Beat Winter Blues
On July 20, Wentworthville church held their ongoing cooking class; the last one which was held in March. We had about 20 visitors who braced the cold to still come to enjoy a great night. Most visitors were regulars from past cooking classes, while few were new.
Our theme for this cooking class was “Beat Winter Blues, the Vegetarian Way” and so was focused on boosting the immune system and demonstrating some healthy warm winter foods. This cooking class was a bit different as we presented half on home remedies and half on vegetarian meals. We presented three natural home remedies to boost the immune system when feeling down, as well as our vegetarian dishes.
As our health lecturer was running late, we decided to begin and present all our home remedies. Susan Lausevic began by presenting her “flu shot” and “cough syrup” which our guests enjoyed, some pulling faces. These were powerful remedies that could kick a flu/cold or cough right out of the system. Following this, Nadine Polistina presented a potassium broth to drink when feeling sick or down. This broth gives the body a break from eating but at the same time hydrates and boosts the cells of the body with enough energy to overcome whatever it is fighting. These were simple remedies which are very effective, and our guests were greatly impressed and appreciative.
In the meantime Dr. Gan arrived, who was our health lecturer for the night, and he gave an interesting talk on the immune system and what affects it and how to improve it. He mentioned a few factors that we seem to compromise in winter. Exercise was one, as days are shorter and colder, and we tend to be discouraged from spending ample time exercising. This prevents the blood from moving swiftly through the body. Sunshine was another factor, as we spend more time indoors, especially if our work is indoors. We are then prone to have less vitamin D, and this plays its own significant role in immune function. Another factor is nutrition. We may tend to eat a bit more unhealthy, fatty foods in winter, and so keeping the body in good shape is highly important. Another interesting point he mentioned was to make sure we wear scarves or keep our necks warm in winter. Why? Because the thyroid gland is also important in immune function, and if the neck is exposed to cold air, it can compromise the gland’s efficiency. So make sure you keep your neck warm in winter! It was a great lecture, and we really appreciated Dr. Gan helping us with that, and our visitors greatly appreciated it and asked some questions during and after the class.
Our cooks did a fantastic job in presenting their dishes. Rosemary Voncina demonstrated a great kale salad, with all ingredients appropriate for “winter blues”; and she also demonstrated a hardy and delicious bean stew. What is winter without having soup? Susan demonstrated a great tasting pea soup that was so quick and easy, and the guests loved it, with one commenting out loud that it was delicious. To finish, we demonstrated a dessert. Now this is not so easy when we talk about boosting the immune system, but this was presented more on the basis of a wholesome winter dessert that was still healthy and vegan. Nadine demonstrated this, and it was a pear cobbler, which actually can be for dessert or breakfast and is one dish that you can have several times in one week.
We had a busy time preparing and running the cooking class, and it finally came to an end. It was a great evening; the guests really enjoyed it and so did all those involved. We thank very much those who volunteered to help, as there were many more helpers than just the cooks themselves, working busily behind the scenes. Most of all we give thanks and praise and glory to God, for His grace extended toward us, which is sufficient for all our needs, and we just pray that this will be one more step toward sharing the gospel to these people and our community.
~ Domenic Polistina
Some of the recipes demonstrated:
Immune Boosters for Colds and Flu
Natural Antibiotic or Cough Syrup
1 glass jar with lid (approx. 500ml)
4 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 drops eucalyptus oil (optional)
- Place onion and garlic in large chunks in jar. Pour honey over chunks until jar is 3/4 full. Add lemon and eucalyptus oil. Put lid on, and place in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
- When ready to use, shake mixture. By this time it should be like thin syrup. Place a spoon in jar, and press down on chunks to just seep in the liquid on the spoon.
- Take a couple of spoonfuls every 2-3 hours throughout the day followed by water or herbal tea. This syrup tastes quite pleasant.
Natural Flu Shot
Place in blender:
2 oranges (fresh juice)
1 lemon (fresh juice)
1 small piece fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Blend all ingredients. Put in shot glass and drink down, followed by small cup of water or hot herbal tea. Take 3-4 times a day while symptoms last.
500-600g potatoes, well washed (2-6 potatoes depending on size)
1 head garlic
1-2 stalks celery
1 medium onion
Pinch Himalayan salt
- Peel potatoes and place peelings into the saucepan. (Optional – you can add some of the potatoes cut in quarters.)
- Peel carrots and roughly chop, along with garlic, onion, celery and salt into the saucepan.
- Cover vegetables with water; bring to boil then lower heat and simmer for 2 hours.
- Add water as needed to keep vegetables covered.
Garden Green Pea Soup
1 bag of frozen peas
1 onion, chopped 2 cloves of garlic, 4 cups of water or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
½ cup cashew pieces (soaked) Parsley leaves, for garnish Cayenne pepper
- In a large pot add peas, vegetable broth, chopped onion, garlic and cook until broth just begins to simmer.
- Working in batches, carefully transfer the soup to a blender, cover, and blend until pureed. Add a little more broth to the blender if needed. Return the pureed soup into a clean pot. Continue until all the soup is pureed.
- Place cashews in blender; blend gradually adding a little water to make a creamy consistency. Pour cashew cream into soup and stir well.
- Warm the soup again before serving.
- Divide between bowls and garnish with parsley and cayenne (optional).
Pear Cobbler with Vanilla Custard
4-6 ripe packham pears
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup oats
½ cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon healthy baking powder
½ cup olive oil
½ cup rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 level tablespoons corn flour
6 tablespoons honey
2 cups rice milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
- Preheat your oven to 180°C; lightly grease baking dish.
- Slice pears and arrange on the bottom of dish.
- In a medium sized bowl prepare batter mix. Add the plain and wholemeal flours, oats, coconut, honey and baking powder. Fold in the olive oil. Mix in rice milk and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Pour batter mix over the pears, spreading evenly and bake for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Serve with custard and enjoy!
- Add all the custard ingredients to a saucepan and whisk vigorously until well combined and smooth without any lumps.
- Place saucepan on the stove on medium low heat. Continue to whisk frequently for about 10 minutes until it slowly comes to the boil. Once boiling and slightly thickened, take off heat and set aside ready for use.