Just when I thought I was over the worst of it, the cold that refuses to die fought yet another rearguard action, a sneezing, coughing Battle of the Bulge, a temperature soaring, death-warmed-up counter-offensive.
At the crest of this phlegm speckled wave a series of ridiculous circumstances that would have made Wodehouse himself cringe resulted in me having to accompany Teaist Junior on an errand that took me to the “out-side“, a dark, cold place someone in my condition had no right to be in.
Because of, or maybe in spite of my weakened condition I was determined to squeeze some sort of utility out of this dangerous expedition. I half-heartedly blundered round a local convenience store less than optimistic that they would have what I was after, but sometimes the tea gods step in and bail out even their most desperate acolytes.
Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cardamom seeds, and fresh root ginger. All present and correct.
All day I’d had an increasing need, nay craving, for Masala Chai, convinced that its gingery, spicy goodness would help soothe my fevered brow, and take the fight to whatever microscopic beasties were prowling my blood stream.
I was going to be making it in my 1970s era British stainless steel teapot, the kind that was once common for tea bag dangling purposes in cafes.
I bought it when on holiday in Newquay after finding it in a charity shop. Two pounds sterling seemed a fair enough price for a robust and well made contraption, so it found a new home in Scandinavia.
I can understand why they were popular in that type of establishment – their bomb-proof construction would be perfect to counter the rough treatment they would no doubt be on the receiving end of on a daily basis. Being made of stainless steel it also makes a very efficient water heater on our induction hob.
I dropped the cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom seeds into the pot, filled it with water, and put it on a medium heat while I peeled and sliced a thumb-sized lump of ginger. Once that was done, that too went into the pot.
I gave the spices about 15 minutes of simmering time, brought the water up to a rolling boil, and then added 5 heaped teaspoons of Emona brand Ceylon tea. Stir well, drop the heat down low, and let steep for 3 minutes. At the appointed time I decanted the finished tea into a warmed Ikea Riklig pot.
The first sip was pure magic, liquid wizardry. Just what the doctor ordered.
That pot both hit the spot and did the business. Afterwards I felt vaguely human for the first time in days, and went on to have the best night’s sleep I’d had in weeks.
The next morning I felt significantly better, not fighting fit by any means, but well on the way.
Of course, I can’t prove that cargo of Masala Chai was the reason why, but I nevertheless like to think that it turbo-charged my immune system and took the fight to the lurgy.
As Alanis Morissette once said, “..thank you India…“