Thursday 12 March 2015

Blollings cooks: fighting a sore throat

There's a nasty little throat virus spreading through the British contingent here in Seville. I've never had anything like it, my whole throat is swollen and it HURTS! Because its contagious I've had to miss work so that I don't infect the children I work with. I'm not a particularly strong person when I'm ill, I usually feel very sorry for myself, but luckily this isn't the kind of illness which makes you feel groggy or bunged up so I have managed to cook myself some food to keep my poor little strength up. So here I've got a Lemon Ginger and Chicken soup recipe, lemon and ginger tea recipe and stewed apple...

Chicken soup is the classic cure-all dish for when you're ill! I decided to make a lemon and ginger soup as these are supposed to be good ingredients to help sore throats. It was so tasty I've decided to share the recipe. Obviously if you've ever made soup before you know that the beauty in it is that you can use whatever vegetables you can find. I bought a carrot especially for the soup and I'm glad I did because it was a personal highlight. The hard vegetables like carrots or courgette are added at the beginning so they have time to soften, and if you cut them into lovely thin strips then they cook quickly anyway. But for the sweetcorn and tomatoes I left them until the end so that they didn't get totally destroyed. The tomatoes just need to be heated through, and then they are there and deliciously juicy.

I'd hoped to add spinach and fresh chilli, but my Vegetable Man didn't have any so I left out the spinach and used some paprika instead of chilli (which does NOT have the same effect but it is red so its halfway there). Other recipes online suggest celery and mushrooms (add with the carrot).

The end dish is a runny broth with the cooked vegetables within! If you want to make this more hearty you could add noodles to the broth to make a noodle soup.

Lemon and ginger chicken soup to cure a sore throat

1 small chicken breast/half a large chicken breast, chopped.

Selection of vegetables. I used:
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 inch of ginger, grated
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 courgette, sliced thinly
Handful of baby plum tomatoes, chopped in half
1-2 tbsp tinned sweetcorn

1 chicken stock cube
Dried herps (I used oregano as its all I have)
1/4 lemon
Fresh parsley

Heat the oil in the pan. Add the onion and cook on a low heat until soft. Meanwhile, grate the garlic and the ginger and prepare your vegetables. So that mine would cook quickly I cut the carrots, pepper and courgette into very thin slices.

Add the garlic, ginger and diced chicken to the pan, and cook stirring until the chicken is cooked all over. (This is when I would have added a sliced chilli too). Then add the courgette, carrots and peppers. Crumble in a stock cube and add dried herbs and 1-2 cups of water (enough to cover all the vegetables but not drown thm). Bring to the boil, cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked through you can fish it out into a separate bowl and shred it if you want, then add it back to the pan. Add the baby plum tomatoes and sweetcorn. Then squeeze the lemon slice into the pan and add it to the mix!

You want to boil it now to make sure everything is nice and hot, then serve. If you have some fresh parsley or coriander add it to serve.

No you've had your dinner you may be wondering what to do with the left over ginger and lemon...

Magic Sore Throat Curing Lemon and Ginger Tea

Put a couple of cups of water in a pan and add about an inch of finely chopped/grated ginger and quarter of a lemon (squeeze it so the juice comes out then add it). Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain into a mug and leave to cool slightly (hot drinks can further irritate the throat). If you want you can add honey but I'm off honey for Lent and it tastes just fine.

Finally the desert/breakfast of champions (no chewing required!)

Stewed apple and mashed banana

I'm not eating sugary food for Lent so been feasting on fruits instead when I feel like I need a sweet pudding. Stewed apple is the most delicious thing in the world. I used dessert apples so that I didn't have to add additional sugar.

Slice your apples (I used three MASSIVE apples and ended up with a giant Tupperware of stewed apple). Melt butter in a pan then add the apples and mix around for a bit. Then add a couple of table spoons of water and some spices - I used cinnamon and cloves (not TOO many), nutmeg might also be nice and maybe ginger too, whatever you want - COVER and simmer. Its important you cover it - if you don't then the water will evaporate and your apples will caramelise then BURN, and burnt sugar is the worst smell ever. (This happened to me - can you tell?). Doesn't take too long, about 5-10 minutes to cook.

You can eat this straight from the pan!!! Freeze it in small portions, have it in porridge, on toast, with greek yoghurt in a bowl or with mashed up banana. mmmmmmm.

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