Falling right in the middle of this cold February winter — between Valentine’s Day and a week in bed with cough and ague — reviewing Tonic couldn’t have come at a better time. Author Tanita de Ruijt comes to the rescue with a romantically spicy drinking chocolate and home remedy cough syrup. I was in desperate need of both. Not only did the cough syrup clear away my cold-induced brain fog, but the “Love Potion” gave me that much-needed perk.
“Love Potion” gets an invigorating zip from the raw cacao and warming spices. Including salt and turmeric in a traditionally sweet drink may sound a bit off-putting, but I urge you to try it, as these provide balance and earthiness to the beverage. Think of them as adding mystery and intrigue to the romance of the chocolate.
The olive oil and lemon in De Ruijt’s cough syrup provided relief from the itch of a scratchy throat and the herbs and honey worked to soothe some of the pain away. Having never made a DIY cough syrup, this was surprisingly simple and had similar results to some of the more expensive natural cough remedies I purchase for the kids.
Tonic is a tiny book with a lot of punch. Packed with homeopathic remedies for everything from insomnia to stress reducers, from a lover’s drink to after-dinner digestives, the book proves a useful addition to the cookbook shelf. Especially this time of year.
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Love Potion — Makes 2 servings
Ready in 10 minutes
7¾ fl oz coconut milk
7¾ fl oz just-boiled water
4 tablespoon raw cacao powder
4 squares of your favorite dark chocolate
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
coconut sugar or honey, to taste
Add all the ingredients (except your sweetener) to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Simmer for 2–3 minutes, whisking, until thoroughly melted and mixed together, then remove from the heat. Add your chosen sweetener, to taste, then pour into 2 mugs to serve.
Cough Syrup — Makes 12 fl oz
Ready in 20 minutes
6 fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
3 lemons, sliced
fresh sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme
6 fl oz honey or Fermented Honey
OPTIONAL: 2 1/2 cm (1 in) piece of fresh turmeric or ginger root, grated
Add all the ingredients, except for the honey, to a small saucepan set over a medium heat. Infuse for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let it cool. Once cool, strain, mix the honey in well, and store in a sterilized mason (preserving) jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. It will keep in the fridge for 3 months, or keep on your kitchen counter for about 1 1/2 months.
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Recipes excerpted with permission from Tonic by Tanita de Ruijt, published by Hardie Grant Books January 2018, $19.99 hardcover. Photography by Patricia Niven.