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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.

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Chestnut Soup

We’ve been obsessed with chestnut soup lately. I’m pretty sure my body mass is 40% chestnut right now.

This is the perfect soup for a Christmas starter or evenings by the fire. We ladle it into mugs and serve it with hunks of hot sourdough. The reverie is palpable, like a toddler with a Twix.

Here’s a video of me making it on live TV earlier this week (yes, I said bollox), or a shorter Instagram video to give you an idea of how insanely easy it is.

3 white onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 fat garlic cloves, crushed
250g cooked chestnuts (from a vacuum pack)
700ml veggie stock

Peel and roughly chop your onions. Ditch the skin.

In your largest pot, warm some olive oil over a gentle flame and tumble in the chopped onions. Sweat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent and sweet. (video link below).

At this point, add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Let the chestnuts and stock join the party. Fire up to a simmer and allow to putt-putter for 10-25 minutes.

Blitz in a blender until lusciously smooth, being careful not to scald yourself. I usually wait for the soup to cool down before using my blender.

Serve in dinky little espresso cups as a starter for loads of guests, or freeze in individual portions for another night. It’s worth remembering not to fill your jar or container fully with liquid if you plan on freezing (to avoid breakages). Fa la la la lahhhh …

From page 162 of Clever Batch cookbook . Have a merry Christmas friends! Know anyone who loves eating, but hates cooking? This might be the most perfect Christmas gift for them …

A special announcement

Join me on Substack

Howdy! I’ll be deleting this website shortly. Gah! But please stay in touch – I so appreciate your loyalty and lovebombs.

You can continue to access my recipe drops over on Substack.  Hope to see you there, and to continue frolicking on this veggie-fueled dance floor.