It’s been almost a week now since I fell ill at Ballymaloe literary festival on Friday night – festival-goers hopefully didn’t notice my decidedly below-par sluggishness under a professional veneer of an inch of makeup and a litre of strong sugary tea, as I was there to work and didn’t want to let anyone down by cancelling any events at the last minute, so powered on through and napped in between.
I don’t know what exactly it was that pulled me under, my chief suspect was a delicious sea urchin I’d had for dinner on Friday evening, as I have had difficulties with shellfish before (most notably a piece of regurgitated shrimp sitting in my hair through the duration of my appearance on BBC Question Time…) But six days later with a still-upset stomach, I’m not so sure my sea-urchin-diagnosis is correct. I’ll spare you the gory details.
This morning, frankly bored of being unwell, I decided to make myself something with turmeric in, to try to rebalance my digestive system and settle my tummy and get everything back to normal. It’s mostly better, but caffeine, alcohol, acid and spice set it back off to gurgling and burbling and cramping and rather like my mums IBS, actually. And in my line of work that’s deeply unhelpful. I could shrug off caffeine and booze – reluctantly – but without lemon or vinegar or chilli or pepper or paprika, well, I think I’ve knocked 99% of my recipes out right there. Not a happy thought.
So, here’s my Tummy Tea. It’s not a miracle cure but having spent the last six days on a cocktail of ibuprofen and imodium and rennies (and then halting the ibuprofen because it buggers up your stomach lining and I didn’t want to make myself worse), this is a very pleasant change. Ginger is known for relieving nausea, hence the ubiquitous packet of ginger snap biscuits found in the handbags of most pregnant women, and turmeric has wondrous anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. I added the honey to sweeten, but you can replace with any sweetener of your choice.
Makes 2 cups at 3p each
1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1p (Natco turmeric 75p/100g, Sainsburys)
2 slices (5g) of fresh ginger root, 2p (40p/100g, Sainsburys)
1 tsp honey, 3p (Basics honey, £1/340g)
500ml boiling water
First boil your water and find a nice jug, if you have one, or your largest mug if not.
Slice your ginger and toss it in, and add the turmeric and honey.
Pour over the boiling water and stir well. Leave to stand for five minutes to cool, then pour and enjoy.