Tel +27 (021) 880 1444 | Fax +27 (021) 880 0291 | P.O. Box 12602, Die Boord, Stellenbosch, 7613
At a time when cooks were wise to the ways of food as medicine, the kitchen was seen as a veritable treasure chest of simple yet effective preparations. These same recipes work as well today as they did in the past.
The kitchen is undoubtedly the cosiest place to be as the weather cools. Even the sound of hearty winter meals gently bubbling away offers reassuring comfort during chilly spells. But, the onset of winter also heralds the beginning of the sniffle season.
While a healthy diet ensures the best defence against a variety of winter complaints, there are those times when seasonal bugs simply get the better of us. Colds, flu, aches and pains visit all of us from time to time, but many ingredients already in your pantry have been used since antiquity to lend welcome relief from those unpleasant winter woes. In fact, people are often pleasantly surprised at how effectual they are without the use of conventional chemical ingredients.
Here is a collection of some fabulous kitchen concoctions from around the world that celebrate the idea of the kitchen as apothecary – and as a first port of call when the season leaves you feeling a little under the weather.
HERBAL HOT TODDYThere is nothing quite like a cup of hot steaming brew to remind you that you are not going to feel lousy for long. This alcohol-free toddy is a cheering infusion of common kitchen staples that is gentle enough to be sipped throughout the day without causing any unwanted side-effects or drowsiness. The ginger and cayenne are gently warming and help to improve circulation, the garlic and lemon help to boost the immune system, and thyme protects and soothes the respiratory tract. Make larger batches of the basic brew and heat as needed and then add the remaining ingredients to each cup – not forgetting the spoonful of honey, of course, to help the medicine go down.
Basic brew750 ml water½ cup ginger, washed and sliced4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme2 garlic cloves, wholeFor each cup2 tbsp lemon juice1 tsp raw honeyPinch of cayenne pepper
Method1. Place all tea ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes. 2. Place the lemon, honey and cayenne pepper in a cup for each serving. Strain tea into the cup and stir until honey is dissolved. Drink hot and reserve remaining liquid for future use.
TURNIP AND HONEY COUGH SYRUPTurnips are an excellent ingredient in any hearty soup and a welcome addition to the winter pantry. The slightly pungent juice of turnips is also a wonderful natural expectorant. As a child I remember my mother making this syrup for me to soothe a particularly nasty cough which conventional medications had failed to ease, and I still use it today.
The recipe is based on an old Middle Eastern remedy for unproductive coughs and can be safely administered to children of all ages. Adding the honey or sugar to the sliced turnip will draw out the expectorant juices to make an extremely affordable remedy for persistent coughs.
Ingredients1 turnip, thinly sliced¼ cup raw honey (or brown sugar)
Method1. Layer a few slices of turnip in a bowl. Sprinkle with a little sugar (or drizzle with honey).2. Repeat layers and allow to stand for at least 4 hours. 3. Take 2 teaspoons of the syrup every 1 to 2 hours until symptoms abate.
TIP: Don’t throw away your turnip greens, they are an excellent source of vitamin C and protective phytonutrients that can add an extra immune boost to any soup.
GARLIC OIL EAR SALVEGarlic and olive oil are the basis of scrumptious Mediterranean seasoning, but they also make a knockout combination to ease the discomfort of mild ear infections. The antimicrobial qualities of garlic are well documented, and olive oil provides comforting relief to an inflamed ear canal. In addition, the oil will soften any build-up of wax in the ear so that it may be gently expelled. Be mindful never to pour any oil directly into the delicate ears – a little dab of cotton wool into the infused oil to make an earplug is all that is needed to let this simple combination work its magic.
Ingredients¼ cup extra virgin olive oil2 cloves garlic
Method1. Pre-heat oven to 100ºC. Place a saucer on a baking tray (this will allow easy transfer to the oven) and pour the olive oil into the saucer.2. Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise and place cut side down on the saucer.3. Place in the oven and turn off the heat. Allow to stand for at least one hour to infuse.4. Dab a small amount of cotton wool lightly in the oil and use to plug the ear – slighty warm oil is best. Keep the mixture for 3 to 4 days before replacing. Never put very cold oil into the ear. Never drop or pour directly into ears.
WARMING MUSTARD BATHColds and flu are often accompanied by muscular aches and pains, and this traditional English mixture offers a warm hug to weary bones. The ancient Greeks, Romans and the Ayurvedic tradition have all used mustard in this way. It is so easy to prepare in large batches and is the best way to use up any unused mustard powder or bicarbonate of soda that may have be lingering on your shelves. It is an excellent addition to a hot steamy bath on days when you feel chilled to the bone, or even when you feel like a little winter pampering. Add two to three drops of eucalyptus oil just before stepping in for added aromatic bliss.
Ingredients¼ cup English mustard powder½ cup coarse sea salt½ cup bicarbonate of sodaMethodCombine ingredients together and place in an airtight container. Use ¼ cup mixture per bath and soak for 10 to 15 minutes
Tip: A sore throat can signal the onset of a cold or flu. To soothe an irritated throat look no further than the seasoning shelf. Make a strong infusion using one heaped teaspoon of sage to a cup of water. Steep for 10 minutes and gargle with the strained liquid.
Caution: Be responsible with natural recipes. Any symptoms that persist should never be second guessed. Seek the advice of your primary health carer.
BAKED COCONUT & LIME CHEESECAKE
INGREDIENTSBase100 g raw hazelnuts, ground150 g desiccated coconut¼ cup butter, melted
Filling500 g plain smooth cottage cheese2 limes, juice and zest½ cup coconut cream1 vanilla pod, cut in half, seeds scraped or 1 tsp vanilla paste2 free-range eggsToasted coconut shavings for decorating
MethodPre-heat oven to 180ºC.Line a 23 cm spring form tin with baking paper and grease.Combine all base ingredients. Press firmly into the tin. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden.Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC. Whisk all the filling ingredients together and blend well.Pour mixture over base and bake for 35 minutes. Chill for three hours so the cheesecake can set.
SPICY AVO SOUPIngredients2 medium avocados2 cups vegetable stock3 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice½ cup coriander leaves1 garlic clove, crushed1 tsp ground cumin¼ tsp cayenne pepper1 red chilli, dressed and finely choppedHerb salt and ground black pepper
Garnish8 to 12 prawns, cooked¼ cup plain yoghurt or crème fraîche2 tbsps chives, chopped
MethodBlend all ingredients together until smooth and refrigerate for two hours.To serve – garnish with yoghurt, prawns and chives.Can be served hot or cold. If serving hot – blend, heat and serve.
Fresh juices that are packed with valuable vitamins and minerals come into their own during the winter months. The recipes here will not only give you that extra spring in your step and gorgeous glow to your skin, but they will also give your immune system a hefty boost to protect you against winter colds and flu.
The Juice Master’s Ultimate Smoothie
This really is the ultimate. Rich in beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, chlorophyll, essential fats, good proteins and excellent carbohydrates, it’s also brimming with antioxidants. If making for one simply halve all ingredients.
Ingredients4 Golden Delicious apples2 sticks celery4 carrots1 cup spinach1 cup broccoli½ yellow pepper½ orange pepper¼ lime, peeledFlesh of 1 ripe avocadoHandful of ice
MethodJuice 3 of the apples, the celery, carrots, spinach, broccoli, peppers and lime. Place the avocado in a blender together with the juice and add the ice. Whiz for 1 minute, pour into a glass and enjoy!
Although very filling, it’s incredibly easy for the body to digest.
SourceVale J. The juice master: turbo-charge your life in 14 days. London: Thorsons. 2005.
Green Means GoGet up and go in this case. I’m sure the thought of having green vegetables for breakfast is quite alien for many of you. However, this juice is beautifully sweet and packed with power. It’s a great choice for when you want to get out there and show them what you are made of!The combination of pineapple and apple makes it a fantastic system cleanser as well as packing it with vitamin C, dietary fibre, folic acid and beta-carotene. The spinach gives a small amount of viscous juice, but you don’t need much of this mineral-packed vegetable. Spinach also contains more protein than most other vegetables. The ginger root is a great aid to digestion and will help settle any nauseous feelings in the morning. The lime gives this juice a great kick as well as providing it with folic acid, beta-carotene, vitamin C and calcium.
Ingredients1 small pineapple, topped, tailed and peeled2 apples of your choice4 good handfuls of spinach2½ cm root ginger5 cm fennel¼ limeHandful of ice
MethodCut the pineapple and apples into feeder chute-size pieces and juice. A handy tip (depending on your juicer) is to bunch the spinach up really tightly in the feeder and follow it by feeding through something hard like the apples – it just makes juicing a little easier on the machine. Put the ginger, fennel and lime through midway as well to make sure you get all the juice from them. Once all juiced, pour into a tall glass over the ice and get going!SourceVale J. The juice master: turbo-charge your life in 14 days. London: Thorsons. 2005.
The Juice Master’s Green Power SmoothieAlthough similar to the Turbo-charge Smoothie, the addition of ginger, lemon, different apples and more celery makes a subtle change. Again, this is a meal in a glass, so take your time with it and drink only enough to make you full – don’t think the more you drink the better because that’s not how the body works.Ingredients2 sticks celery½ small cucumber3 Royal Gala apples2½ cm fresh ginger2 cups spinach½ small pineapple, peeled½ lemon, peeledFlesh of 1 ripe avocadoSmall handful of ice
MethodJuice everything apart from the avocado and ice. Pour the juice into a blender along with the ice and avocado and give a good whiz. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Reddy, steady, go!Freshly extracted apple, beetroot, broccoli, celery, cucumber, pineapple and lime juiceRaw beetroot is not on top of most kids’ wish lists on the food front, but it is unbelievably good for them. Once again, this is where juicing comes into its own. When you juice raw beetroot it gives a gorgeous deep red colour and the taste is surprisingly sweet. It’s not one you would drink on its own, but mixed with a few other veg and a serving of fruit, you can fool any kid into believing that they are having a nice berry juice! Reddy, Steady, Go! is a wonderful recipe, full of veg, yet it tastes like fruit – a parent’s dream. Designed to get the kids ‘ready’ for anything; to have a ‘steady’ supply of nature’s fuel going into their systems and to give them that juice ‘go’.
Ingredients2 apples (Golden Delicious or Royal Gala)1 small raw beetroot1 small broccoli stem½ celery stick2½ cm slice cucumberI cm slice pineapple (diced to fit into feeder)1 lime (peeled)Ice
MethodPut one apple in the chute followed by the beetroot, broccoli, celery, cucumber, pineapple, lime and then ‘sandwich’ with the other apple. Juice the lot, then add ice to cool. All juices taste better when cool, especially veggie ones!Juicy Note: You can juice pineapple with the skin on, it just depends if your juicer can take it. Oh, and don’t forget to wash it well.Look what’s in it? Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C and E, iron, calcium, sodium, manganese, chlorine, bioflavonoids, potassium, folic acid, boron, ellagic acid, carotenes, amino acids, natural sugars and antioxidants.How will it juice the little ones! Beetroot is one of nature’s finest blood builders. The nutrients in this juice are good for young brain function, great for their growing bones, extremely hydrating (an excellent natural diuretic); they are also antibacterial, help with constipation, and are excellent for nails, hair and skin. This is an all-round amazing juice.
Juicy Note: If your kids’ ‘poo’ turns red, don’t panic – it’s the beetroot. (Of course, if this should continue, see your GP.)
Click here to browse or order previous issues