Turmeric milk

Golden milk or turmeric milk is hands-down a cure for everything (well, almost). Feeling a bit down in the dumps and life just doesn’t seem that perky? Have a warming mug of yellow milk. I swear it lifts your mood. Maybe it’s simply a case of the lusciously rich, almost psychedelic yellowness that makes you feel just that little bit better. During the past year I’ve been having on-and-off arm/wrist pains caused by tendonitis and a combination of other typing-related injuries, so I’ve been upping my anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory food intake. And I think it helps. Turmeric is one of those God-send ingredients that is said to help with all sorts of ailments, arthritis and joint pain to name just two. You can go too far with it in dishes though, putting too much in when chunks of it just seem to wangle their way out of the spice jar, so tread lightly I say.

This is my new winter concoction for before bedtime. It’s easy and takes about the same amount of time to make as boiling the kettle and brewing a tea, and makes you well sleepy.

Turmeric Milk

Makes 1 mug

1 mugful of almond milk (or soy milk is rather tasty too)

scant 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

large pinch ground cinnamon

pinch sea salt flakes

manuka or rewarewa honey, to taste

Heat the milk, turmeric, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until tiny bubbles appear. (Don’t let the milk boil, otherwise it will form a nasty skin.) Take off the heat, add the honey and drink up.

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Cauliflower soup with caramelised butter

Cauliflower has become such an on-trend ingredient it makes me wonder how long its popularity streak will last. I think it will eventually die down (perhaps it has already) but there are a few devout cauliflower fans out there. My mum was one, having always preferred it on the overcooked side; most-often simply steamed with Thai chilli dipping sauce or in a stir-fry of noodles laden with soy sauce. I have always been a bit ‘meh’ about the veg myself, being a bit prone to the side effects of crop dusting (who isn’t when it comes to cauli?!). But then I had it roasted with loads of spices and tossed with savoury, zingy herbs like tarragon and parsley … and there was no turning back.

This soup is pretty much a throw-it-in-the-pot dinners, and it does help to already have a jar of pre-made dukkah already lurking in your storecupboard. When I was in the coromandel in summer I went a bit mad and bought a lot of macadamia products (my favourite nut and also very commonly grown in the area). One of said delights was a bag of macadamia dukkah. Oh it’s just so good. And because dukkah doesn’t last forever, I had to generously sprinkle this soup with all that and then some. (Oh, and apparently the addition of a little turmeric in this soup will help with the smelly side effects mentioned earlier.)

Cauliflower soup with caramelised butter

Serves 2

1/2 head medium cauliflower, broken into small florets

knob of butter

1 teaspoon dukkah, plus extra to serve

large pinch ground turmeric

350–450ml unsweetened almond milk

pinch coconut sugar or brown sugar

lemon juice, for squeezing

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the caramelised butter

40g unsalted butter

First, get your butter caramelising. Heat the butter in a small pan over the lowest heat. The whey will begin to separate. Cook until the white solids start to turn golden brown, shaking the pan from side to side every now and then. It should take 10–15 minutes but keep your eye on the butter otherwise it might burn.

Meanwhile, make the soup. Melt the butter in a pan until foaming. Add the cauliflower pieces and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the dukkah and turmeric and let it fry for another 2 minutes over medium heat.

Pour in the almond milk to cover the cauliflower, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is nice and tender. Use a hand-held stick blender to blitz the soup until smooth (or if you like it chunky, then chunky). Add the sugar and season to taste, adding a bit more dukkah if you like. Just before serving, squeeze over a little lemon juice, sprinkle with plenty of dukkah and drizzle with the caramelised butter.

(Recipe adapted from Magic Soup, Orion, 2015)

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