Three of life’s great pleasures?
Itching, sneezing and submitting to chilli. These devious little
vegetables raise our body temperature and help release natural
endorphins to keep our blood gurgling with excitement. I recommend the
powdered form to give your lips a delicious sting and swell the
senses. Guessing the heat of a fresh chilli can carry greater risk
than cycling backwards in a Grand Prix.
More groovy chemistry? Chilli is used as a cardiovascular tonic in
South America, such are its chest thumping abilities. A potent
chemical called capsaicin helps arterial walls relax. This widening of
blood vessels leads to better circulation to the peripheries too
(fingers, toes, brain, and other obvious organs). Blood pressure will
naturally benefit from this stimulatory effect, as will inflammatory
conditions such as hay fever and arthritis.
Not everybody likes heat. So if you’re one of the few who doesn’t,
here are some tips on keeping the sweating and swearing at bay. Never
drink water, beer or wine to calm the fire in your mouth. This will
only enhance the storm. Take olive oil, egg yolk or something fatty to
absorb its blaze. Greek yoghurt is often served with curries to help
dilute chilli’s enthusiasm. Finally, be sure to wear industrial
mascara to weather the tears.
Great Balls of Fire
The definition of madness, warns Beckett, is in doing the same thing
over and over again, but expecting different results. If your body
isn’t functioning as well as you’d like it to, take a close look at
what you’re putting into it. Fizzy sodas? Double mocha sticky buns?
Bagofshite? Here’s a recipe to help highjump that 3pm slump without
having to assault the nearest vending machine. The idea is to
supercharge circulation to your brain with lots of ginger, chilli and
cocoa. Those eyelids won’t stand a chance.
Magnesium is a superstar mineral that relaxes blood vessels and
increases circulation. Unless you’re regularly necking kale and
broccoli smoothies, most of us are deficient in this mineral. One of
nature’s best sources of magnesium is raw chocolate. (Was that a
backflip?) Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are also shining examples.
Hypertensionistas benefit immensely from increasing sources of
magnesium in their diet, helping bring down blood pressure. If this
sounds like you, it’s worth adding a few tablespoons of raw cacao nibs
to the recipe. Feeling lazy? www.organicsupermarket.ie will deliver
them straight to your door alongside wine and coffee. Cool, eh?
1 ‘ginger & lemon’ teabag
1/4 cup tahini
5 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
4 tablespoons maple syrup
Up to ½ teaspoon cayenne chilli powder
2 tablespoons goji berries (optional)
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 cup raisins
1 cup milled sunflower & pumpkin seeds (we use Linwoods, from supermarkets)
1/4 cup ground almonds
Makes 30 great balls of fire. They will happily hibernate in the
freezer for up to four months. This will help upgrade those pesky
chocolate cravings into a nutritional party.
Start by carefully tearing the teabags open, and pouring into a food
processor. Blitz with remaining ingredients, until thoroughly
socialised. If you can’t find packets of Linwood’s pre-milled seeds in
the supermarket, just whizz enough pumpkin and sunflower seeds until
they resemble fine breadcrumbs. This will work too. And if you don’t
have goji berries, no problem. We used gojies just to give the
impression of chillies.
Between your palms, roll the dough into little bombs. Let them set in
the fridge for 4 hours. They’ll keep for 3 weeks in the fridge, or 3
minutes at the office.