Mid-season sniffles are the worst. You can’t tell if it’s only an allergy or if you’re laden with pathogens, but either way, I’m sure we can all agree that the feeling is beyond atrocious. While I won’t pretend that this is a substitute for medication (yes – take your medicine!) I’m still a little old-school when it comes to sickness, and have a belief that nature has the cure to everything, and there’s nothing like old-fashioned soup to help you along the way to recovery if you feel unwell. I’ve added a modern twist to the old here though; my mother (and everyone’s mother, I’m sure) would’ve tried to cure me with chicken soup and, while it got the job done, isn’t the most practical thing if you’re in a hurry in this day and age. I’m sticking to veggies here, no butter, no oil, and a few good spices, just to make the soup easy on the digestive system. My other belief – which, to my smug delight, is actually scientifically proven – is that while you’re unwell, you should feed your body something easy to digest, so your energy is focused on healing, rather than digesting. Vegetables, with the absence of excessive fat and proteins, make the ideal food in this case, because of the easy digestion process. That’s one less discomfort to worry about!
So, why the focus on spices? Well… spices have a world of properties lingering in them; anti-inflammatories, expectorants, natural anti-fungals, anti-bacterials, anti-virals, and a range of minerals and some vitamins. The list of properties for each spice goes on and I’m particularly focused here on turmeric, cumin, garlic, and fresh ginger. Together, they’re a flu-fighting force, and coupled with the fresh lemon juice that goes into each serving, it’s a makeover for your body – but on the inside. If your throat is sore, the relief is almost immediate. My advice? Drink a hot bowl of this with a generous squeeze of lemon before you sleep. You’ll thank me in the morning.
500g packet of frozen vegetables (ideally a combination of carrots, zucchinis, potatoes, peas, and celery. You can chop up fresh vegetables too – I opt for frozen for speed and convenience with this recipe, so either one works)
1 large purple shallot or red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
4 cups water or broth
Salt to taste
I large (or 2 small) lemon
In a pot on the stove, pour water or broth over your frozen vegetables, and with the heat on high, wait until it boils
Add shallots or onions, minced garlic, parsley, ginger, and spices. Stir until incorporated and leave the heat on high until everything is boiling together.
Reduce heat to medium, and leave to simmer uncovered for 10—15 minutes, until vegetables are soft, and water starts to reduce. Add salt to taste. (I like my soups thick, but feel free to add extra liquid if you like yours runnier).
Serve hot with the juice of a lemon. I also like to leave a few slices of lemon floating around in my soup for extra tang.