Well it's that time of year again when the mornings are dark and cold. The drive to work is encumbered by fog. And the dreaded lurgy (commonly known as a cold) begins to emerge.
Fortunately for my readers, I've been unfortunate enough to be hit with a viral throat infection. I say fortunate, because it has inspired me to share some of my tips for surviving the winter chills.
When we're feeling a little weary and achy, our throat feels dry and scratchy and our chest feels raw from coughing, all we really want is to be warm, comfortable and oblivious to the usual day to day routine by which we live our lives. Therefore, it's important to be prepared so that when the time comes, we can whip up (or defrost) some soup, don our favourite dressing gown and hunker down on the couch with a box of tissues and endless hours of entertainment in the form of DVDs.
When I feel the lurgy coming on, there are two soups I generally create: pumpkin with lots of garlic, chilli and honey, or coconut and chicken with lots of garlic and chilli. Notice the common ingredients? When I was a nanny in London, the family I worked for always made an excruciatingly spicy curry whenever they thought they were developing the winter chills. That was fine for the parents, but when four year old Oliver got the sniffles there was no way I was going to force him to eat the curry his dad made for him! None-the-less, the idea of eating spicy food to help combat colds at an early stage has stuck with me.
Coconut Chilli Chicken Soup
2 cans of coconut milk
1 stick of lemon grass, roughly chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 chicken thighs (fillets are easiest)
2 large spring onions, roughly chopped
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
Place the coconut milk, lemon grass, chilli, garlic and chicken in a heavy based pan and slowly bring to a boil. Simmer gently for approximately 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (see note). Season then add the spring onions and coriander to the pan, stir, turn off the heat and serve.
Note: If using chicken thighs on the bone, simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on to poach the chicken; when done, shred the meat from the bone using a fork and return to the pan. If using thigh fillets, slice into strips and cook as per instructions above (the strips will take less time to cook).