For a few months I’ve been following The Doctor’s Kitchen channel on YouTube. This is presented by Dr Rupy, a Londoner of Indian ancestry who shares his intuitive way of cooking combined with maintaining health and his medical knowledge.
Generally my hay fever takes the form of a headache that just won’t go away. I have to ask friends if the pollen count is high and then I realise that is the cause. But this year I had no symptoms early on but when it struck I got the whole itchy eyes and runny nose thing. Right on cue Dr Rupy has a video on foods that help suppress hay fever, and an associated recipe on his website for Cauliflower and Watercress soup.
He made the point that watercress is in season at the moment. Well it might be, and maybe it’s not the best way to buy it, but Sainsbury’s are charging £1.50 for an 80g bag. The recipe calls for a large handful, which is translated as 150g. That was going to make it a bit expensive so I tried it with one bag, or 80g. It made a pretty good soup, but it lacked something for us. I repeated the recipe a few days later, doubling the garlic and onion and added some mixed herbs. I also tweaked the method to make it a one pot recipe.
Ingredients (serves 2):
4 cloves Garlic finely chopped
4 Spring Onions chopped
250g Cauliflower finely chopped
500ml boiling Water
0.5 tsp Salt (I use lo-salt)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
0.5 tsp dried mixed herbs
Fry the garlic and onions in a little oil, just until they are looking transparent. Don’t let them brown – so keep the temperature low. As soon as they are done add the mixed herbs and pile in the cauliflower. Remember you can use the stalky bits of the cauliflower and some of the leaves too. If you do then put them in first and stir-fry them a bit before adding the chopped florets. At the water and bring it all back to the boil and at the salt or lo-salt. Let this simmer for 20 mins.
When the cauliflower is quite soft add the watercress to the top of the pan and cram the lid back on. The watercress will steam and wilt in about 3 minutes. I added a little back pepper at this stage. Remove from the heat and zizz the lot in the pan with a stick blender adding more water to reach the consistency you want.
Pour into bowls and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. It makes two generous servings. That’s it – serve with fresh, home made sourdough bread – naturally.
So did it fix my hay fever? Hard to say, because I also resorted to antihistamine tablets. It was a smashing soup though and one we will choose to repeat as long as we can get watercress.