Getting the cold or the flu can hit you rather unexpectedly, a bit like when David Bowie or Kate Bush release a new album. (I’ll take this bracket to say how much i love the new David Bowie album.) And finding an instant cure for the flu or cold is also a bit like predicting when the next David Bowie/Kate Bush album will come out; impossible.
Last week was the worst week of illness i have ever encountered in my life, i’m not being dramatic either- i have had all sorts of serious kidney infections and nothing compares to the week i had suffering from the awful flu. I have the utmost sympathy for anyone who has caught it recently, it is truly vile. A tickly throat soon became a red dungeon of pain, nothing that honey could soothe. My head felt constantly numb and blocked from ear to ear with a constant migraine. A high, strong fever that a hot toddy couldn’t kick and to top it off a barstod of a cough that just wouldn’t quit (and still isn’t.)
I do believe that food cures. I was told to starve my fever, and i actually blame this fact for actually prolonging my awful symptoms. This simply is the worst advice someone has given me. I starved and ate very little for around four days, i had lost my appetite, felt very sick, and thought that i probably shouldn’t eat at all and just drink lots of water. By day five my husband ordered me a friday curry takeaway, and i started to eat this ever so slowly and i instantly got my hunger back for protein and for a couple of hours afterwards i felt full of energy again; i still woke up in the morning feeling feverish still but i got my hunger and energy back. I used this weekend to power through the ultimate healthy foods, fruit and vegetables and despite what some medical advice says, i ate whatever i truly fancied – ice cream, tea with sugar and milk, pasta and roasted vegetables….Roast chicken and potato gratin.
It’s Monday and i feel a hell of a lot better, i can actually think again! Although i still feel weak, tired and have a cough still i’m regretting i didn’t eat sooner. The potato gratin i ate on the Sunday was something you should never really eat with a cough or cold, the potatoes aren’t really the best fighting foods, the cream and milk is just destined to prolong mucus but i swear this meal made me the happiest i’d been all week. So why should we Google all these questions on how to cure colds and flu? I did it because i felt alone and like i was about to collapse, but i should have really just been looking in the fridge and asking myself what could i feed my body. I think it’s a matter of ignoring symptom checkers and medical sites- this can make your mind panic and feel worse.
Here’s the Potato Gratin recipe for anyone suffering from the cold or flu, don’t listen to google, eat what you want, when you want but do not starve. Food equals energy and energy is your friend.
Potato Gratin Required Dosage- Recommended all day, whenever you want.
1kg New Potatoes sliced very thinly
1 or two onions sliced thinly
350ml Double cream
150ml Semi Skimmed Milk
4 Cloves of Garlic grated
2 Bay leafs
Handful of Peppercorns and Teaspoon of salt
Grating of Parmesan
Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary.
Optional additions: 2 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper/ Couple of strands of Saffron.
1. Pour the double cream and milk into a large pan (enough to fit the potatoes in) on a medium heat. Whilst it’s warming to a boil add in the bay leafs, garlic, peppercorns, salt (and cayenne/saffron if using)
2. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to simmer for around 5 minutes.
3. Add the sliced onion and potatoes to the creamy mixture and give it a good stir ensuring all is coated.
4. Pop the mixture into a deep deep and wide roasting oven dish- (you want it deep as the cream can bubble and overflow otherwise)
5. Grate over the Parmesan and add a bit of salt to the top. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil and poke one hole in the center. Cook for 50 mins on 200c.
6. After 50 mins is up take off the foil, and mix in a few fresh herbs. Taste and season once more. Return to oven for a further 15mins to get a crispy topping.
7. Serve with Roast chicken and veg, or it’s lovely cold the next day with a bit of smoked mackerel.