Winter Prep

Before it gets really cold I like to stock pile a series of ginger based cold and flu cures.

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This is literally just chopped ginger put in honey. I let it soak in like this in the fridge and use a teaspoon full in hot water to make a really throat soothing, sinus clearing tea. The juice flows out of the ginger, thinning the honey and making a sort of syrup.

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This is my Ginger Soup, loosely based on Hot and Sour soup and something I’ve been inflicting on sick friends since undergrad. Of course as its my secret remedy there’s no one to make it for me when I’m the one whose sick so I like to keep two tubs of it in my freezer (that’s all I have room for).

You will need;

  • One large thumb of ginger
  • Four spring onions or one white onion
  • Six cloves of garlic
  • Two chilis (less if you like spice less)
  • Oil of your choice
  • Rice vinegar (I’m using Chianking)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Stock of your choice

This is really easy to make and I like to use it as the base for a lot of soups. All you have to do is dice the vegetables and brown then in the oil, then add everything else and cook until the flavours are dispersed.

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Migraine Curry Soup

Today I have a migraine and, because I am a mature and functional adult, all the pain killers in my house went out of date in 2013. I also, because I am a stubborn unmentionable as my grandmother might put it, spent the day working instead of laying in the dark, even though this involved staring at a brightly lit screen and trying to string words together.

So I need curry. I make no pretence that this is in any way authentic but its an excellent cure all when taken with your bloody migraine medication that you have discovered under the half folded laundry.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (frozen and pre diced because dicing raw chicken with a piston shoving through my skull? You’re having a laugh)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Methi Seed
  • Chili (red dried in this case, I put five of them in but for those who don’t have a chili problem I advise less)
  • Oil (I used sesame)
  • Two stock cubes of your choice
  • Rice

This should, if I was an actual Real Adult, also contain actual vegetables. The frozen peas, frozen spinach and dried lentils I have around and even some finely diced carrots would make a pretty good decision. But cooking when you have a migraine is like cooking drunk. You will only make what you crave. So dice the onions, garlic and ginger, fry it up with the spices and then add the chicken. Once browned or when your patience runs out cover with water and stock. Ten minutes before you’re ready to serve add rice and let it cook in the juice.

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Here’s the Real Adult Version

Black Bean and Spinach Soup

I made this today and its delicious, cheap and vegan. Should feed two to three people

Ingredients:

Olive oil
3 Spring onions
2 Onions
6 cloves of garlic
Can of black beans
Bag of spinach or equivalent frozen
Cumin
Cayenne Pepper
Thyme
Fresh Coriander
Two stock cubes (can be substituted with bacon but then obviously not vegan)

Dice the onions, garlic and spring onions (and bacon if you’re using it) and fry them in the olive oil until the onions start to go translucent. Then add the can of beans, the spices and the stock and let it cook until the beans have softened. Add the spinach and take the pan off the heat and let the spinach cook in the residual heat.

Red Dahl

I think everyone who cooks lentils has their own Dahl recipe that they’ve perfected over the years. This is my current favorite and will feed at least four people.

 

400g red lentils 

2 brown onions

1 head of garlic (yes a whole head)

2 inches of ginger (more if the ginger root is narrow)

Panch Phoran (or yellow mustard seed, fennel seed, fenugreek, black onion seed and cumin if you can’t get the mix)

2 bay leaves

3 measures of your preferred stock (I use knorr vegetable stock pots)

one scotch bonnet chili or chili powder

nutmeg

1 tin coconut milk

vegetable oil

 

Chop the onions, ginger, garlic and chili and fry them in the oil with the Panch Phoran (I use about four or five tea spoon fulls but this is something you should adapt to taste) and when the onions have started to brown a little add the lentils and water to cover them, the three measures of stock and the nutmeg, bay leaves and chili powder if that’s what you’re using. Make sure that the lentils boil for at least ten minutes to denature the enzymes and then turn down slightly and add the coconut milk before leaving to simmer until you get the required texture. This can either be eaten as a soup or with rice and its really good.