Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Food for flu

Having hoped I might get through the winter without succumbling to one of the many unpleasant lurgies that seem to have been afflicting my friends we've both just been poleaxed by a weird bug that involves coughing, aching, nausea and an upset stomach. Is it flu? Who knows? Everything is referred to as The Flu these days, even when it's a common cold. But I know this is serious because I don't feel like eating. (Unheard-of, obviously)

The few things that have appealed have been plain boiled rice (yes, it's that bad), Marigold Vegetable Bouillon (drunk as a soup), hot apple juice spiked with cinnamon and cloves and fish fingers and mayo (strangely soothing when you're feeling rough). I might even go so far today (I did. See right) as to make us my favourite childhood food when I was ill: eggs-in-a-cup which consists of soft boiled eggs mushed up with fresh white bread and a little bit of soft butter*. And, if I feel strong enough (pause for a quick coughing fit) a bowl of vegetable soup made with the turkey stock I virtuously froze after Christmas,

The plus side - apart from the opportunity to re-watch bad films and old episodes of 'Allo, Allo - is that this is an impeccably frugal and healthy start to 2009. But I certainly look forward to getting my appetite back.

What do you like to eat when you're feeling fragile? (Apart from Marmite, of course. Think we've probably had enough of that lately ;-)

PS Eggophobes may feel a bit queasy at the idea of this dish but for those of you to whom it appeals and whose mother did not give it to them when they were ailing, this is how to do it:

For each person you need 2 good fresh eggs and a thick slice of traditional white English bread (a tin loaf, preferably a day old) Cut the crusts off the bread and break it by hand into rough crumbs. (See above. You don't want fine breadcumbs) Soft boil the eggs for about three minutes if you keep them at room temperature, four, if you've taken them straight from the fridge. Put the crumbs in a large cup or a small bowl, scoop the eggs out of their shells, add a chunk of soft butter - on top of the egg so it melts - then chop the whole thing together with a teaspoon. Season with salt and white pepper if you have it. If not black will do but that's not the way my mum made it. And eat as soon as possible. Oh, and don't expect too much. It's slightly soggy, very bland but immensely comforting . . .

23 comments:

mrs green said...

:( sorry to hear you are unwell. I love stewed apples when ill - the sharper the better; weird!

hope you are feeling better soon....

Mrs G x

verity said...

How horrid...

Generally, I like baked beans on toast when I am poorly, or macaroni cheese with tomato ketchup (what is it about Heinz manufacting comfort food), and digestive biscuits (often with marmite on, bizarrely).

I spend a lot of time feeling poorly with dreadful IBS, and under those circumstances I find myself eating a lot of organic ice cream and frozen yoghurt.

Hope you feel better soon.

Greenlady said...

Mashed potatoes and spaghetti hoops. It has to be Smash mash too, with a big knob of butter melting in the top.

Lemonade. Don't know why, although I like it I don't drink a lot of it at other times. I used to crave Heinz tinned cream of tomato soup when I was ill but now I can't stand the stuff. Marigold Swiss Bouillon on its own is a lovely drink though.

Yes, point taken about the virulence of lurgies these days, I can't remember the last time I had a cold rather than a full out bug. This one going the rounds is nasty and is a real appetite killer. Hope you manage to feel a bit better soon :)

notSupermum said...

Awww, get well soon Fiona.

I tend to stick to things like soup or hot buttered toast, nothing fancy. Lots of tea though, and water.

Cathy M said...

Feel better soon. I like very light and sweet tea and toast. For a sore throat, I like mashed potatoes

Tabby said...

Smoothies, ice cream, soup, ginger for nausea. And once I'm slightly on the mend I always crave fish. Especially cod or haddock done in the simple way my mum does it, tossed in a little flour and fried, served with greens, carrots and mashed potato with tartar sauce mixed in. That is my ultimate road to recovery comfort meal. Even better if my mum could come to London and cook it!

If i am too weak to fuss about with the frying pan then fish fingers seem to do the trick too...

Get well soon :o)

Fiona Beckett said...

Aaaaah, thank you all for your good wishes. You're very kind. Some good suggestions too.

Agree about mashed potato but the point when you're ill is that you don't fancy cooking anything. Frozen mash would appeal though frozen or chilled more than Smash, I have to say, greenlady;-)

Stewed apple (yes, from Bramleys, mrs green) would be nice if someone would make it for me (funny how we want to be babied when we're sick)

Baked beans? A bit too robust at this stage, Verity, but tinned macaroni cheese sounds vaguely appealing (though haven't tried it for years). And organic ice cream or frozen yoghurt: heavenly. (Might despatch husband who is feeling rather better than I am today to get some).

And toast, toast, toast. Always makes me happy!

Fiona Beckett said...

Oh, and good suggestion about the fish, Tabby. That sounds really nice. The one thing I really don't fancy is meat . . .

Slice of life said...

fish cakes, the cheaper the better more mash in. You can buy them in a bag in sainsburys.

Huge amounts of sweet tea. Soluble asprin, if it s bad solpadeine.

I made chicken stock the other night, the other half joked I had joined a coven!. It is being stored in tubs in the freezer for when the lurgy hits. Through some vermicelli in it and some thinly sliced cabbage. all better.

As mother would say in a thick accent "ah, its a taste of the old country". Never eaten it there so I have no proof.

Hope you feel better soon.

P.s I made venison stew on sunday night, followed the recipe, added the chocolate and all. Tasted EVIL, never ever again! LOL

Becky said...

I am sick too horrendous cold making my eyes water, alternating fever and chills and sneezing over everyone Miso soup and yes anything with Marmite . Feel better soon Fiona

Signe said...

I find that hot drinks make such a difference, not sure if the heat zaps the virus but I like to think it does! Marigold is a great instant broth, often have that in winter anyway...

All-time favourite flu-time drink: ginger, lemon and honey tea. Infinitely better for you than those paracetemol-laden drinks, and tastier too :-)

Otherwise "Jewish penicillin" was always a staple in my family - chicken soup made from the carcass, and lots of vermicelli noodles.

And anything spicy - chilli, garlic and ginger noodles are a great flu-treat, be it with pasta or Asian noodles...

Finally: I'm sure a whisky toddy does wonders for one's immune system!

Get better soon Fiona :-)

Fiona Beckett said...

More great ideas! Re chicken stock, slice of life, I read a good tip from the Telegraph cookery writer Rose Prince which was to use plastic milk cartons for storing your stock in the freezer. Makes sense, because they're small and stackable - or at least the small ones are. She says you simply hack through the plastic with a pair of scissors to get at the frozen cube (assuming you don't defrost it, of course)

Sorry to hear you're sick too, Becky, but yes, Miso soup is another goodie.

And I agree absolutely on hot drinks, Sig though we've run out of lemon :( Could well be feeling bright enough for some chili tomorrow. All this blogging has given me an appetite ;-)

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your website last month and have o enjoyed it. Hope you are better feeling soon.
When I have a dodgy stomach thing, I like to sip Campbell's chicken noodle soup (although I abhor canned soups when well!), hot tea and saltines, and an ice cold, flat Coca-Cola. It settles the stomach.
Mary Eman

recipes2share said...

I have just discovered you site too - feel better soon from another Fiona!

yahny said...

I crave my Mum's honey and lemon tea that she used to make us when we were crook (Australian slang for sick).

Another vote for toast here too, my boyfriend makes awesome cheese and vegemite toasties too.

Fiona Beckett said...

It's really odd how many of us fancy canned food when we're ill like your chicken noodle soup, Mary, Verity's macaroni cheese and Greenlady's spaghetti hoops. All a reversion to childhood, obviously . . . Not sure I could fancy flat Coke though it probably has some restorative properties. Good to hear from you anyway and from another Fiona - there are many of us around these days!

And knew we'd get back to Marmite somehow Yahny - or vegemite in your case. Toasties don't sound too bad though.

Last night we had some really great soup made from the turkey stock with onion, leeks, carrots, celery and a fair bit of garlic which I left to simmer for an hour (you can see I'm reviving . . .) which was simple and really delicious. Only took about 5 or 6 minutes to knock up so minimal effort. Whether it's thanks to that or the unusual amount of sleep I had last night (over 10 hours) I feel much, much better this morning!

Anonymous said...

That egg dish is exactly what I was fed as a child, when ill, and I in turn have fed it to my children. Known in this household as "Munchie", my 16 yr old son is especially sentimental about it.

Career Misfit said...

Ah yes, I've always thought that everyone has their own preferred comfort food for when illness strikes them down; for me it's spicy food, especially chilli con carne. It's probably something to do with wanting to clear the sinuses. My good lady will only eat chicken soup when she's ill, and if she starts to crave it during the winter we batten down the hatches for an outbreak. And check the calendar. Ahem...

Fiona Beckett said...

Hmmm, munchie, could have unfortunate connotations. But so long as you all know what you mean ;-)

And chilli? Not quite ready for the con carne version yet, CM, but won't be long.

Anonymous said...

Chilli - Yes!
I couln't enjoy anything yesterday, but 'Hot and Sour Soup' was just the thing. Woke up today on the mend!

Malagrowther

Max mickle said...

Thanks for the flu recipe. Last summer I ate them at a party and has been looking for an authentic recipe ever since. Now I will be able to make them myself. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Toasted bread with banannas in it (toasted or not according to taste) is a godsend when you're nauseous and have lost your appetite. If you're brave or not too bad you can have butter or sugar with it.

pengwen said...

I'm an expat American and last winter I was horrified to find that tinned chicken soups here never have clear broth!! Not a good thing to discover when I was feeling too rotten to knock up my mother's good old-fashioned chicken soup with rice recipe, made with a whole chicken, celery, carrots, rice and nothing else, to be had with saltine crackers when feeling ill. Fortunately I now realize they sell fresh chicken broth in the refrigerator aisle.
Easy to whip up a close approximation to Mummy's soup with that in a pinch.

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