One thing I try to include in my diet frequently is garlic for it’s antimicrobial properties. However, to get the full health benefits of garlic, you need to eat it raw. Ordinarily, with most meals I’d stick to one or two cloves, making delicious salad dressings where I can reap the benefits of allicin, or, I especially enjoy garlic in tomato sauces.
It’s important to eat a wide range of herbs and spices, as these have their own, often overlooked health benefits. It’s preferable to get into the habit of adding them to meals and smoothies every day. Coriander is one of my personal favourites and I can quite happily add it to a lot of dishes.
I’m also a huge fan of making my own soups and testing different flavours. I’m often one to stray from a original recipe in front of me, dubbing my experiments ‘guessipes’. I find a lot of recipes online don’t cater for single people or smaller households with very fussy small people, and sometimes, I just don’t want or need to cook large batches. This is often where my experimenting comes in, as I begin cutting and switching out ingredients to find what’s best for my household.
My simple recipe may not reap the full health benefits of garlic, but it’s still nutritious and delicious. I use one and a half bulbs of garlic so it’s not too overpowering and you can really taste the coriander too. However, you can add more garlic if you like and instead of roasting all of it, you could save some cloves, crush them and wait for 10 minutes while the phytonutrient allicin develops. You can then throw this into the soup mix when you go to blend the soup. This will give the soup a much more pungent flavour, as you will only be heating the soup through, ready to eat.
(serves: 1 large bowl, 2 small bowls)
- 1 and a half to 2 bulbs of garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 350ml chicken or vegetable stock
(homemade is best)
- 30ml coconut cream
(add more for a stronger coconut flavour)
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 generous handful of fresh chives
- 1 generous handful of coriander
Preheat the oven to 190° (fan ovens / 210° conventional) and prepare the garlic for roasting by removing the outer layer of skin, chopping off the heads and drizzling them with olive oil. Wrap the bulbs in tin foil and placing them head down, roast for about 40 minutes.
After 25-30 minutes, I would start preparing my stock if I am using store-bought, because we need it to cool down before it goes into the blender, but if you already have some homemade you can move onto preparing the onions.
Even though the onions are going to end up in the blender, I still take care finely dicing them as evenly as possible to encourage even cooking. It will take about five minutes frying with a teaspoon of olive oil on a medium heat for the onions to become translucent. Remove from the heat when done and allow to cool.
When the garlic is ready, remove from the tinfoil and set aside to cool. If there is any excess oil in the foil you can salvage that for some nice garlic infused oil. However, remember to pour it into a heatproof container. Don’t pour the hot oil into a plastic tub!
As all of the ingredients are cooling you can prepare your herbs and then transfer the coconut cream, garlic, onions and herbs into your blender. Removing the garlic from the skin should be easy. Just use a knife, or your fingers to gently loosen the skin away from the cloves and each clove should easily slide out.
I start by adding about half the stock mixture with the rest of the ingredients, and blend the mix for about 10 seconds. Then slowly begin adding more stock, until it’s my preferred consistency and blend more, until I’m left with this delightful, pale green soup with dark green bits. Note that I almost always make extra stock in case I decide I need it, and there should be extra coconut cream to hand in case you decide 30ml isn’t enough!
The soup is now ready to be reheated and eaten, or – if it’s cool – transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheating shouldn’t take much more than a few minutes. I never use a timer and just do it “by eye”, heating through until it’s piping hot over a medium heat.