I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather recently. It’s that time of year. A bit bunged up, a bit lethargic. I’ve also been eating too much indulgent but not necessarily very healthy food and a couple of pounds or so have crept on or rather, have been sitting there comfortably on my midriff making themselves at home since Christmas. Add that to the winter pastiness and the dried up central heating skin and it doesn’t make for a pretty picture! Unfortunately, self-discipline and I are on a war footing. No ‘detox January or February or Lent’ for me, you must be joking! Do I want to look at grey skies, huddled in my coat with shoulders hunched against the cold wind and feel deprived of all culinary pleasures too? Not much, thank you. But my daughter is getting married in a few months’ time and I have to look as good as I can on my one opportunity to be the Mother of the Bride. I can’t achieve that over night, so I’d better get on to it now! Eeeek!
What to do, what to do?? Well, I could go hardcore and do a vegetable juice fast…..I could also poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick. In actual fact, I love vegetable juices because you can do all sorts of wonderful combos and add garlic, ginger or chilli to give them a kick. They’re a fast, nutritious meal without having to make the effort to chew, they chase away the muffin tops, rejuvenate and give you tremendous vitality and glow. It’s a win/win situation! Almost, anyway. The drawback is that you can’t make batches in advance because fresh juices oxidise after 20 minutes and gradually lose nutritional and enzymatic benefit and they also don’t taste as nice if they’re not fresh. So all that chopping and peeling and cleaning of the juicer just for a glass or two? And frankly, a juice for lunch in winter? That’s just asking too much! Enter my hero, the skinny green soup! It may not have as many enzymes as a juice but it’s got more fibre to make up for it, it can be made in batches and frozen, so it’s quickly available when hunger strikes, it’s low cal but comforting, warming and satisfying. It’s a total wizard wheeze!
I eat it virtually every day at the moment, either for lunch if I’m going out in the evening or, if I’m at home, for supper. If you don’t go mad on the bread and stick to crackers, you’ll soon see results and all that lovely chlorophyll can only be good for you!
Now, as you know, I’m not the world’s greatest cook, so my little recipe here is a completely flexi one, add garlic and chilli according to your preferences, use kale instead of broccoli or as well as, chuck in any other fresh veg you fancy. Life’s too short to get hung up on detail. I use Galina Blanca mushroom stock cubes for added flavour but any good quality type will do or, even better, fresh veg stock, if you have. This recipe make 3.5 litres which I divide into 8 portions and freeze in large yoghurt pots. Obviously you can adjust the portion size as you see fit.
Skinny Green Goddess Soup
What you need:
3 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 small Thai red chillies, stem and seeds removed and chopped
3 cm of ginger, peeled and chopped
4 sticks of celery, chopped (not too finely)
3 heads of broccoli, broken into florets
4 bunches/2 packets of spinach
1 litre of stock (fresh or made from good quality stock cube)
Salt, pepper to season
Ground cinnamon, fresh chopped coriander, lemon juice to taste before serving
What to do:
Excepting the broccoli and spinach, gently fry all the other vegetables in a small amount of good quality oil such as virgin olive oil until they soften. At the same time, steam the florets of broccoli. When tender, add it to the pan with the other vegetables, adding 1 litre of stock. Bring to a mild boil for 3 – 5 minutes, adding more stock as necessary to cover all the vegetables. Take off heat, add the spinach and stir. When the spinach has wilted, season and put the mixture through a liquidizer/mixer until it reaches the desired, slightly thick consistency.
We like our food very spicy. For a milder version, please reduce the chilli and/or the garlic according to taste. I like stirring in a tea spoon of ground cinnamon and adding a generous squirt of lemon juice to the soup before I eat it. If you want to be super healthy, you can also add ground chia or flaxseeds or green barley/wheatgrass powder.