Healthy foods for battling the cold 

I have to admit that by now I was hoping to be able to start talking about getting ready for springtime, encouraging you to throw off the winter layers and start tackling some new health challenges to help improve our digestive health.

But sadly the winter weather seems to be very much here and no respite on the horizon this week. So much so that am seriously considering leaving my walking boots in the car and getting the shovel out of the shed! And not for the gardening.

But as we know, cold weather can tempt us to comfort eat and lack of good digestive fibre has been known to play havoc with our guts. So perhaps this recipe may help us stay warm and healthy at the same time! This soup, which contains broccoli and brussels sprouts has an added bonus as both vegetables are rich in anti cancer plant chemicals. Also the chick peas supply the body with fermentable carbohydrates, serve with a wholemeal roll and you’ll be well on the way to a happier you on the inside and out.

Cream of broccoli & brussels sprouts soup with almonds


Serves 4

Per serving

365 calories       28g fat

5g saturated fat 6.5g fibre



3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion (chopped)

1 clove garlic

1.2 litres (2 pints) basic stock (see Sauces section below)

1 bouquet garni

2 medium head broccoli
(cut into florets)

350g (12oz) brussels sprouts (halved)

110g (4oz) ground almonds

150g canned chickpeas (drained)

100ml (10fl oz) single cream

4tbsp slivered almonds



1. Heat the oil. Add the onion garlic, and sweat gently in the oil for 5 mins. Add the stock and bring to the boil.

2. Add the broccoli to the pan. Pick over the brussels sprouts and add to the pan. Add the bouquet garni and ground almonds.

3. Simmer gently for 10 mins, add the chickpeas, remove bouquet garni and simmer for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool a little before liquidising, in a food processor and return to pan.

4. Stir in the cream and heat through. Serve with the slivered almonds floating on top.

For a creamier but higher fat version of this recipe, add more cream (up to 300ml)