Friday 7 November 2014

Pick me up soup

For NaBloPoMo November 2014 my challenge is to upload a post every day thoughout the month. That's 30 days and 30 posts. The more page views I get per day the more money I will donate to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT). Help support my challenge by logging on daily and donating directly 

Yesterday's total page views: 82 (come on people that's rubbish!) 

Can you believe we're a week into November and it's only about 6 weeks till Christmas. How scary is that! I really feel like winter has crept up on me this year but I guess that's partly because we've been spoilt with particularly mild weather. But this week has been awful. I actually had to de-ice my car yesterday (I suppose it doesn't help that I leave home by 7am). I wore my furry winter boots to work and there was a point in my commute where I wished I had picked up my ear muffs. And in addition to all the extra clothing the other joyous thing the winter brings is germs! I can almost see them around me, on the escalator hand rail at the station, in the tube or on the door handles at work. When I see people coughing and spluttering next to me on the train I almost wish I could 'borrow' surgical masks from work and wear them home. But I know there's no avoiding it. So the key is to protect yourself. WASH YOUR HANDS! Trust me it helps. None of that antibacterial stuff, although I do carry that around in abundance. Just good old soap and water and a thorough hand washing technique. Guidelines say it should take between 40-60 seconds to wash your hands properly. Try it, it's a long time!! And being in direct patient contact I must wash my hands a minimum of 15 times a day. They are so dry now, I really must get some better handcream! 

Anyway, apart from OCD hand hygiene the other key is improving your immune system. And what better way than through your diet. I'm a convert to the use of turmeric. My mum told me that if you feel a sore throat coming swallow 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric (this is actually very hard to do as it just sticks to your tongue) followed by a gulp of water to wash it down. This is the best home remedy I have ever come across. I suggest it to everyone that ever mentions to me that they are coming down with something and I have even been known to take a little pot of turmeric to poorly friends' house in case they don't have any! My other home remedy tip is allium sativum. Don't worry it's nothing illegal, it's only garlic! N and I are huge believers in the power of garlic. I know it can be antisocial but we eat it in abundance, particularly when we feel like we are coming down with something. Like today. We both felt like we were fighting off something. My remedy was homemade chicken and leek soup with loads of garlic. It's just what I needed, I feel better already! 

Chicken and Leek soup
(Serves 2 | total prep and cooking time 35-40 mins)

- 2 chicken breast fillets
- a small onion - roughly chopped 
- loads of garlic (I used 5 large cloves) - roughly chopped
- 1 large or 2 medium leeks - chopped into thick slices
- 1 large potato - chopped into large pieces
- 1 Knorr chicken stock pot dissolved into 750 ml (or you can use a stock cube)
- chopped parsley 
- oil for frying
- black pepper

- Fry the onions and garlic in a deep saucepan
- Add the leek and potatoes and cook for a few mins
- Add the chicken breasts and stock. Stir. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked and potatoes are soft
- Remove the chicken from the pan and pour the rest of the soup in a jug blender and blend until smooth(ish). You can also use a hand blender, although I hate these! I have never got the hang of not spraying myself with food!
- Cut the chicken into small pieces. If you cut along the grain of the chicken breast it should 'shred' quite easily 
- Return the blended soup and chicken into the saucepan. Add the chopped parsley and black pepper, and boiling water if you wish to make the soup thinner
- Serve with crusty bread or for an extra garlic boost try my garlic bread recipe (April 2012) 

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