Monday, 6 May 2013

spring fever

One sure sign of spring has got to be the catching of a fever.

Not talking about all that feverish activity in mother nature that makes the birds (and the bees) race around building nests and chasing each other, but of course that is also happening...

I meant the bevy of all sorts of other fevers one might catch this time around, like the gardening madness, the cleaning frenzy or the to-do list compiling craze, just to mention a few of the spring manias.

And then, there is also the fever one might catch as the result of a sudden urge to shed the cosy, protective woolly layers of one's winter attire, or at least to go out bareheaded on a crisp but stunningly sunny morning. And that's the fever I have caught. Flu.

Luckily I have some home-brewed medicine to combat it with: Vietnamese noodle soup and  hot chilies. While the chili heat helps to fight back the virus, it is a good way to feed when not having much appetite. Plus, the whole soup takes about 10 minutes to prepare and cook from scratch, which is a bonus when cooking feels like a lot of effort. I'll share the recipe at the end of the post, in case you'd like to try it, having flu or not.

One thing I really despise about being ill at this time of the year is all that time spent lying around sneezing into a tissue. I have stuff to do! Those other fevers have caught up as well.
I have wardrobes and cupboards to sort out, windows to clean, plants to re-pot and seeds to sow, not to mention the enjoyment of the warming spring sun...

In spite of the day after day flu misery, we have managed a little bit the other day: planted some radishes, spinach and chards while recycling some big water bottles which we have saved for this specific purpose. The leafy looking things are some of these re-grown lettuces.

The boyfriend calculated that we shall be able to fit 30 more of those big bottle planters on our little balcony. That's a delightful vision of much leafy greenery for that little space!

I hope that all of you are having a good flu-free start to the week, but if not then read on for the recipe!

Simple pho soup with chilies 
serves 2-3

rice noodles (1/4 pack)
a teaspoon of vegetable oil
2 carrots (cut or shaved into thin strips)
1.5 liter of water
2 vegetable stock cubes (organic if possible)
thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled)
1 star anise
a piece of fresh hot chili to taste (chopped)
1 small head of chinese greens (pak choy or napa cabbage; shredded)
a handful of bean sprouts
1 tablespoon lime juice
soy sauce to taste
  1. First, prepare the noodles. Pour boiling water over them and soak them for a few minutes until cooked (refer to the pack). Once cooked, drain them, rinse in cold water, drain again, then stir in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and set them on the side.
  2. Prep the carrots by julienning them - cutting them into long thin strips. I use my peeler to shave strips of them which then I further slice with a knife into long matchstick thin pieces. The point of this is, that they will need only a minute of cooking time.
  3. Next, prepare the stock by boiling 1.5 liter of water and dissolving 2 vegetable stock cubes in it. Throw the star anise and the piece of ginger into it and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Pull the pot off the heat for a second and fish out the star anise and the ginger from the stock, bin them. 
  5. Add in the finely chopped chili, simmer for another minute - we use habaneros which are rather hot and don't need much of. If wanting to skip the fresh chili part, you can use a little dried chili instead now, or add hot sauce right at the end.
  6. Next, throw in the shredded chinese greens, the shredded carrots and the bean sprouts and cook for another minute.
  7. Pour in the lime juice, add some soy to taste - and if using any, add some hot sauce now - stir once and take off the heat.
  8. Place a portion of noodles into a bowl and serve the hot broth over it. Enjoy!


  1. This soup sounds delicious, and easy too! I would love to see your balcony filled with little pots and veggies! Hope you feel better soon chica!

    1. thank you Carol! it's easily one of my favourite easy meals.

      i'll be posting pics of the balcony as the leafy greenery materializes :) i hope your garden is weed-free now (as much as you wanted it be) and hoping to see some pictures of it too over on your blog some time!

  2. Sorry to hear your not feeling well hope that changes soon.

    1. Hi Denise, thanks and I'm feeling better already! :) thanks for stopping by!

  3. oh aniko i hope you are doing much better already!
    your noodle soup looks delicious!

    1. i do feel a bit better yes :) thank you Evdokia! xx

  4. I love the recipe, will have to try that. We've all been beset with illnesses in our family since the birth of my baby and I'm longing for the moment when none of us is ill! Glad to see from the comments that you're recovering. I know flu can often leave a kind of depression and exhaustion in its wake, so hope you're feeling bouncy again.

    1. Oh, sorry to hear that you and family have been ill too. Hopefully the days of perfect health are nearby.

      I forgot that I have hayfever, and it seems that flu might have been caused by my reaction to tree pollen after all. I did not think that it was possible to have hayfever when none of the trees had even leaves on in april. This country really surprises me time to time xx


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