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Spanish Chickpea Stew

Sending love and hope to you all. This week has been explosively confusing yet clear and cogent. My brain and heart feel overwhelmed.

During stressful times, my body always yearns to cook and nourish. There is magic in the kitchen. The familiar scents wafting through our home; the singsong of spices morphing into an opera; the alchemy of turning raw ingredients into belly-bombing deliciousness.

May you find comfort too.

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Enough for 10

450g smoked tofu or good-quality cooking chorizo such as Gubbeen

Splash of extra virgin olive oil

300g sliced leeks

2 large white onions, diced

1-2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

6 red peppers (use jarred if cocooning from CoVid!)

2 x 400g tins of chickpeas (reserve some of the liquid from the tins)

2 x 680g jars of passata tomato sauce

60g fresh flat-leaf parsley, stalks and leaves chopped (optional)

A few twists of the salt and pepper mill

Squeeze of lemon

Natural yogurt or cultured cream, to serve


Cabin Fever.
Photography Joanne Murphy for Susan’s cookbook
Clever Batch; Recipes to Save You Time, Money and Patience

1. If you’re using fresh red peppers, start by firing up your oven to 220C.

2. Slice your cooking chorizo into bite-sized rounds (not too thin, but not too chunky either). If you’re using smoked tofu, add it alongside the chickpeas at a later stage.

3. Using the largest heavy-based pot you have, warm it over a medium heat, then add the chorizo and colour it all over (chorizo can burn very quickly, so keep a watchful eye). You’ll need to do this in two batches to stop the pan from overcrowding and stewing the meat. Depending on your pan, you may benefit from a lick of olive oil to help the process along. The natural fat melting away from the chorizo is usually enough. Once coloured, set the chorizo aside on a large plate.

4. Using the same heavy-based pot, sauté the leeks in the residual fat (no leeks? No problem. Use extra onion). Give these 10 minutes. Once the leeks are soft, tip them onto the resting plate of chorizo and leave aside.

5. Now add the onions and cumin to the heavy-based pot. You may or may not need another lick of olive oil. Sauté until soft (another 10 minutes). Stir through your garlic 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Garlic cooks swiftly compared to onions.

6. While the vegetables sweat in the pan, cut your peppers into strips. Tumble with a splash of olive oil and roast on a large baking tray (or two medium trays) in your preheated oven for 20–25 minutes. You’re looking for the peppers to be slightly charred at the sides (use jarred red peppers if avoiding shops right now – these have the benefit of already bring cooked!).

7. As soon as your onions are done, parachute in your tinned chickpeas along with a bit of the liquid from the tin, the medley of cooked chorizo/tofu and veg, your roasted (or jarred) peppers, both jars of passata and the freshly chopped parsley. If you’re using smoked tofu sausage in place of chorizo, add it now. Cook over a low to medium heat for 30 minutes so that the flavours fraternise.

8. Taste, season and lift with lemon. Allow to cool fully before storing in individual portions designated for the freezer. We love serving ours with a blob of yogurt and some crusty bread on the side. A poached egg is also ace with fried sourdough crumbs or simple boiled potatoes.

Photographed by Joanne Murphy for Clever Batch cookbook
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Immune-Boosting Broth

For hundreds of years, Chinese medicine has had a serious crush on the shiitake mushroom. Shiitake compounds called lentinans and beta-glucan polysaccharides are believed to stimulate the immune system by activating certain macrophages and killer T-cells that usually declare war on foreign invaders. Nifty, eh? I like to think of shiitake as my immune system PT.

This week, I’m mainlining shiitake and bone broth #shoo #coronavirus.

In lab studies, shiitake extract has slowed the growth of tumours in certain cell cultures. But not in all cell cultures, highlighting the complexity surrounding the use of shiitake extract. Scientists are still unsure as to why this is – some conjectures include the ability of beta- glucans to trick the immune system into thinking it’s under attack. Perhaps the body reacts by releasing its finest ninja stars into the bloodstream or sending armed drones to survey the entire area. Who knows? More clinical trials are underway to understand which compounds in shiitake may be effective for which immunological disorders. But given that shiitake are so damned delicious, I’m happy to horse into them while scientists work it out. Maybe it’s time to start offering laureates to vegetables?

We use this bone broth as a base for rice, stews and soups. It’s a yumdinger all on its own with some Tabasco, woolly socks and your favourite mug. The glucosamine and chondroitin in bone broth is thought to stimulate the growth of new collagen in our body, reduce inflammation and repair damaged joints. And they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Pah! Give me more collagen and better dance moves any day.

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Makes 3 litres

Handful of dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 organic or higher-welfare chicken carcass or 1.5kg beef bones (free from the butcher)

Chunk of ginger, roughly chopped

1 whole head of garlic, sliced in half

Any ends of vegetables such as leeks, onions, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes (I store these in my ongoing freezer bags so that I have a swag of veggies at hand for stock. Also, when veg are on discount I freeze the lot!)

Any fresh herbs loitering in your fridge or garden

Splash of apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon flaky sea salt


Pop everything into your largest stockpot. Cover with fresh filtered water. Bring to a very shy simmer and cook for 8–16 hours – the longer, the better. I usually transfer my stockpot into the oven on a really low setting. I don’t let the stock boil. Prolonged boiling can interfere with the natural supply of collagen.

Strain the stock with a large kitchen sieve. Taste and see if it needs a bit of soya sauce, chipotle smoked chilli or Tabasco for oomph (these are my go-tos for quick fixes). Once you are happy with its taste, leave to cool before storing in the fridge or freezer.

Photos all by Joanne Murphy for Clever Batch cookbook
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Home Made Cough Drops

Our mouths are a temple of magnificence. Did you know that saliva contains a painkiller stronger than morphine? No wonder kissing is so goddamn enjoyable. This ‘home-brew’ morphine is called opiorphin. Sadly we only produce reasonable amounts of opiorphin, but even a small bit can be mind-blowingly effective.

When we chew, we produce more saliva, and with it, more home-brew painkiller (horrah!). This can help explain why eating often alleviates a sore throat. A delicious paradox?

These simple cough drops (video below) are enough to ramp up your salivary defenses. Each one is designed to elicit a decent dose of GYO analgesic substances. On top of that, there’s a swag of sonic fresh ingredients – raw honey, organic virgin coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, probiotics. They put the super into superfood.

So give them a go. Here’s a video of the recipe I made with Bio Kult #collaboration. Aside from all that nutritional yahyah, they taste pretty cosmic.

Makes 20-30, depending on ice cube tray

1 small finger of fresh turmeric, peeled

Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled

3-5 rough tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

125g jar of raw honey (set is best)

Up to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Twist of black pepper (adults only)

8 capsules multi-strain live bacteria supplement (I used Bio-Kult)

1 Finely grate the peeled ginger and turmeric and add to the bowl of a food processor. I find this process easier when using frozen ginger and frozen turmeric as it tends to be less fibrous. It’s not an exact science, so leave out the turmeric if it’s tricky to find, or add more/less ginger to suit your taste buds.

2 Tumble in remaining ingredients and whip together until the mixture resembles body balm. Taste and see if you like it – adjust the spices to suit your preferences.

3 Using a plastic knife, spread the mixture into a silicone ice cube tray and freeze until set. You can transfer the lozenges into a marked glass jar and store in the freezer until needed. Then pop one in your mouth and party.