One of the things about being ill is that you tend to want foods that nurture you and make you feel better. One way I’ve found to do this effectively and goes back to my childhood is soup. There are soups in just about every culture and country in the world, from hearty meals in a bowl, to delicate vichychoisse, gazpacho, veloute, peanut soup, miso, sobo noodle, the list goes on. My family favourite is a simple broccoli soup that has four core ingredients which you can add to as you wish and depending on what you have available in your fridge/cupboard:
1 head of calabrese broccoli or 500g other type of broccoli
1 large carrot, cut into small batons.
1 medium onion chopped
Good stock made with either a stock from previous cooking or 2-3 good quality stock cubes
Cut the broccoli, including the stalk and any leaves which has a lot of vitamins and minerals and put into a pot of cold water with the carrot and onion. You can also add 1-2 potatoes to make it thicker if you wish at this stage. Add the stock or stock cubes. If you add 3 stock cubes do not add any more salt as the stock cubes already have enough salt. As this comes to the boil, lower the flame and allow this to simmer slowly for about 20 minutes. At this stage you can add bacon, or chicken or pork or leave it as a vegetarian soup.
Once all the ingredients have been cooked through thoroughly I use a stick blender to liquidise the ingredients, taking care it doesn’t splash up and burn. I taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed adding a small teaspoon of monosodium glutamate to give body and then serve with a crusty piece of bread and/or cheese.
I realise some people may feel uncomfortable about using monosodium glutamate but it has been given a bad press. Like anything else if you use it to extremes it isn’t healthy, but what it does is to being a sense of roundedness and fullness to a soup. I would counsel against using any more than a small teaspoon as it will emphasize the saltiness in a dish and give it a “soapy” taste – not good.
Many countries such as the UK try and encourage its citizens to eat more fresh fruit & vegetables, I think this is a simple and effective way of getting a couple of portions of vegetables and you don’t feel you’re wading through loads of vegetables just to get healthy. Enjoy.