In times of crisis and uncertainty, being a good Jewish food writer, my first thought is what can I eat to feel better protected?
Choosing foods to boost one’s immune system makes such good sense, I’m frankly amazed it hasn’t been “officially” recommended. Perhaps, it hurts the government to endorse anything as European as the Mediterranean Diet. To borrow a phrase, “take back control” of your eating. It may not stop you getting ill but it is likely to mitigate the severity and longevity of any ill-health.
Mushrooms may not immediately spring to mind as a powerful immune boosting food, yet even button mushrooms are thought to be beneficial, especially when augmented with shitake. Choosing wholegrain pulses and legumes rather than white pasta is a far better source of fibre. Garlic has long been known for its alicin, anti-bacterial properties. All kinds of nuts, and especially almonds, are essential for the immune system: they’re high in vitamin E, that acts as an antioxident in the body, and also good sources of iron and protein, all helps the immune system function.
400g mushrooms, ideally half button and half shitake
500ml carton Itsu brilliant mushroom miso broth
125g young spinach leaves
wholegrain quinoa (I used Hodmedod’s)
100g sour cream or oat creme friache
1 clove of garlic, crushed
50g flaked almonds, toasted
nutmeg to grate
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve, put in a saucepan, add mushroom miso broth, plus a little water to cover. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes until quinoa cooked, yet still firm with a delicious nutty texture.
Meanwhile, melt butter, add crushed garlic, cook for a few minutes, add cleaned and sliced button and shitake mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes, stir in rinsed spinach leaves and cook gently for 3 minutes, add soured cream or creme fraiche and cook another 2 minutes to heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain quinoa. Top with mushroom and spinach stroganoff. Grate a little nutmeg on top to serve.