Today, when I’m writing this, my sister, Saara, left London to go back to Finland. She’s training to be a massage therapist like me and we were exchanging some techniques she’s been learning and what I am using in my treatments. Pretty exciting to talk to someone who knows every bloody origin and insertion of every single muscle! No, really, I love that stuff. Only, I’ve forgotten (some of) it. When you work with bodies, you learn to feel the body, the muscles, tendons and joints, the tension, the pain and the injuries they hold and use your learning, techniques and, most of all, intuition. You need to know your basics but the more you massage the more you can concentrate on feeling and not knowing. And this is what ayurveda is about. In the words of my teacher John Immel, ayurveda is the medicine of feeling, not knowing.
What all this has to do with my newest recipe? It is because my sister was so excited about the soup with leeks and asparagus but we never got to make it together. Tonight, after work, when I got home, I realised I had the necessary ingredients in the fridge and got to cooking because it sounded like a very quick thing to make. And what a wonderful surprise it was! Tasty as hell and, whilst I was eating it I realised it is not only perfect evening food, being light to digest, but also it is so seasonal you cannot get any better. In addition, the way I prepared made it a surprise party for my gut bacteria. Let’s break it down.
I periodically prepare some chicken bone and muscle broth. I get some great organic chicken carcasses from the Brook’s butcher’s next door to my shop and roast and boil them with herbs and veggies and keep small portions in the freezer to use as soup base. This kind of broth, like the good old grandma’s chicken soup, is proven by science to be one of the best things to heal the gut lining. What bones, joints and muscles release is stuff that literarily repair the gut wall. So, this is great for damages by inflammation and tears like in leaky gut. Consequently it is one of the most amazing things to heal inflamed skin, especially eczema and psoriasis, which are a reflection of the state of the gut. Whatever goes on your skin, goes also on in your gut.
So, back to the soup. Boiled leaks and asparagus, pureed with black pepper and salt, are light to digest and highly nourishing. Produce of the season is medicine. In every season Nature prepares us a harvest that reflects exactly the needs that our bodies have. We now need to alkalise our bodies, we need to rekindle the digestive power after winter and we need to get leaner. That’s why spring diet is so great because it does exactly that. It scrapes mucous, it pulls our fat from tissues and it reduces acidity of the winter period. Pepper, one of the greatest medicinal spices in your cupboard, but lost of us don’t even know that! In spring, we should eat loads of spices. If you look at animals in Nature you see them digging roots. They are spicy, like ginger and turmeric. We humans used to do that too, but lost the art of it. But we’ve got easier ways to get them, straight out of the shop, like ours.
I did put something very unseasonal in the soup as well, which is blue cheese and sour cream. In spring dairy should be used in moderation so I just put two teaspoonfuls of both but oh boy, did they bring the soup alive. However, there is a logic to why I used these dairy products. It is because they are fermented. It is good to have something fermented with your meals, to treat your gut bacteria well. In fact, good digestion depends on good bacteria and, they love fermented foods. Or in other words, we build good bacteria with fermented foods. We can call them probiotics. Prebiotics are foods that feed the good bacteria and guess if leek and asparagus are great prebiotics? Yes, between microbiologists, they are famous for that.
So, the soup is prebiotic, probiotic, heals the gut lining, is easy to digest, highly nourishing, alkalising mucous scraper and can be considered your best superfood because it is seasonal. Here is the recipe (finally):
1 cup of chicken stock
2 cups water
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tsp sourcream
2 tsp blue cheese
Boil or steam leek and asparagus. Once soft puree’ them and add the chicken stock and the rest of the ingredients. Mix and serve in a plate with olive oil drizzled on it.
It was great to get back to basics with my sister with massage techniques and it was great to get to basics with what real food should be like. I think it was a great exchange, we both got something new and exciting to heal the body, inside and outside.