Wednesday 22 December 2010

Quirky Cough Syrup

This cough syrup is my own concoction and the recipe is derived from the ingredients in the basic honey lemon cough remedies from the supermarket and ... a chicken soup that has a hell of an effect on colds.
All the ingredients are for loosening up a chesty cough and to get rid of the phlegm.

You need:
2 jars of honey 400g each
3 medium sized onions
Ginger (the size of a big thumb)
fresh Thyme & Sage (small handful)
2-3 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Glycerine
a small to medium sized cooking pot
a sieve

Keeps well in fridge.
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hour

Fill one jar of honey into the pot add
  • peeled and thinly sliced onions
  • peeled and thinly sliced ginger
and bring to boil.
Careful it bubbles and boils over easily!

Let it simmer on lowest heat for about 45 minutes to an hour. Check on it once in a while so it doesn't get too dark or bubbles too much. On a gas cooker a heat diffuser can be useful. Wash the Thyme and Sage, but dry it off as well as possible. Sage is very strong, so if you don't particularly like it go easy on it. Otherwise use about 2/3 Thyme and 1/3 Sage or even 1/2 and 1/2.

When the onions have become golden/brown, turn the heat off and add the herbs. Let cool
  • lemon juice
  • Glycerine
and put trough a sieve.
Mix well with the second jar of honey and fill back into the honey jars to keep it in the fridge.

Some info regarding the procedure:
By boiling the onions and ginger all the phlegm dissolving bits go into the honey. However, honey contains a lot of good things as well which get destroyed by boiling. So I only use half the honey to heat up and the rest goes into it when cold.

The herbs go into the heat but are not boiled, like brewing a tea to get all the essential oils out without destroying them.

Lemon juice is added to firstly make it more palatable, secondly to liquidise the concoction for easier sieving, and it is soothing on the throat. You can easily add more lemon juice, but you don't want to have the syrup too liquid.

Glycerine is soothing for a sore throat.

How to use it:
I either just take a teaspoon full and let it slowly dissolve in the mouth, like a usual cough syrup, and I do so whenever I feel like it.
I put a good teaspoon into a cup, add lemon juice to tast and add just enough hot water so that it becomes a hot sweet/sour drink. You will have to try out the amount. If the first sip already feels good, you got it right.

Friday 3 December 2010

Sudorific Chicken Soup

Variation from the Telly

Recipe suitable for:
7 portions
1 hour

2 hours

Calories per bowl 750ml:

  • 1 whole chicken or
    8-9 chicken pieces (thigh/drumstick)
  • 3 pack = 350-400g Shitake mushrooms
  • 6 medium - big onions
  • 2-3 leek
  • 2 decent thumbs of ginger
  • 2-3 medium hot chilli pods
  • chicken stock (cubes)
  • 2l water
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 150g Goji Berries
  • rice

You may want to adjust the amount of ginger and the chilli. The above gives a decent to hot heat. If you don't like hot food then take most of the chilli seeds out. 

This is a very simple to cook dish which can be kept in the fridge for several days and heats up in the microwave very well. We usually have it for 3 days with 2 people.
Take a big pot (6l or so) and chop:

All that should nicely help against coughs and colds!

  • the mushrooms,
  • the leek,
  • the ginger,
  • the onions,
  • the leek
  • and the chilli.
I finish with the chilli because I want to avoid touching anything that has chilli on it. This way I don't have to clean the chopping board inbetween.

There are no rules regarding the shape, but I like things stripy. So I chop everything lengthwise. For the chillies I use fork and a kitchen knife. Some disposable rubber gloves are a good helper as well - and be careful that no seeds jump on the floor when you have kids or pets around.

To prepare the leeks chopp of the bottom bit to get rid of stalky root bits.

Then remove the outer layer.

To get rid of the dark green leaves, slice round the neck where the outer dark green leaves open. The darker the tougher the material and the very dark bits need removing without losing the brighter bits.

From the inner brighter green leaves chust chop off the tip.

Then slice the whole stem lengthwise starting from the bottom and hold it neatly together at the bottom bit.

Rinse under the tap using the other hand fluffing only the green tips to get the soil out.
If it has a stalky middle bit take it out while trying to keep the layers in position.

Dry gently on a kitchen towel.

Slice into half rings.

Then add 2 litres of water and the chicken stock as advised for the 2l on the packaging, but stay a bit on the lesser side. I prefer to add some liquid concetrated stock to the finished soup as needed.

Rinse the chicken and add to the pot. It will add some flavour and thus it is better to not overwhelm it with stock granules at the beginning. 

Heat the soup to boil and then let simmer for 2 hours

Soak the berries, they will be soft by the time the soup is finished

Start preparing the rice so that it will be finished by the time the soup is done.

10 minutes before the soup is done take a whole garlic, peel and finely chop.

When the soup is done take it off the heat
  • fish out the chicken,
  • add the berries including the water,
  • the garlic
  • and chicken stock (concentrate or granules) to taste
Get the meat of the bone, cut to bite size pieces and put it back into the soup.


Then very briefly heat the soup up again, put into bowls, add some rice and...


PS: found another blog about Chicken Soup and the author found another source of proof for the medicinal use of chicken soup. Ha!