Friday 21 January 2011

Medicine Soup

Like many people I went down with one of the virulent 'flus which have been affecting households everywhere this winter. I'm much better now but sometimes I get suddenly tired or cold and just have to rest. Others say they think it's gone and then boom, their temperature goes up and they're back in bed. The coughs drag on, energy levels are low. I had a blank feeling for days, like things weren’t making any sense. And I just sat in bed watching dvds on the laptop. I really felt for my friends with young families who all got sick.

I think these illnesses are partly social, related to the stresses placed on our immune systems by the current inhumane and depressing actions of a government which does not have the best interests of the people at heart. In fact which has no heart. I doubt anyone is really immune from the effects of this.

When I was ill, there were certain foods I just couldn't face. Milk and cheese, for example. And sweet things.

But this is a soup I made, first for Charlotte when she got sick, and later for myself. The ingredients are mainly local and seasonal, and something about it just hits the spot. It’s really kept us going:

Leek and Potato Medicine Soup

Dice three or four medium potatoes and cook in a saucepan with a pinch of sea salt (I use Malden). Keeping the potato water for the soup, drain the potatoes. Skim off any grey froth from the water.

Meanwhile slice three or four leeks and heat gently in a frying pan with a little olive oil.

Add some chopped fresh rosemary and thyme (dried thyme also works) and freshly milled black pepper. Optional (but kind of essential): the peel of half an organic unwaxed lemon. Don't let any of this burn.

Add the potatoes to the pan and heat it all together for a few minutes. Return all this to the saucepan with the potato water. Squeeze the juice of the lemon half into the soup. Heat gently through but do not boil.

Serve with a splash of olive oil and season to taste.

I sometimes add a teaspoon of miso for extra flavour, but it's certainly good enough if you don't. This soup tastes even better the next day. This is definitely one for the Low Carbon Cookbook!

PS Another lifesaver is an infusion of chopped fresh organic ginger (available from Follund Organics in Norwich market, The Greengrocer or Rainbow), freshly squeezed lemon (again organic and unwaxed is best) with a teaspoon of local honey.

PPS Don’t let them get you down entirely!

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