My hair is a free-for-all, to be chewed on, judged and discussed without compunction or reserve. I’m asked on a regular basis if it’s natural (because you think I would I chose it?), if it’s wet, if it’s dry, if it’s just been to the hairdresser and if it hasn’t. In some parts of the world, people come and stroke it like a strange woolly pet. A rather uncharming old lady who lives nearby actually uses the word ‘mop’ when referring to it, which she does every time I see her. And Luc said the other day ‘it just really suits you – it’s chaotic’. This was meant as a compliment (wtf?). The assistant in a posh haircare shop not long ago suggested, without a hint of irony, that I could ‘always try using a comb’ when I asked for advice on how to tame it. And to add insult to injury, Hugo chews on it in much the same way that he chews on Java’s ears.
A number of studies have been conducted on the usefulness of chicken soup (aka Jewish penicillin) in warding off and treating cold and flu viruses. It appears that the soup inhibits the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection. The theory is, that by inhibiting the migration of these infection-fighting cells in the body, chicken soup essentially helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms by reducing inflammation.
The researchers couldn’t identify the exact ingredient or ingredients in the soup that made it effective against colds but say it may be the combination of vegetables and chicken that work together.
Make what you will of the research, but at the very least, chicken soup with vegetables contains lots of healthy nutrients, is easy to digest, increases hydration and tastes delicious.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 leeks, washed and cut into rounds
1 fennel bulb, washed and cut
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
4 carrots, peeled and cut
200g cabbage, shredded
1 red pepper or chilli pepper, cut into strips
2 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons turmeric
1.5 litres chicken stock
2 tablespoons Pernod (optional)
300g pre-roasted chicken, skin removed and shredded
100g frozen peas
2 serving of pre-cooked brown rice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gently brown the onions, shallots, garlic and leeks in the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish. Once browed, add the fennel, butternut squash, carrots, cabbage and chilli pepper and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the thyme, ginger, turmeric, chicken stock and Pernod and bring to a simmer. Once the vegetables are almost cooked, add the chicken and frozen peas and continue to cook for another ten minutes. Add the brown rice towards the end of cooking, season with the salt and pepper and serve piping hot.