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I'm no chocolate aficionado, but this time of year, late at night, I loves me cocoa.
I use 100% cocoa which has a gorgeous warm red mahogany color and I blend that with some of the turmeric paste I ferment.(I ferment fresh turmeric, not powder ). I also add in some cinnamon. 
That's the snobbery: I finally worked out how to grate ceylon cinnamon (there are at least 4 commercial 'cinnamons' in the world, 3 of which are 'cassia' and most powdered forms are likely to be cassia) and boy , does that round out the flavour!
...then pour on the milk and heat. This is the sort of mix microwaves were made for.
That's the night time thrill.
But for breakfast I'm addicted to steel cut oats fermented in a little water for 24 hours with the same spice mix -- cinnamon and turmeric -- plus a dash of salt and apple cider vinegar.
I ferment this coalescence in my ever-so-handy ramekin and give it a microwave blast (of 1 minute) before adding chopped up bananas (I keep batches frozen) and heating the bowl and its contents again.
Served with plain yogurt accompanied by black coffee and I'm set up for the day.

I had been taking Curcumin (Turmeric) capsules for pain. Expensive hobby. But I'm finding that I can make my own Turmeric hit while also enhancing its Curcumin activation by fermenting it with pepper.
Cinnamon has similar potency plus it moderates blood sugar spikes.

That the combo tastes so darn good has turned me into a spice junkie.

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Music to my ears, I too love my spices, I must take a photo of my spice wall and post on.

I love your Hot Cocoa idea, I don't usually drink it anymore due to my having to put a little sugar in. Will the flavour of the fermented Turmeric and Cinnamon give enough flavour that I won't need or want to add sugar (I do know this can be a personal thing.) If you answer yes, can you please give me the Recipe for Fermented Turmeric & Cinnamon.

I drink the cocoa without sugar. I don't ferment the cinnamon, but I do ferment --albeit briefly -- the oats.

Sugar is often a destroyer of taste nuances. I never use the stuff, but then I don't eat cakes.

The fermented turmeric DIY is here.

I don't bother with the whey.If you want a more liquidy mix, just add chlorine free water.

This ferment is my most used concoction. I love the stuff. Goes into everything.Stews. Salsas. Soups, I tend now to increase the pepper portion to just over 'peppery'. And that takes a lot of pepper corns.

[I grind them up in a mortar and pestle)

Any storage issues I layer the top with olive oil.

But in making either the porridge or the cocoa I do recommend a generous helping of freshly grated CEYLON cinnamon and maybe (for a mug volume anyway) over  half a teaspoon of the turmeric paste.

(The trick is to use 100% cocoa powder -- not 'Bournville' or the like-- and just the right quantity -- like two heaped teaspoons at least.)

I use a microplane grater for the cinnamon sticks., and blend that spice into the cocoa powder first with the turmeric -- with very hot water -- to form a paste.

You can also grate some nutmeg sprinkles on top after heating the cocoa blend.


I will soon enough add chilli, I reckon --and I do have fermented chilli paste.

Cocoa … is that the residue from chocolate making? I use some powder called Baking Cocoa. It does not say it has sugar in it, the ingredients are '100% cocoa' which does not help at all. I have weaned myself off sugar and find that particular cocoa quite to taste. 

I have some good quality Dutch Coco & some Mexican Cocos. Are they  both suitable, thanks? 

That's the stuff I'm using at the moment, Elaine -- and the spices take off in the combo.

Not that I want to get into  chocolatery -- but the main rule of thumb is the Dutch Process:

Dutch process cocoa powder (also sometimes called "alkalized," "European style," or "Dutched") is washed with a potassium carbonate solution that neutralizes cocoa's acidity to a pH of 7. Although all cocoa powders can vary in color from light reddish brown to a richer dark brown, the Dutch process gives the powder a noticeably darker hue. Dutch process cocoa has a smoother, more mellow flavor that's often associated with earthy, woodsy notes....If you're making natural cocoa powder, that's the end of the line. Chocolate is naturally acidic, so natural cocoa powder typically has a pH between 5 and 6 (for context, water is 7, right in the middle). That acidity bears out in natural cocoa's flavor, which gives the cocoa a sharp, almost citrus fruit finish. Remember, that just like a chocolate bar, cocoa powder flavor varies by brand. While all natural cocoas will have certain characteristics in common (bitterness and astringency), flavors will vary based on the cacao bean and how it's manufactured.

The types of cocoa powder is explained HERE.

But your Bournville cocoa premium dark  is Dutched processed  100% cocoa. Anything else you'd need to check but i reckon taste will rule it for you.Bounville(or is it Cadbury?)  Drinking Choc is a blend with sugar and stuff.

Does it matter? I'm after the highest cocoa hit for the many health reasons  but this is a drink that takes off in the senses. I'm not a great chocolate fan and have tried hard to eat dark chocolate regularly -- but this hot choc combo is the bee's knees. Late at night it is a meditative experience that I savour gulp after gulp.

But as I suggest -- if you want to indulge -- get yourself Ceylon Cinnamon -- that's the light sticks that are tightly folded -- because it is worth the pleasure.

You can use  a lot in your mug.

My spice merchant doesn't sell powdered Ceylon -- unless I want to ask for a batch & he'll grind it for me -- because the powder is so fine and difficult to package.

You can get a rasp for grinding Ceylon and other cinnamons/nutmeg -- but I use my microplane to good effect. Fresh ground cinnamon is goodly. 

As for Turmeric...there is a huge taste diff between powder and fresh; and fresh and fermented.

I had a hot choc at the Noosa Chocolate Factory in the CBD last week and was quite disappointed. My concoction is much better. Their's has a few back throat flavours but a rather simple taste.

I'm drinking a brew as I write. A drink to savour. 3 very heaped teaspoons of cocoa/one half heaped teaspoon of turmeric ferment/one half a grated ceylon cinnamon stick/full cream milk..and sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.

That's very spicey but the cocoa holds it all together like a rich sauce.

NB: my turmeric ferment also has salt (made with 'brine') and pepper in it, as well as a touch of cumin.

Fascinating read Dave, do you make your Cocoa on all Milk heated up or a mix of water and milk?

I mix  the spices and cocoa on hot water -- preferably boiled -- then slowly add the cold milk while stirring. 

DIY tip: 

I'm finding that when I boil the water for the tea at my evening meal it pays to assemble the cocoa and spices and stir them together to combine in the (boiling) hot water. (Enough water to make a gravy or watery paste). If , when grating the cinnamon, some flakes  break off and fall into the drink they may dissolve during the hours between tea and your bedtime tiple.

Then add the milk...and microwave. Stir again and add grated nutmeg if you like.

Microwaving is so much better than stovetop as there is no pot to clean up and , once you get the timing right, no spillage or burning.

Rather than fermented turmeric you could add fresh turmeric or ginger grated on a microplane (pictured at right).

The nutritional and health consequence of this medley is pretty awesome if you want to check out each ingredients' bona fides via Dr Google.

100% Cocoa + Curcumin + Cinnamon ....and  Nutmeg.

No sugar.

Pain, arthritis, digestion, diabetes, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory...

But I do suggest you also add some ground black pepper to facilitate the Turmeric metabolism and use full cream milk for the same reason.

You could also make up some Golden Paste (RECIPE HERE) using dried Turmeric powder.

By beginning the day with this 'hit' inside my porridge, I also end it the same way. Ironically, for something supposedly therapeutic & medicinal, both mixes are delicious.

Afterthought for registered insomniacs...

I'm not especially insomniac, but with the taste of the cocoa in my mouth I like to drift off to the sound of rain and thunderstorms.

Each 'storm season' I record a few of the cells that come visit our tin roof . My current fav is November 29th, 2015 : a richly patterned storm with a strong heartbeat that sets off the rich nuances of the spice mix.

Flavour and soundscape wash over me...


If you check out the attributes of cocoa you'd want to get more of it in ya.
Not that mamby pamby chocolate stuff but the real McCoy 100% powder.
My budget won't stretch enough to fret over Dutch vs Burma processing but as far as I can tell, cocoa is cocoa.
I make mine after blending in ground Ceylon Cinnamon--that's the tightly wound quills not the looser variety-- and Mace -- the padding of the nutmeg kernel.

(NB:You'll need to grind your own Ceylon Cinnamon and Mace.)

I concocted this preference after being coached by my 'spice merchant'.
(Everyone should have their own go-to spice merchant.)
I sometimes add a little turmeric and chili.
Each night 'tis sip sip. Dissolved in hot milk but I'm sure hot water would do.
I loves the taste. For me it is a ritual -- Mayan like.
Inside me, gut microbiota are thanking me as cocoa mimics the prebiotic and probiotic potentials of lacto bacillus +.
As for cinnamon and mace/nutmeg, look 'em up.
Cocoa can accommodate a lot of these spices and still zing. I think the flavour deepens such that the aftertaste is generous and long lasting.
Just stay away from the sugar if you can. I reckon the mace softens any bitterness.

My spice journey continues.

While I lacto ferment my chilli and my fresh Turmeric and use them at any cooking excuse, I've now worked up a spice routine.

My fav spice is Turmeric which I consume every day. Aside from the fresh turmeric ferment, I rely on Golden Paste to top me up by adding it to drinks, twice/day.

It has a different taste to the ferment and I drink a GP blend with a smoothie mix and again with hot chocolate at night.

In the same hot choc I add ground Ceylon Cinnamon, Mace,Turmeric paste and a teaspoon of Inulin powder (from Chicory Root). "Inulin nutrition' is well worth Googling. It is also a sweetener of sorts.

My morning tipple is a blend up of  yogurt + milk+Potato Starch (1 x tablespoon) + Turmeric Paste and fruit (usually banana). But i find Golden Paste goes so well with milk it makes a simple drink in itself -- despite the pepper.

I've also added Turmeric paste to sour dough bread baking to good effect.Goes great with yogurt too.

I am a Turmeric junkie -- as it is the best pain relief I've found -- but you have to consume the right dosage ( around a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half  a day)  maybe twice or thrice per day as its metabolism works for about 8 hours.

Both tipples are delicious.

But then I cook so much with Turmeric -- meat dishes, tomatoes, potatoes, I say, 'any excuse'  . I have the stained bench tops to prove my habit.

Under the influence of Trinidadian cuisine I use a lot of thyme. I also find it a very reliable 'go-to' plant -- and thyme goes well with the flavor of Turmeric. That's not a common mix but if you have a tomato in the recipe, it's gonna work. I also tend to use  fermented Turmeric instead of Ginger. Ginger in quantity can make the dish hot and dusty to taste. The Moroccans use Ginger with tomatoes but give me Turmeric any day.

Persian cuisine uses a lot of Turmeric without drowning it in curry blends as happens in the Indian sub continent. And in Malaysia Turmeric is celebrated on its ownsome as a primary spice.. When a recipe measures  dried Turmeric in tablespoons added -- that is not a misprint.

My other reliable is Cumin which goes with almost everything. While I grind my Cumin with a mortar and pestle, I now simply fry the seeds up first and cook on top of the fried seeds and flavoured oil.  You really need to grind/crack coriander seeds though and be master of your quantities with the Cumin as too much will ruin a dish.

Cumin, or course, is a Mexican essential and can drive a salsa to new heights.

Nonetheless, I find Turmeric will sit comfortably in many Mediterranean recipes and will partner most other herbs in that menu.

If, like me, you're a junkie -- any excuse is exploited to yellow up a dish with Turmeric.


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