As sober January approached, we were all told to prepare for an arctic blast; a warning that a series of morning frosts supported. Yet, one week in, and the chill has turned to the usual British drizzle and damp. However, although this be the month for cleansing and buffing and detoxing and toning, if the minute you step out the door you’re struck with a breeze far removed from tropical or balmy, the last thing our bodies crave (or, indeed, need) is the crunch of a chill little lettuce leaf. Far more nourishing and healing of December’s overindulgence are cream-free, vegetable-based soups and other appealing hot culinary creations.
Certainly, the food blogger who catches on to what the majority really wants to be consuming will start 2015 on a follower-high. Here are three recipes to get the gastronomic inspiration flowing, and you and your readers’ taste buds tingling:
1. Winter Detox Soup (Leta Shy)
A simple, green classic. Onion and garlic provide a blood-cleansing base here (quite literally, as they contain the compound allicin, a promoter of cholesterol elimination), while hunger-satisfying substance comes from fibrous, mineral-rich turnip and protein-packed sweet potato, with its anti-carcinogenic beta-carotene and phyto-chemicals. This veggie stock-based soup also includescourgette (great for the skin), trendy seasonal kale (chock full of vitamins A and K), and iron-rich spinach. Delish.
2. Spicy Detox Soup with Lemon (Sandy Halliday)
If you and your readers crave something heartier, take a note from this Indian-inspired recipe, which includes lentils. Pulses provide both fibre and protein, made complete when combined with wholegrains, so to make this a truly total meal, suggest a side of – preferably homemade – brown bread (unless, of course, your blog is all about gluten-free). Bay leaves and coriander aid digestion, while thyme keeps winter colds at bay. Celery is renowned for containing fewer calories than burnt in chewing it (for those looking to lose weight) and lemons are powerhouses of nutrition, activating the immune system.
3. Thai Curry Soup (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Of course, not every soup has to be vegetarian. You could take a leaf out of Goop-founder and Academy Award-winning actress, Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook and blog some poultry-inclusive recipes. Remember how childhood illness was seemingly conquered by mother’s chicken noodle soup? Well, as long as the chicken is free-range (and preferably organic), there’s truth to it, as it’s full of vitamin B6 and anaemia-fighting iron and zinc. Remove the skin for a lower fat option. The use of coconut oil rather than olive oil by Ms Paltrow further boosts the immune system and aids weight loss in a similar way to antioxidant green tea. Combined with metabolism-increasing curry, this kind of soup is great for readers on a start-of-the-year slimming kick.
From the basic to the exotic, the diversity of soup is thus self-evident, but a detox of warming recipes doesn’t have to be pigeon-holed to potage alone: use the nutritional benefits of various health-giving ingredients you come across to concoct other warm and healing dishes (the options are pretty much limitless). Support it all with some mouth-watering photography and readers will be hitting that ‘Follow’ button in no time.