Preventing colds and flu

Yes, it’s that time of year again! It’s cold and dark, we have not been eating too well during the holidays, we missed some sleep maybe… Our immune system could use a boost!

In our community we hold hands very often. So we are often reminded that washing your hands is important – but it’s not enough. Viruses are everywhere. Your immune system needs to catch them in time!

The three most important things to do to prevent illness are:

  • Go outside and get some movement
  • Get enough sleep: go to bed earlier and sleep as long as you need
  • Stay away from sugar

There are some herbs that can help a lot as well. Elderberry is one I take at the first sign – that uh-oh tickle in your throat – together with my own home made tincture for colds. They usually do the trick.

A food-like remedy that really supports you immune health is Fire Cider. It’s a mixture of Apple Cider Vinegar (probiotic!), horse radish (supports sinus health), ginger (warming and anti-microbial), garlic and onion (anti-microbial) and local honey.

You can use it by taking a tablespoon every day. I also like to add some good quality olive oil to it and use it as a dressing.

It is very easy to make your own. I teach this in a workshop on Saturday 18 January. We will make a big batch together and your will take a small bottle home to try it out. And talk about the various herbs you can use to keep colds at bay.

Can’t make it? Or are you curious about other workshops I organise? Have a look here at my other events.

If you leave your name here I’ll send you a short email every now and then with updates.

Nettle soup recipe!

I’ll be going out today to pick a basket full of nettles and make another pot of nettle soup.

Nettles are one of the most useful plants. The young tops are delicious and nutritious, a natural mineral and vitamin supplement. Just what we need in spring!

Nettle tops are best in spring, but if you cut them back repeatedly they will give you fresh shoots throughout the summer.

I use gloves to pick just the top 2 inches, so the plant can easily regrow. You could also use a pair of scissors to snip and then lift them with the into you bag or basket – no gloves needed!

Then you go home, wash the nettles and make the soup. Here’s my trusted recipe:

Nettle soup

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion or half a big one
1 leek
¼ cup of oats, can be gluten free
½ litre of vegetable stock (½ a litre boiling water and 2 tsp stock powder)
75 gr nettle tops
freshly ground pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
good quality salt to taste

How?
  1. Chop the onion and leek finely
  2. Heat the oil or butter over medium heat
  3. Add the onion and leek and stir until they start to glaze
  4. Add the vegetable stock and cook for another 7 – 10 minutes
  5. Add the nettles and the oats and simmer gently for 5 more minutes
  6. Use a hand held blender to wizzzz it all up
  7. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg
  8. Serve and enjoy!
 Variations:
  • Add a chopped up carrot
  • Use diced potatoes or leftover rice instead of oats. They all  work well as a thickener
  • Add some cream, butter or coconut yoghurt
  • Garnish with chopped chives or wild garlic

A nice day for a warming lentil soup

Today is a really dark and rainy day. Perfect one for a warming and nourishing lentil soup!

I created this recipe for a class I was doing about spices; that’s why there are quite a few of them in this soup. Often people put in a pinch here and a dash there. But if you want to have the benefit of them, teaspoons work better.

Still this soup is not spicy and the spices aren’t overpowering. Here’s the recipe:

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons – ¼ cup of olive oil
1 medium onion
2 medium carrots
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon quill
1 inch of freshly grated ginger
½ a cup of tomato passata or ½ a can of chopped tomato
1 cup red lentils
1 litre vegetable bouillon (4 teaspoons of bouillon powder) or chicken broth
salt to taste
lemon juice to taste
optional: fresh chopped greens on top

How to do it:

  • Chop onion, garlic and carrot. Grate the ginger
  • Saute onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil.
  • Add the carrots
  • Then add the spices and saute for two more minutes
  • Add the bouillon powder and then the water
  • Rinse the lentils under cold water and add them. Stir and let come to a boil.
  • Lower heat, let it simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Stir regularly
  • Add tomatoes, stir and taste. Does it need more salt? Acidity (tomato or lemon)? Depth (a bit more oil or some ghee? Or nutritional yeast)?

Serve and enjoy!