Sunday, November 28, 2010

Immnue Boosting/Sinus Blasting

Tough on sinus infection causing nasties but very easy on digestion.

Perhaps not for the feint-hearted (feint-taste-budded?)

  • Brown rice boiled with cinnamon, cardamom and salt.
  • Once cooked, add a teaspoon (or more) of coconut oil and toss in some fresh red chilli, raw garlic, raw ginger and raw chives.

Now, sit back and breathe easy! :-)

the more you cut them,
the more they grow.

"It's a kind of magic!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tea infsuion for a sore throat and cough

This worked incredibly well for me,
lessening the painful symptoms of a sore and swollen throat
by three-quarters within two hours of drinking it.

Using my intuition (or perhaps Divine guidance),
I gathered up fresh herbs from the garden
combined with what I had in my pantry to create a herbal tea infusion.
It was only after it worked to soothe my throat and ease my cough
that I researched the individual properties of each ingredient
and discovered why it had, indeed, worked so well.

I consider this to be a small miracle!

  • Add a jasmine green and peppermint tea bag to a tea pot.
  • Infuse the tea with a large slice of ginger, 2 green cardamom pods (crushed slightly), a sprig of lavender, a few fresh basil/rosemary/oregano leaves and cinnamon (I didn't have sticks, so I used ground cinnamon).
  • When at drinking temperature, add a teaspoon of manuka honey.
Other tips:
  • Chew and swallow fresh ginger for an added throat soother (beware the burn).
  • Take turmeric root capsules and l-glutamine to support your immune system. Solgar's is both gluten and corn-free.
  • Two drops of lavender essential oil diluted in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil is useful for soothing itchy, sore ears.

Why does this work?
  • Green tea: said to be a good antioxidant, as well as a stimulant (due to it's caffeine content).
  • Peppermint tea: menthol content is useful in warding off the common cold, while the minty taste soothes a burning throat.
  • Fresh ginger: considered an effective cure for coughing, congestion and colds. Also helpful for nausea.
  • Green cardamom: used to treat and prevent throat troubles.
  • Lavender: when used topically or taken internally, it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Fresh basil: antiviral, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Useful in the treatment of asthma.
  • Fresh rosemary: antioxidant. Contains camphor which acts as a cough suppressant.
  • Fresh oregano: antiseptic and antimicrobial, said to be palliative for sore throats.
  • Manuka honey: antibacterial.
  • Turmeric root powder: antiseptic and antibacterial. Used as a blood cleanser (I take this daily in order to keep painful underarm hidradenitis suppurativa in remission).
  • L-glutamine: aids recovery from illness and keeps the white blood cells functioning happily.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Garden delights from nature's pantry

My inspiration this week comes from our garden.
I'd like to share with you some useful tips for using what nature provides,
not only to boost your immune system,
but also to aid in soothing a specific ailment, as well as to add taste/flavour to your food.

It was Hippocrates who said: "Let your food be your medicine
and your medicine be your food."

This hasn't been a good year health-wise for me. I've had two severe respiratory tract infections, both times treated with antibiotics, which have had a range of noticeable side-effects. So, after coming down with a nasty throat infection and cough over the weekend (and refusing to go to the doctor), I decided to turn to our garden for medicinal inspiration.

No over-exagerating here, but within two hours of making an infusion (whose recipe I'll share with you during the week), my symptoms had lessened by three-quarters!

Today's post focuses on Vitamin C, a useful antioxidant; co-factor for enzymes and natural antihistamine. This vitamin is available in most fresh fruits and veggies, but is best if foraged fresh from your own garden.

Chilli plants, aside from making pretty flowers, make peppers useful for adding heat to dishes. They provide a great natural dose of Vitamin C and help to open one's sinuses!

Calamondin oranges, aside from being tiny and ornamental, provide a good dose of Vitamin C and are really useful in the kitchen...

...Over a low heat, pan fry chicken breasts in a little cold-pressed coconut oil and calamondin juice; adding the tiny, thin orange peels which will become caramelised and add great flavour.

Turnips are an under-rated vegetable, often viewed only as feed for pigs. An easy to grow root vegetable, turnips harvested while young are soft, tasty and delicious. Again, these offer a dose of Vitamin C (about 27mg per 100g).

Cut the green tops off of the turnips; wash any dirt off; and then roast the baby turnips whole in a 180 degree Celsius oven drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt for about 30 minutes. Delicious!

Oh-so-pretty cherry tomatoes. So easy to grown and yummy to eat; tomatoes supply lycopene (an antioxidant) and Vitamin C.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When cookbooks speak to you with their covers

Foodie eye-candy...

I gave in to the siren calls of numbers 3 and 4 above :-)

Spotted this little guy patiently waiting
outside a bookshop for his two-legged friend -
what a cutesie!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Lemongrass & ginger creme brulee

Work busyness and lack-of-sweet-toothiness has meant that my kitchen baking creativity has been amiss of late. So this week's recipe comes courtesy of my talented sister-in-law, Kirstin, (pictured below at the Hamilton Botanical Gardens in New Zealand), who I recently had the pleasure of meeting for the first time while travelling to Australasia.

Aussie born Dr K is quite a dab hand in the kitchen, who (appears to) enjoy effortlessly cooking up a storm together with her hubby, Dr A (my hubby's bro). They own the most beautiful and funky Asian-inspired bowls (as pictured), which I secretly covet. :-)

Creme Brulee

  • 600 mls cream (heated till scalding point and infused with lemongrass/ginger)
  • 1/4 cup of castor sugar and 6 egg yolks (creamed together)

  1. Combine above and sieve (to remove any bits of cooked egg or milk skin).
  2. Place in 6 ramekins.
  3. Blow torch off the air bubbles.
  4. Place a tea towel on the bottom of an oven tray.
  5. Heat oven to 120-130 degrees Celsius and bake for 30-40 minutes till brulee is set on edges/slightly wobbley in middle (each person's oven is different, so you may need to modify this).
  6. Refrigerate.
  7. When good and set and ready to serve, sprinkle demerara sugar on top and caramelise with a blow torch (or under a hot grill).

Personal note:
My sincere gratitude to Kirstin and Alex for unfailingly providing the most awesome gluten-free and corn-free food during our visit. We had an awesome time from start to finish!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sensory Decadence in Sydney

Iced Guylian coffee

Belgian waffle with Guylian chocolate dip (African ebony 70%)
and praline ice-cream

Guylian chocolate dip (African ebony 70%)
and fruit (incl. kiwi pieces, of course)
(I wasn't too impressed that this was the only gluten-free
menu item amidst a huge range of chocolate decadence.
I mean, haven't they even heard of a flourless chocolate torte?)

Pretty candles spotted above a bar in a restaurant

Quirky shop names appear to be the norm in Oz/NZ

An epic church in Sydney

The botanical gardens.
They're integrated into the city and they're FREE!

The Opera House
(it's so much more impressive up close
than I ever imagined it could be)

Sydney Harbour Bridge

A sleeping koala at the Taronga Zoo
(don't you just want to cuddle it?)

Monday, November 01, 2010

A Sun Halo

Pics taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 camera on auto

I clicked a few photies of the rainbow halo visible around the sun in South Africa today. Freaky, hey? Yay nature! :-)

According to Wikipedia:
"A 22° halo is a halo, one type of optical phenomenon, forming a circle 22° around the sun, or occasionally the moon. It forms as sunlight is refracted in hexagonal ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. A 22° halo may be visible on as many as 100 days per year."