Now it seems a bit out of season to be posting an immune boosting soup when its supposed to be spring but hey its been really cold in Glasgow and poor Laura has swollen glands and a stinker of a cold. Sometimes the change in temperature, returning from sunny holidays to the cold of Glasgow can take a bit of adjusting to!
Laura also has exams all week so she's a bit stressed too, which doesn't help. So I've been making her apple kuzu drinks ( a macrobiotic drink which is very strengthening and soothing), giving her ginger compresses, to speed the healing process and I specially made a big pot of the most healing soup on the planet, and its also rather delicious.
The best kind of medicine!!
This soup is crammed full of all sorts of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamins, it will literally stop any infection in its tracks. It’s absolutely brilliant for relieving the symptoms of colds and flu, will put your immune system into super-drive and send all those “nasties” into oblivion; it also tastes great and is really easy to make.
Both shitake mushrooms and goji berries contain a similar polysaccharide which stimulate the immune system by causing an increase in the production of white blood cells.
Garlic is the mother of all natural antivirals; it is also antibacterial and antifungal.
Ginger is a strong anti-inflammatory and also stimulates circulation which increases the rate at which white blood cells move around the body fighting infection and removing waste products from infected tissues.
Chilli has painkilling properties and can thin out mucous making it easier to remove from the body.
Sweet potatoes contain various anti-inflammatory compounds including beta carotene/flavanoids.
Turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory agent due to a group of chemicals called curcuminoids - as good as many powerful drugs, including hydrocortisone, but with none of the nasty side effects.
Coconut milk is full of good fats which are antifungal, antibacterial & antiviral.
So you really can't fail to feel better if you fill yourself up with this most soothing, healing, nutritious soup. Your immune system will thank you!
· 1 red onion, chopped
· 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
· 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small dice
· 1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
· 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
· 1 punnet shitake mushrooms or 2-3 dried shitakes soaked in hot water for 30minutes
· 1 handful of goji berries
· 500ml vegetable stock
· 1 can coconut milk
· 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
· 1 level teaspoon turmeric
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season
1. Add the finely chopped onion, ginger and chilli to a pan with a tablespoon of oil and sauté for a few minutes until the onion softens.
2. Slice the shitake mushrooms. If using dried, discard the stalks which are tough and bitter.
3. Add the mushrooms, diced sweet potato, goji berries, garlic, turmeric, coconut milk and stock.
4. Bring to the boil, and then gently simmer for about 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft.
5. Puree with a hand blender, season with sea salt and enjoy!
I'm happy to report that Laura is feeling much better now!
.......your health in your hands.....
I've had a lovely week, it was my birthday and I was spoilt rotten with flowers, chocolate and Prosecco, three of my favourite things!
I have to admit the after effects of too much chocolate and wine are not great but sometimes worth it!
So I thought I'd share one of my favourite healthy chocolate truffle recipes. These truffles are delicious, pretty much free of everything bad for you, incredibly quick and easy to make. In fact they are so delicious it's hard to believe they are packed full of healthy ingredients.
They are a perfect wee sweet treat to end a meal, and make a fabulous last minute Christmas gift for a health conscious friend.!
These truffles are vegan so dairy free, contain no saturated fat or added sugar. All the sweetness comes from the dates and coconut, both natural ingredients with health benefits.
I love dates, they are deliciously sweet and although they are fairly high in sugar, they more than make up for it with the dazzling array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, supporting health on so many levels.
The walnuts and sunflower seeds add protein, fibre, minerals and omega 3 fats so these truffles can definitely be enjoyed guilt free!
Medjool dates are the king of dates and are sweet, caramelly and moist and are always my first choice. Deglet Nour Dates are also delicious. Lidl are selling them for £1 a bag just now and they are also pitted which saves you precious time! It's well worth having a few bags on standby. Some of the dates are really quite dry and need to be soaked before you can use them and they are never sweet or sticky enough, don't buy them!
You really need a food processor to make these. The dates need to be blitzed to a paste, although I guess at a push you could use a hand blender. Dates are so sticky though you would have to do it in batches and blitz the nuts and seeds first. Always make sure there are no stones in your dates, that could wreck your processor. Another point to note, for those of you lucky enough to own a Vitamix, don't use it for dates! They are just too sticky and there was a horrible burning smell from mine when I tried it
You have been warned!
If you have any sweet superfood powders like lacuma or maca, you can add a spoonful to up the health benefits even more. Chia seeds are also a good addition!
These truffles are best kept in the fridge to firm them up. I'm not too sure how long they will keep, ours are always scoffed within a few days, but I guess they would be fine for a week or so!
Preparation: 30 minutes
Makes: 20 bite size truffles
. ......your health in your hands......
This is one of my absolute favourite winter soups, its just so nourishing, creamy and delicious. I adapted the recipe from a macrobiotic one and it just ticks all the boxes for me on flavour and nutrition.
I served it last night to my guests at the launch of my Gourmet Vegan Supper Club and everyone thought it was delicious and much more interesting than leek and potato soup!
In Scotland, a soup thickened with oatmeal is called a ‘brose’. Oats can lower cholesterol due to the high amounts of soluble fibre and are easy to digest. Books have been written on the benefits of coconut but 3 key benefits are in lowering inflammation, boosting your immune system and boosting metabolism. Leeks and garlic fight infection and combined with ginger make this an inflammation busting super soup! The addition of coconut and lime gives this soup an exotic twist and it tastes absolutely delicious! Give it a go and impress your family and friends!
I love soup, I love making it and eating it!! It's such a simple, delicious way to up your intake of nutritious veggies and anyone who knows me knows that I promote the eating of copious amounts of veggies, of all types and colours, for optimum health!
The other brilliant thing about soup are the endless possibilities of flavours and textures. This particular soup recipe came into being last Sunday night when Jenna ( my lovely vegan daughter and awesome cook!) had a look in the fridge and cupboards to see what was left to use up, since we realised that we had nothing much for packed lunches on the Monday. Soup features highly for lunch at our house and we quite literally make soup every day, especially when the weather turns colder.
So back to the soup! This one has leeks, frozen peas and sweet potato as its base with flavour and nutritional benefits added by turmeric, garlic, creamed coconut and Thai Green Curry Paste. You could easily add some spinach at the end to up the benefits. So although this soup has bags of flavour, there isn’t much chopping of onions, fresh herbs, chilli or ginger or grinding of spices, just add a spoonful of Thai Green Curry Paste! Doesn’t get much easier than that!
I’m always amazed at how delicious soup can be with relatively simple ingredients though in my opinion everything benefits from the addition of coconut. In this instance it’s Creamed Coconut which comes in a 200g block, which most supermarkets sell. It’s a great store cupboard ingredient and keeps for ages so I’d definitely recommend buying a few!
So here is the recipe, please leave a comment if you try it!
2 leeks, washed, and finely sliced, include the green bits too!
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
2 cups of frozen peas
2 small or 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped into small dice
1 stock cube ( I use Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes)
100g creamed coconut
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 or 3 tablespoons Thai Green Curry Paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coconut or rapeseed oil
....your health in your hands.........
Since the weather is turning distinctly Autumnal I thought I'd share one of my favourite, simple, full of good things Creamy Cauliflower Soup to warm the cockles of your heart! This soup is soothing, nourishing, easy to digest, full of coco-nutty goodness, a spicy kick from the chilli & garlic & chock full of anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins and good fats!
Like all soups it's easy to make & a great way of including more veggies in our diet, which we all need to boost our immune systems at this time of year! So here is the recipe
I tablespoon coconut oil, olive or rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
1 small red chilli, deserved & finely chopped (optional)
1 level tsp turmeric powder
1 med cauliflower, separated into florets
1 can coconut milk
500ml vegetable stock
2 tsp tamari sauce
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat & gently sauté the onion, garlic, chilli & turmeric for 5 mins.
2. Add the cauliflower florets & stir to coat in the oil.
3. Pour in coconut milk & stock, bring to the boil then lower the heat & simmer gently for 15 mins or until the cauliflower is cooked.
4. Add the tamari & season with salt & black pepper.
5. Blend the soup using a stick blender until smooth.
6. Serve & enjoy! You can garnish with fresh coriander which is a great detoxifier & tastes great!
.....your health in your hands....
This is my new favourite summer soup! It’s so simple and delicious and green! I have so much mint in the garden and this is a great way to use it. Mint has many health benefits, it improves the digestion, can improve symptoms of IBS and is antibacterial. It’s particularly effective against h pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and is packed full of vitamins and minerals. What's not to love!
....your health in your hands......
These are quite simply the most delicious scones ever! They really melt in your mouth and everyone loves them. My lovely mum and my youngest daughter Laura came up with this recipe one baking afternoon. Jenna my other daughter ( I have 4 lovely girls!) is vegan so we started experimenting with vegan baking and now we actually prefer vegan cakes. So no dairy or eggs in any of our baking and we always minimise or replace refined sugar which is just plain bad on so many levels!
These wee scones have only 1 teaspoon sugar per scone which is 4g but they are deliciously sweet due to the coconut which also has soluble fibre so benefits your digestion. I am known as Crazy Coconut Lady at home, I just love coconut in all its forms and will find any excuse to add it to cakes, smoothies, soups, dips, & curries! In my opinion its just the most delicious flavour and it is so incredibly good for you!
Follow my blog for lots more coconut recipes..... !
Anyway I digress, back to the scones... The most important thing with scones is to cut them quite thick and make sure the oven is hot before you put them in. So often scones end up more like biscuits which is definitely not how they are supposed to be! They are best eaten fresh out of the oven, which isn't really a problem, they are so delicious and light you can eat two or three at one go....!
The scones are delicious served with organic coconut oil, sugar free jam, coconut jam, or good old organic butter. Enjoy...!
8oz/225g self raising flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ oz/40g caster sugar
4 oz /110g soya or sunflower spread
2 oz/55g desiccated coconut
3 or 4 tablespoons soya milk.
1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/ Gas 7 and lightly grease a baking sheet.
2. The easiest way to make these scones is to add all the dry ingredients to
a food processor and pulse for a few minutes, then add the milk a little at
a time until the mixture comes together,
3. If you don’t have a food processor then put the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Using your fingertips rub the spread into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Vegan spreads are really soft so run your hands under a cold tap before you start and work quickly to keep the mixture from clumping.
4. Stir in the sugar and coconut then add the milk gradually and mix with a
wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
5. Turn out onto a floured work surface and pat into a round ¾ inch or 2 cm thick.
6. Cut out 10 scones, I use a heart shaped cookie cutter since I reckon
we could all do with more love in our lives!
7. Brush the tops of the scones with milk and liberally sprinkle coconut on
8. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until well risen and nicely browned
The scones are delicious served with organic coconut oil, sugar free jam, coconut jam, or good old organic butter.
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