Monday, November 25, 2013

Breaking the plans: winter cold beater

Sorry folks there has been a change from our regularly scheduled programming for something much needed at this time of year. It's the time of year when colds and flu run rampant and yet there is no slow down on the demands or deadlines. What is a girl to do?!!

Well they say that the best defense is a strong attack and I belief that in this situation that is very true so let me share with you a recipe that I have been using for a few years to keep colds and flu away, even cure them once they've started. Nope, this is not chicken soup but it does warm the soul. What you might even enjoy more if you are of a certain dietary inclination is that, not only does it not contain meat, but it contains no dairy or animal products at all and can even be made raw if you so wish.



I also thought that I would share with you a few other ways that I get that winter feeling while also  beating the winter blues (cold symptoms). If you read my blog last year you might have seen that one of my favourite snacks at this time of year is sugar-fee stewed apples, loaded up with cinnamon and cloves. These spices are important. I could write a whole post about the benefits of cinnamon but lets just highlight one important one - anti-bacterial and the most important one - it just tastes like Christmas. Oops, did I say the c word, it's a bit early perhaps but no harm warming up?! In fact I add cinnamon wherever I can, if you are not under the weather a cafetiere of coffee with added cinnamon and nutmeg gives a delicious boost with added benefits. However if you are already feeling a tingle in your throat or the head pressure of a cold I would recommend avoiding both that caffeine and milk associated with coffee drinking and opt for one of these alternatives.

Rooibos tea is delicious and inexpensive but add some orange peel and a cinnamon stick and you are in full health Christmas flavoured bliss.

Alternatively there is also ginger. Ginger too has many health benefits and you will note 'cold and flu prevention and treatment,' amongst them. I have always found that ginger gives a wonderful energy boost and helps to clear out your wooly head. For this winter wonder I have found that an apple tea is the perfect accompaniment. There are lots of varieties of apple teas available from the supermarket or the health food store. My personal favourite is a lipton one that, you guessed it contains cinnamon. However if you do not have cinnamon in your favourite feel fee to add it along with a few lumps of ginger and just watch your cold disappear (not really there still isn't a cure for the common cold but you will feel better).

So back to the soup. Everyone has a home remedy that they claim works better than medicine. This, I guess, is mine. Back in 2009 I started a ridiculously tough job where I never got more than 3-4 hours sleep any night that I worked. Inevitably I very quickly started to run out of energy and by December 2009 my immune system was shot so when flu season came around I was knocked off my feet. However I had no time to be sick so for one whole day I downed vitamin c and this soup and by the next day I was good to go. Ever since I claim that this soup is some sort of miracle cure. It may or may not be but it's delicious and highly nutritious and honestly isn't that what you need right now?

Brocolli and Kale Soup

1 large head of brocolli
1 large/ 2 small potatoes
1/2 onion
2" piece of ginger root
3 garlic cloves
100g curly kale
1L vegetable stock
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil

You will also need: 2 saucepans, a food processor and steamer if possible

1. In a steamer or saucepan precook your brocolli and potato until still firm but not hard (test with a
     fork).
2. In a large saucepan heat the oil. Add the onions and stir regularly for even browning.
3. Chop the garlic and ginger into small pieces and add to the onions
4. Once the flavours have had a minute to develop then add the kale and mix thoroughly.
5. As the kale wilts, add the broccoli and potato. Stir to cover everything with the garlic and ginger.
6. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and cook for only 5 minutes
7. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blitzing with a food processor. If using a
     handheld food processor then food can be hotter than using a standing food processor.
8. At this stage you can add the chilli flakes and stir to combine. The soup can be stored in an
    air-tight container in the fridge for 5 days, if it lasts that long.


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