Apple, Pear and Chia Seed Warm Pudding Recipe

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“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” ~Ernestine Ulmer

 

I came home to our farm last night, too exhausted to cook dinner.

Problem was, I was hungry.

The thought of a salad, or anything cold and raw was completely off-putting. I needed warmth and nurture.

Solution? A lovely bowl of warm pudding – healthy and delicious but creamy and sweet enough to feel like an indulgence. This easy-to-digest meal is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. Perfect for those with dietary restrictions, to tempt a fussy eater or for someone who’s unwell. And the coolest thing about this recipe is that it makes an outstanding breakfast too!

The apple and pear give sweetness and texture to this comforting pudding.

Chia seeds are often touted as a superfood. I have to agree. They are high protein, high fibre, gluten-free, packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium, Vitamin C, iron and anti-oxidants, plus they help heal the digestive tract and stabilise blood sugar. Win!

Ingredients for four serves:

Two ripe pears; two apples; 2 tablespoons of water; 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon; zest of a lemon; juice of half a lemon; 2 teaspoons of natvia, honey, maple syrup or other sweetener of your choice; 2 heaped tablespoons of chia seeds; 1 and a half cups of water; coconut cream and a little extra maple syrup to serve.

Note: It’s also fine to use four pears or four apples, depending on what’s in your pantry or on your list of available foods if you are working with dietary restrictions.

Method:

Place the chia seeds and the cup and a half of water in a bowl. Stir and leave to swell for twenty minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid clumping. The seeds will absorb the water and produce a jelly-like substance. (Try not to think about the fact that right now it looks like a bowl of frog spawn!)

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Dice pears and apple. Add to a saucepan over medium heat with two tablespoons of water and the cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Stir for a few minutes until the fruit softens. Now pour in the chia seed mixture, which will have a runny jelly-like consistency.

Stir well over medium heat until the mixture is thick and warm – about five minutes. Add a little sweetener to taste.

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Spoon into serving bowls and add a generous dollop of coconut cream. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top.

Devour happily.

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Any leftovers can be stored in fridge for up to three days. Try spooning the mixture into glasses, layering with a little yogurt or coconut cream to enjoy cold tomorrow as a breakfast parfait. The pudding also reheats well. Just use gentle heat and add the coconut cream in before you heat it!

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How to make Bone Broth

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“I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.” 
― Shauna Niequist

Bone broth is essentially bones and vegetables simmered together over long periods of time to produce a rich flavoursome liquid. I make a big pot of this nourishing broth weekly, and it’s an important part of my healing regime. I’d always made my own stock, but after I began to understand the benefits of consuming bone broths I made them much more central to my regular meals. Maybe you should too!

Here’s why they are good for you:

  • Bone broths are full of collagen, gelatin, glucosamine and chondroiton. These substances will plump up your skin and make your hair and nails strong and healthy. More importantly they will rebuild connective tissue, reducing pain and inflammation while promoting healthy functioning of joints, bones, blood, nerves, muscles, brain and organs.
  • Bone broths promote healing and slow the aging process.
  • Bone broths are great for the immune system – building it up and making it strong. They are rich in fat and water soluble vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids. More on the good stuff in bone broth here.
  • They are easy to digest, and actually aid the digestion and assimilation of vegetables, meats, grains and legumes.
  • Bone broths heal the mucosal membrane of your gut – so it’s great for anyone with Chrohns, coeliacs, IBS, ulcers and other digestive or bowel issues.
  • Bone broths also support healthy metabolic and thyroid function.

Here’s what you need to make them…

Raw bones of beef or veal, or fish or chicken carcasses.  A few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have to hand). Water. Herbs of your choice and a mix of vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery are optional but advisable for depth of flavour and added nutritional value.

Today I’ll share my beef bone broth recipes! I have a standard stock recipe, and one with an asian twist. They’re easy so I’ll include them both.

Ingredients:

2 kilos of beef bones (preferably organic and grass fed – bones aren’t expensive, so do your best to get good quality raw material for your broth!), 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 3 to 4 litres of water.

Standard version:

To your beef bones, water and vinegar add 3 carrots roughly chopped, 3 garlic cloves crushed with skin still on, 2 large brown onions – skin on and cut in wedges, 4 sticks of celery roughly chopped, 1 large bunch of parsley, one dried bay leaf, 6 cloves, 12 to 15 peppercorns.

Asian version:

To your beef bones, water and vinegar add 3 carrots roughly chopped, 3 garlic cloves crushed with skin still on, 2 large brown onions – skin on and cut in wedges, one inch of fresh ginger – thinly sliced, a small bunch of shallots/green onions/scallions roughly chopped, one packet of Chinese beef soup base herbs or 6 star anise, one dessertspoon of fennel seeds, 2 or 3 large curls of cinnamon bark, 1 strip of orange peel (no pith!), 6 cloves, 12 to fifteen peppercorns. One to two tablespoons each of  Tamari (wheat free soy sauce) and sherry or Chinese cooking wine (optional) to finish.

Method:

Rub your bones with the coconut oil and place in a hot oven for about an hour until they are well browned. This caramelises the proteins and gives a beautiful rich flavour to your broth. Use the same method for chicken carcasses. Don’t bother for fish.

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Place the bones in the bottom of a big cauldron or slow cooker. Then deglaze your cooking pan with some hot water to get all of those delicious juices and flavours off. Tip in your hot water and rub the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon until the cooked juices lift and soften. Pour all of this over your soup bones.

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Pour the cold water and vinegar over the bones and let them sit for twenty minutes while you chop your vegetables and have a cup of tea. The acid in the vinegar helps to begin drawing the nutrients out of the bones and into the water. Now add your herbs and chopped vegetables. Here’s the packet of soup herbs I used for this broth:

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Bring the ingredients to the boil. Then turn down the heat and wait for the magic to happen. Cover and simmer slowly for a minimum of 12 hours. Top up with a little extra water if needed. I usually cook my bones broths for 24 hours – sometimes more!

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Turn off heat after allotted time and add tamari and sherry/cooking wine. Allow to cool.

Then strain off liquid and refrigerate. You can also batch the broth and freeze it.

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When the broth is cold you may choose to scoop the fat off the surface. It’s easy to do.

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What’s left behind will be a rich, gelatinous liquid – more jelly than soup. That’s all of that good collagen and gelatin enriching your broth, that will soon be enriching you.

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You may also want to pull any meat from the bones and store in fridge for use in soups, omelettes and stir fries. The meat will be stringy while hot but once it is chilled it will slice beautifully.

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Here’s my standard breakfast bone broth. I add a generous cup of cold bone broth to a saucepan, along with a handful of cold meat and broccoli florets (or whatever other green vegetable I fancy). For extra flavour I often pop in a slice or two of fresh ginger. I simmer this for two or three minutes.

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Removing the ginger I tip the broth into a bowl. It’s ready to go!

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Or for an added nutrient boost add a handful of chopped fresh herbs and vegetables such as tomato, capsicum (bell pepper) coriander and shallots/green onions/scallions.

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This is a delicious easy meal at any time of the day! Bone broth can also be drunk on its own, or added to soups, gravies, casseroles or any other recipe where you would use stock.

2014-01-10 07.38.06Hint: If you decide to make bone broth on a regular basis keep all the vegetable offcuts you would normally put in the compost from your shallots, carrots, onions, celery, beet tops etc and store them in a container in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. The carcass of your roast chicken or the lamb bone from your Sunday roast will also work well. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Easy Chicken Curry with Coconut Cream

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“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.”
~ Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder                                                       

Chicken curry is one of my go-to meals when I need something nurturing. This curry is mild, although you can ramp up the spiciness to your own taste. The recipe will serve four, and is also easily doubled. If you’re cooking for one don’t be put off by the quantities. It freezes and reheats well, and there is something very reassuring about having a few good meals waiting for you in the freezer for those days when cooking is too much effort.

I love that food can give comfort and pleasure at the same time as it is working to heal and rebuild you. This simple chicken curry is terrific for anyone healing from chronic illness, or who is suffering from exhaustion, adrenal fatigue or a low immune system. The creamy sauce delivers a multitude of good things:

  • turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory
  • garlic and onions are anti-bacterial and anti-viral
  • Coriander (cilantro) aids digestion, is an immune booster and helps detox heavy metals from the body
  • Coconut oil and coconut cream are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and support healthy heart, brain, thyroid and metabolic function
  • Carrots and pumpkin provide anti-oxidants, fibre, phyto-nutrients and loads of vitamins.

And if you’re eating for your chakras, then your Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras will be well nourished too!

But most importantly this dish is delicious, wholesome and simple to prepare.

Ingredients:

500 to 600 grams of chicken breasts or thighs (that’s about 4 chicken breasts), 2 tablespoons of coconut oil,1 large onion – chopped, 6 cloves of garlic crushed or diced, 2 large carrots chopped into pieces, 1 cup of fresh diced tomato, 2 cups of diced raw pumpkin ( or substitute potato or sweet potato) 1 to 2 cups of chicken stock, 1 x 270 gram can of coconut cream, 1 heaped tablespoon of turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons of Indian curry powder, 1 large bunch of coriander (cilantro), pinch of good salt.

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Optional: finely sliced fresh green shallots (green onions/scallions) and red capsicum (bell pepper) as a garnish – gives a big boost of vitamin c!

The funny-looking lemon below is a bush lemon from an old tree we found out in a paddock on our farm, and the tomatoes are an heirloom variety from our garden called Lemon Drop.

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Method:

Wash coriander and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Clean away the finer roots and then divide the bunch by cutting the stalks and roots away from the leaves.

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Finely chop the stalks and roots.

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Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and fry gently until fragrant but not coloured. Then add in the turmeric, coriander stalks and roots, and curry powder – 1 tablespoon for a very mild curry and 2 tablespoons (or to taste) for a stronger curry. Add a little chicken stock to moisten the pan..

Then add in the diced chicken and stir until well coated and beginning to colour.

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Tip in your can of coconut cream and one cup of the chicken stock. Then add your salt, lemon juice, carrot and pumpkin. Mix well.

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Stir through the diced tomatoes. If it seems a little dry add some more stock. Lower the heat and simmer with lid on for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking on the bottom.

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Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. If you prefer your curry to be soupier – with lots of sauce – add the remaining stock and/or top up with a little water.

The curry can be served on a bed of rice or as a hearty one-bowl meal. For a final flavour and health boost add some finely chopped coriander leaves, shallots and red capsicum as a garnish. Here’s mine – served without rice. As you can see, I like mine a little soupier.

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And here’s my bowl about half way through dinner. A lovely nurturing meal.

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This curry freezes well, and will keep in the refrigerator for four days. Enjoy!

Lemony Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks Recipe

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“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” 
~ W.C. Fields

Slow cooked food – there’s nothing better to nurture the body and comfort the spirit, and this tasty dish fits the bill perfectly. Now that there’s a chill in the air here at the farm, a nourishing warm dinner is always welcome. I’ve adapted this recipe from my Grandmother’s so that it is gluten-free. It’s a firm favourite, no matter what time of year.

This meal is good for you! The lamb shanks create a rich bone broth during the long cooking time, and the nutrients are easily absorbed by even the weakest digestive systems.  The sauce will become full of the amino acid glycine, which is great for liver detoxification and regeneration.  It’s also rich in collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which are important for artery, bone and joint health.  The gelatin produced from the well-cooked bones and cartilage helps heal leaky gut, and also reduces your need for meat and protein.

In Chinese Medicine, bone broths are considered to support the kidneys and kidney meridians, and as such are also useful for healthy teeth, bones and adrenal gland function. So if you are feeling unwell, suffering low energy or have adrenal fatigue this is a super meal for you!

This recipe uses the tang of lemon to compliment the lamb, and a dash of sweet vermouth gives the whole meal a little extra zip. (I use Cinzano Bianco but any sweet vermouth will do.)  At a pinch you could use white wine, but truly – if you can – use the vermouth.  I keep a bottle in the cupboard just for this recipe!

These lamb shanks are quick to throw together but  the secret to the silky, melt-in-your-mouth meat is to cook the whole dish slowly, over a long time-frame.  If you have a slow cooker with a timer, then chuck it all in so it’s ready when you come home from work.  This recipe is versatile enough to cook in a big saucepan on top of the stove, or in a covered casserole dish or roasting tray in your oven.  It also reheats and freezes like a charm!

Ingredients:

6 to 8 frenched or trimmed lamb shanks (this means that the end of the shank bone will have been cut off, exposing the marrow – the meat may have also been pushed away to reveal a clean bone at one end); 6 cloves of garlic, crushed; 1 carrot roughly diced; 1 stick of celery chopped; 1 large onion chopped finely; 3 dried bay leaves; 1 heaped teaspoon tumeric; 2 tablespoons of almond meal; 1 cup of good chicken stock; 1 cup of sweet vermouth; 1 to 2 tablespoons of ghee, olive  or coconut oil; juice and finely grated rind of 2 lemons; 2 tablespoons of quinoa (you could also try red lentils or pearl barley), salt and pepper

Method:

Note:  A few words of wisdom before we begin! Find a saucepan or roasting pan big enough to fit all of your lamb shanks. Of course you can also use your slow cooker – just make sure that you have checked the size of your pot BEFORE you start cooking…

Add a little oil or ghee to the bottom of a heavy-based frypan, season the meat with salt and pepper and fry off your lamb shanks in batches over medium heat so that they are lightly browned. Then arrange your meat in the cooking pot.  Poke the bay leaves in between the shanks.

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Next place your onion, carrot, garlic and celery in the frypan with a little extra oil or ghee if needed and cook until fragrant and beginning to brown slightly.

Stir through your tumeric and then add your quinoa, chicken stock, lemon zest and almond meal.  Mix well and then pour over the lamb.

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Pour your vermouth and lemon juice over the lamb shanks and vegetables – don’t worry about stirring it, it will all mix itself up during the cooking. Ladle some of the liquid over the meat.

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Cover and cook.  Don’t be put off by the long cooking times.  The longer you cook the meat the more tender it will be, and the more goodness will be imparted to the sauce.

Cook on low in a slow cooker for 6 hours.

Cook on low heat in a saucepan on the stove for 4 to 5 hours.  Turn your shanks at least once during this time, and re-baste with sauce.

Cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees celsius/ 350 degrees fahrenheit) for 30 minutes, and then reduce heat to 150 degrees celsius/ 300 degrees fahrenheit) and cook for 3 hours.  Turn your shanks at least once during this time, and re-baste with sauce.

Serve with your favourite seasonal vegetables, and some mash, rice or pasta if it suits you. A good bread to mop up the juices is always welcome too.

When cooked low and slow the marrow and gelatin from the meat help thicken the sauce. Don’t waste any of it!  Whatever is not eaten with dinner can be used as a basis for a pasta sauce, or as a gravy over other meats or vegetables.

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The meat will be so tender you will be able to flake it off the bone with just a fork.

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If you have left-over lamb shanks, you can also flake the meat off the bones, add it to the remaining sauce and then reheat this as another meal, or thin it out to make soup.

Easy soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers recipe

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“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”
~ Bernard Meltzer

You know the feeling. You need something to eat, but you’re not famished.  Or perhaps you’re tired or a bit poorly and you want a meal that’s quick and no-fuss, but healthier than a bag of chips or a handful of biscuits…

If you have eggs and bread you’re set.  This meal works for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack!

When I finally arrived home at my farm last night and found an almost bare cupboard, this was a perfect simple dinner with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice from the fruit in our orchard.

I’ve loved soft boiled eggs and dippy toast soldiers since I was a little girl and my Nana would make them for me when I went for sleep-overs at her house.  If it was cold I always got to wear her dressing gown too. Cosy, warm and loved – that’s how this old-fashioned recipe makes me feel, just like Nana’s gown.

Ingredients:

2 to 3 fresh eggs per person, one slice of bread per egg, and some butter, salt and pepper.  Egg cups to serve.

Method:

Set a saucepan of water on the stove to boil.  Add a liberal pinch of salt.  This helps to prevent the egg shells from cracking.

When the water is boiling rapidly use a slotted spoon and gently lower each egg into the water, releasing it slowly so it doesn’t bang on the bottom of the pot and crack. When all the eggs are in your pot set a timer for three minutes.

*Note on timing: my husband likes his eggs REALLY runny so I cook his for three minutes. The white will still be a little wobbly too and you’ll be able to scoop the entire egg out with your toast! I leave mine in the pot for another 30 seconds to a minute after I have taken it off the heat. This sets the white but the yolk will still have a runny centre. The picture at the top of the page is my egg (four minutes – you can see the yolk is starting to firm around the edges) and the picture below is Ben’s three minute egg – gloriously runny.  Once you get to five minutes your yolks will be quite firm and will still be delicious but you won’t be able to dip your toast in.

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While the eggs are cooking take some time to get your plates out, and place an egg cup, a knife and a teaspoon on each plate.  Put your bread in the toaster, and when it’s done to your liking butter it and slice each piece into three or four narrow fingers. (If you make them too fat they won’t fit into your egg for dunking!)

To serve place an egg in the egg cup and the spare egg beside it, and then add a pile of toast.  Use your knife to tap the side of the egg and then chop the top off, revealing the gooey yolk.  Add a grind of salt or pepper if you wish, and then take a toast ‘soldier’ and dip it into your velvety, runny egg.

Eat with gusto!

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Stir Fried Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Broccoli Recipe

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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

 

Food isn’t just food.  Food is also a healing tool.  A spiritual tool. A way to give love and care to self and others.

If you want to think about this recipe as just food then this is what you need to know:

This is a handy recipe – it works well for a vegan or vegetarian main course, or as a tasty side to accompany fish, chicken or meat.  It is equally good served cold as a salad, and is delicious when folded into the centre of an omelette.  The dish is also paleo compliant, as well as being dairy and gluten free.  Needless to say, I recommend you make up enough to enjoy some leftovers!

If you want to think of it as more than just food, this simple recipe provides instant grounding for those times when you feel frazzled, disconnected, stressed and not quite in your body. It works to soothe, nourish and centre your Solar Plexus, Heart and Crown Chakras. It’s anti-inflammatory, and nurturing for those of us with exhaustion issues and adrenal fatigue.

Ingredients for 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish:

2 cups of sliced mushrooms, 2 cups of cubed golden sweet potato, 4 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of tumeric, 2 tablespoons wheat-free Tamari Sauce, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of broccoli florets, 1 sliced red capsicum (bell pepper), 1/2 cup of raw walnuts

*Note – leave the mushrooms in thicker slices or chunks for a more satisfying texture.

Method:

Place 1/4 of the water and the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed frypan or pot over medium heat.  Toss in your sliced mushrooms, stir well and leave to cook for a minute until they begin to soften slightly.  Then add your cubed sweet potato and another 1/4 cup of water. Stir to combine, lower heat and cook five minutes until sweet potato is becoming soft.

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Increase heat again, add in the garlic, tumeric and tamari and stir well.  Then dump in the broccoli and another 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry for one minute, and then add the sliced capsicum. Continue to cook over high heat, stirring frequently and adding the final 1/4 cup of water if required. Add the walnuts, stir through, and remove from heat.

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Your easy meal is now ready to enjoy, and is packed full of good things to help you nourish and heal yourself. The flavours are simple and clean, and the food is easy to digest. Great for those with chronic fatigue, and for anyone recovering from illness. It grounds us, energetically soothes us and helps us to sleep better.

But if you don’t tell people any of that, they’ll just eat it ‘cos it tastes good!

Cream of Celery Soup Recipe

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“The thought of two thousand people crunching celery at the same time horrified me.” 
~ George Bernard Shaw

Poor George! It’s quite the visual, isn’t it.  Perhaps even worse than zombies…

Still, I digress.  Today it’s all about soup.  Soup is my go-to when I’m feeling poorly.  Easy to make, easy to eat, and you get leftovers, which keep you going when you’re in that place of needing to eat and having no energy for cooking.

This is my current twist on that good old standard, Cream of Celery Soup. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly to get some extra good stuff in there, namely coconut oil and tumeric. These two simple ingredients lift the humble celery soup into a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial goodness – perfect for warding off colds and flu bugs, and for boosting your energy and immune system. And it’s super for Lyme sufferers to help kick those borrelia bacteria suckers to the kerb!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients to serve 6 (can easily be halved for a smaller portion)

1 large bunch of celery, 4 cloves of garlic, one large or two small brown onions, 2 to 3 potatoes, 6 cups of chicken stock or vegan friendly vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon of tumeric, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and one tablespoon of butter or ghee (vegans just use extra coconut oil!), 3/4 cup of milk, cream or soy milk (your vegan option).  To serve: plain yogurt (vegans – try coconut yogurt for a heavenly flavour combo!), cracked black pepper, chopped fresh herbs such as garlic chives, parsley, or coriander (cilantro).

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Method

Cut the base from the celery and wash the stalks well.  Remove any bruised or damaged leaves.  Then cut the celery stalks, leaves and heart into small pieces. Peel the potatoes and chop into small segments.

Chop your garlic and onion, and add them to the base of a very large saucepan with the coconut oil and ghee. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes until they are softened but not coloured.  Now add in the potato, stirring to coat well with the oil, and then add the celery. Cook the vegetables over medium heat for five to ten minutes until they begin to soften, stirring every so often so they don’t catch on the bottom.

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Pour in your stock, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes.

Cool and then use a stick blender or a food processor to blend until smooth or to your liking.

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Return soup to pot. At this point, taste your soup. If you’re looking for a more traditional Cream of Celery Soup then omit the tumeric.  If you’re looking for extra complexity of flavour and a health kick, add in the tumeric, stirring well, and gently reheat. Add the milk or cream and adjust seasoning.

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To serve, ladle into bowls, add a spoonful of yogurt, a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a dusting of cracked pepper.  Can be enjoyed on its own, or with a good bread.

This soup is filling, warming and nourishing without being too heavy.  It’s medicine in a bowl, and I can attest to it tasting good as it does you good.  Enjoy!

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Easy Thai Chicken Soup Recipe

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“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”  ~ Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

Soup.  I have such a fondness for it.  Slow cooked wonders like my Heal-All Chicken Soup, or speedy delights such as Quick Prawn and Miso Soup. Today’s offering uses leftovers (hooray!) and will take you around an hour and a half, but only about ten minutes of that is prep time. I like to put my stock on the stove, and then go outside and hose the garden, take the washing off the line and other end-of-day jobs.  By the time I’m finished the soup base is done and there’s not much left to do to turn it into a meal.

This is also a great easy soup to make if you’re not feeling well.  It doesn’t take much effort, and it’s very good for you!  It will keep well in the fridge for a few days, and freezes beautifully.

 

Stock Ingredients: Carcass from a roast chicken chopped into quarters or roughly broken apart (Note: please don’t use any stuffing – if your roast still has some in the cavity pull it out and discard!), a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, two bay leaves, one leek chopped into large rings, 2 inch knob of ginger – sliced, a 2 inch piece of fresh tumeric root – sliced (if you can’t get fresh root use 1 to 2 teaspoons of powered tumeric), 1 lemon quartered, and optionally an inch of fresh galangal – sliced, if you can get some, plus salt and pepper.

Method: Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and barely cover with water. Add a small amount of salt (don’t go too crazy – you can always adjust the seasoning later) and a good grind of pepper.  The apple cider vinegar helps draw the calcium and other good minerals out of the bones, making a fast and healthy bone broth.2013-02-07 11.08.38 Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for one hour. Cool for ten minutes, while you do the preparation for part two.  Then strain out the solids, keeping just the stock itself.  If there’s any salvageable meat left on the bones feel free to pick it off and add it back into the stock. 2013-02-07 13.03.18 Thai Soup Ingredients: 1 x tablespoon of Thai red curry paste, 1 x can of coconut milk, 1 to 2 cups of diced pumpkin, 1 ear of fresh corn with the kernels removed, 1 cup of diced cooked chicken, 1 cup of fresh green beans chopped into one inch lengths, 2 green shallots chopped, 1 long red chilli sliced finely (remove the seeds if you don’t like it hot!), a dash of fish sauce or some sea salt, pinch of palm or raw sugar, 2 fresh double kafir lime leaves shredded finely. 1 extra lemon or lime cut into wedges to serve.2013-02-07 16.57.22I have a kafir lime and a chilli bush in pots outside my kitchen door, the shallots grow like weeds in the vegie patch and the pumpkin is home grown too. Even if you only have a balcony, fresh herbs you can pluck as you need them is a simple but wonderful luxury.   2013-02-07 17.01.31 Method:   Add your  Thai curry paste into the hot stock and stir until it’s aromatic.  Then dump in the coconut milk and pumpkin.  Simmer for eight to ten minutes until pumpkin is soft.  Now add in in the chicken, green beans, corn, kafir lime and half the chilli. Heat for another two minutes and test your beans – they should be cooked but not soggy.  Add a dash of fish sauce or a good grind of salt, and your pinch of sugar.  Taste and adjust as necessary.

Ladle into bowls and add a handful of the green shallots and chilli.  Squeeze some lime over the top and enjoy!2013-02-07 18.18.23

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Quick Prawn and Miso Soup Recipe

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What can be better than comfort in a bowl? Miso soup variations are one of my favourite go-to’s when I am tired, sick, time poor, or stumped for inspiration.

Feel free to play around with this simple recipe, using whatever you have to hand. This is a very nurturing, easy-to-make soup and it is packed with goodness.

Ingredients for one bowl:

1 heaped teasoon Miso paste, a shake of bonito flakes, one to 2 cups dashi (Japanese stock – which can be seaweed, mushroom or fish based) or stock of your choice, a tablespoon of dried wakame seaweed, 4 peeled green prawns,  1 fresh tomato, 1 rib of spinach, 1 large mushroom, shallots, small amount of fresh or dried soba or rice noodles

*For Vegans and Vegetarians omit prawns and use tofu, and a good vegetable stock.

Method:

Bring your stock to the boil, or use boiling water and add in stock powders, dashi and bonito. Add in the mushrooms and soba or rice noodles.  After a minute add the peeled, deveined prawns (or tofu) and tomato.  Cook a few minutes until prawns change colour and turn pretty pink.  Finally, add in miso paste mixed with a little warm water or stock, and all your greens. Stir and serve.

Note – do not boil miso or you will lose all the good bacteria.

Creatively select whatever protein and vegetables are in your cupboard or fridge, using your stock and miso as a base. The picture below has bok choi instead of spinach, no tomato, extra mushrooms, a good shake of dried chilli and a little sesame oil.  As you can see, I eat this soup quite a lot! Enjoy 🙂

prawn miso again

Heal-All Chicken Soup Recipe

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“If you’re blue, have the flu, or can’t seem to … then Chicken Soup is for you.” ~ Anon

Looking for a quick meal to throw together? This is not it!  My Heal-All Chicken Soup recipe takes time – 8 to 12 hours minimum. I make this soup as medicine in a bowl…

Home-made chicken soup is filled with nutrients, is easy to digest, and has proven anti-inflammatory ability as well as boosting your immune system (read more about that here).

The beauty of this soup is that it’s a bone broth, and over time all of the fat and water soluble minerals and good bits dissolve into this magical elixir.  One of the things this soup is chock full of is glycine. The amino acid glycine is great for liver detoxification and regeneration.  Chicken soup is rich in collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), one of which you’ve probably heard of – glucosamine – stunning for artery, bone and joint health.  The gelatin produced from dissolving bones and cartilage in the making of this soup helps heal leaky gut, and also reduces your need for meat and protein.

In Chinese Medicine, bone broths are considered to support the kidneys and kidney meridians, and as such are also useful for healthy teeth, bones and adrenal gland function. So if you have adrenal fatigue this is a super recipe for you!

Note: Where possible choose organic and fresh local produce. 🙂

You’ll need the following equipment and ingredients:

A large saucepan or crockpot and a colander

Ingredients – First Step

1 whole chicken – best if organic and free range, one onion chopped into quarters (I use a brown onion and leave the skin on), a tablespoon of peppercorns or cracked black pepper, three bay leaves, two large celery stalks, two carrots, a bunch of parsley, a large twist of lemon rind, up to 8 cloves of garlic (don’t be afraid of garlic – garlic is your body’s friend), two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Note – The vinegar is important for helping extract the calcium and other minerals from the bones.

Method:

Place chicken in your large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add in your peppercorns, vinegar and bay leaves. Leave this sit while you prepare the rest of your vegetables.

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Lightly crush the garlic under a heavy bladed knife, peel off the skins and toss the whole cloves into the pot.  Then roughly chop your celery and carrots and add that in with the parsley and onion. Take a large slice of skin off a lemon and throw that in too.

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Bring the water slowly to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.  Cover and let cook for 2 to 3 hours.

Turn off heat, and let stand for ten minutes, then carefully remove chicken from pot, placing on a large dish until it cools enough to handle.

Strip as much flesh as you can from the bones, setting the skin to one side. Reserve the cooked chicken meat, cover and place in the refrigerator. Then add the skin and bones back into the pot.

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Bring the broth back to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on very low heat for 6 to 8 hours.

Cool, and strain the broth into a large container. Pick over the bones if you want to retain any more chicken flesh, and then discard the strained contents.  I often leave my stock to cool in the saucepan overnight and finish it the next day. This is a sensible idea if you want to complete the second step and make a full bodied meat and vegetable soup.

The soup is now ready to serve as a simple broth, or to use in other recipes as a stock base. It also freezes well.

Ingredients – Second Step

6 to 8 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, fleshy part of half a leek, one onion, one to two parsnips, up to one cup of diced pumpkin or sweet potato, some of the reserved chicken meat, another bunch of parsley, the remaining lemon, 1/2 cup of pearl barley, brown rice or pasta/small noodles of your choice (optional).

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Method:

Pour the broth back into the saucepan. Finely chop your garlic and onion and add that into the pot.Cut the lemon in half and drop that in too.

Then chop your chicken meat and other vegetables into small pieces and place in pot. Finely chop the parsley, and reserve some to sprinkle over your cooked soup.  Add the rest into your soup.

If you want, you can add in some pearl barley, rice or pasta for extra body.  This turns the soup into a filling meal, but it is also fine to leave out so that the soup is more of a broth consistency.

Bring the pot up to a simmer and then cover and cook for one hour. If you’ve added barley or rice etc, give the soup a good stir a few times during the cooking process to move things up off the bottom of the pot. Top up with a little water if needed, but if the heat is low and the lid is on you probably won’t need to do this.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the lemon halves and discard. Serve soup with some of the reserved fresh parsley sprinkled over the top. The soup can be refrigerated for two to three days – just remove individual portions to heat up, and it also freezes well. Eat and enjoy. Wishing you the best of health! ♥ Nicole xx

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