else, and it’s as pure a drink as you’re going to find anywhere. You can obviously adapt this recipe to suit your own taste – I use the ginger because I just love ginger, but you can play around with other spices. Some of you might prefer honey to lemon juice, but as I’m still on the elimination diet, honey is off limits. The most important thing is that you use fresh turmeric root, and fresh ginger. Nothing else will do. I buy my turmeric online from Spices of India (UK only) for around £6 per kg (p&p around £3 extra), which should last me around a month. If you can’t be bothered with the turmeric search, just the ginger & peppercorn on its own is delicious and very good for your digestive system. Make a pot after dinner, and you won’t get that horrible bloated feeling that usually comes with overindulgence…
WARNING: Turmeric stains everything it comes into contact with, and I mean everything. When I prepare this tea, I lay the turmeric root onto some kitchen paper and use a corner of it to cover my ‘holding finger’ as I slice with the other hand. I try not to touch it with my skin at all, and is another reason why I don’t peel it. It’s also best to keep a separate mug and teapot/infuser that’s purely for your turmeric tea because it will stain those, too, even glass ones!
Back in the kitchen
It’s been a week of experimentation all round, really. After I’d finished all the soup in my freezer, it was time to get cooking again. Thankfully, last week also marked the arrival of another meat box from Athleat. This time, I plumped for the usual massive chicken fillets, plus extra helpings of their gorgeous meatballs, then some buffalo mince and some chicken mince, the latter of which I’d never used before. They also threw in a free steak, which was very nice of them.
After two blissful nights of Salt & Pepper Chicken with Steamed Broccoli, Carrots and Tomato-Free Marinara Sauce, I then set about making a huge soup in my new favourite item of kitchen equipment – the stock pot. I call it BOSCCO Soup (Butternut squash, Onion, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Coconut cream, Olive oil), and I made so much of it, I ran out of soup bags. There’s something weirdly satisfying about standing over a stove stirring a massive pan of soup – I use it as thinking time for when I’m stuck on a script – and this time I was able to use homemade vegetable stock I’d rustled up a fortnight ago and frozen. Most of the soup I poured into bags, the rest I set aside in small containers to freeze and use, ad hoc, as a ready-made sauce. Soup-Sauce, Sauce-Soup, I’ve never really known what the difference is, to be honest. It’s all liquid flavour, right?
And as if that wasn’t adventurous enough (remember, I didn’t even know what a stock pot was 7 weeks ago…), I then made some meatballs from the chicken mince, chucking it into a bowl of chopped onions, grated fresh ginger, minced garlic, black pepper and pink salt, then oven-cooking with a light brushing of olive oil for 40 minutes @ 190C until golden brown. Three of them I had for tea (with my Soup Sauce/Sauce Soup and some steamed veg), and the other four I had cold for my lunch yesterday as I sat with Shaz in the King Charles to watch us batter Man City.
Thankfully, other stuff has been going all right, too. Lesions are receding, and I’m sleeping much better (turmeric tea, I’m telling you…). Last Tuesday I even managed to survive two hours in a pub, surrounded by free food and drink, and not break into a cold sweat. OK, so I did twitch a few times, but the point is I made it through. It was the book launch for Dino Costi’s debut novel, Venus Lionheart: The Witch & The God, held at Ma Egerton’s in town. Now, everyone knows that I am partial to a shandy or two, even when I’m paying. So to sit there mere feet away from a table full of free bottles and cocktails, and then have Ma’s delightful hostesses swan by every ten seconds with trays of mozzarella sticks, pizza slices, cute little cheese and onion tarts and a whole host of other sinful goodness, was almost unbearable. But I was strong, I did not break! But I did only last two hours before I had to flee into the cold, windy night to canter back to the relative safety of my draughty garret and console myself with half a Galia melon, a punnet of blueberries and a glass of guava coconut water. Healthy goodness? Yes. As good as some meltilicious, velvety cheesiness washed down with a refreshing ice cold beer? Sadly not.
So the temptations are still there, everywhere I look, but learning to say no is very empowering, even if most of my dreams are plagued by giant cheese toasties chasing me down the street. The
torture elimination phase ends a week on Friday. Bloody hell, a week on Friday!! I can then start reintroducing one food a week (in stages, not binges…), starting Saturday 14th March. On that day, at 9am, precisely, I shall pour myself a single shot of Smirnoff Black Label, and do the same at 2pm and 7pm, then again at midnight – four shots of alcohol, no fuss, no fanfare, just a nice little liquid fire burning my throat in anticipation of a return to some kind of normality. The end is in sight and, as long as things keep calming down, it might even have been worth it.
Oh, and this week’s super-good news…. Size 12 jeans, hello! It’s been a while, old friend…
Week 7 (of 8 and a bit)
Average daily calorie intake: 996
Energy level: 9/10
HS severity: 4.5/10
Weight loss: 1lb (back on the meat again….)
Total weight loss (49 days): 15lbs