Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dark Days Week 9- Cold and Flu Edition

I finally figured out which week we're on for the Dark Days challenge but I'm still playing catch-up. This week was pretty much a write off since I was felled by a miserable cold/flu that forced me to spend much of the week in bed. I have had the worst cold season I can recall, battling one variation or another since Oct but this one really hit me hard and all the members of this house were in varying degrees of illness or recent recovery, so groceries were few and cooking attempts were pretty feeble, at least on my part. Thankfully we had lots of homemade soups in the freezer and home canned juice and stock on the shelves.

My first line of defence when ill is the traditional, rest and fluids. Lots of juice, tea and soup to flush the system is usually a pretty reliable remedy. Last fall at the Royal Winter Fair I picked up these fantastic teas made by Boreal Forest Teas from Thunder Bay, ON. Now even tho it's in Ontario, Thunder Bay is not exactly local for me; in fact it's five Great Lakes and about 1300 km (850 miles) from Toronto. But their teas are organic, wild harvested and hand crafted and they have the coolest names! How could I resist teas named Northern Lights, Loon Song and 40 Below?

Visually appealing as well, each blend is a mix of dried locals herbs and berries and come packaged loose so you can mix and match. Which is exactly what I did and I added additional things like more rosehips (vitamin C) and dried lemon grass ( good for respiratory troubles).

On the worst day, when I was in pain from totally blocked sinuses, the Chef roommate took pity on me and created a version of Hot and Sour soup that you will never find in any recipe book. Using what we had on hand he came up with a reasonable facsimile, with all the tang and spiciness that helped open up all the congestion in my head. I cannot tell you everything that went into it since I was otherwise occupied (in bed, watching Victorian Farm on Youtube) but I do know that it incorporated my hand dried rosehips, chili peppers and lemon grass, as well as garlic, dried mushrooms from Forbes Wild Foods, and fresh local udon noodles. The broth was a mixture of the ham stock I canned earlier, some of the home made cider vinegar and this wonderful organic brown rice miso made by Traditon Miso just east of Toronto in Claremont- check out the photos of their 'factory'. The soup was delicious and medicinal but not exactly photogenic, even if I had had the energy to pick up my camera at the time. I settled for a picture of some of the ingredients.

I'm on the road to recovery finally and my appetite is back which means my next Dark Day post will likely be about something a bit more substantial. That means a shopping trip to the Sorauren Market is in order tomorrow!


  1. Oh no, I Hope you feel much better now! Those teas do look lovely.

  2. Thank you Thank you Thank you! For posting about the Thunder Bay teas. Thunder Bay is about 350 miles from St. Paul, MN so its just over the local line but much closer than the teas I have been drinking! I'm so excited to order them!

  3. You can get Victorian Farm all in one go legally at + videos + documentaries. Hope you're feeling better now!

  4. I hope that by now you are on the mend. I'm from north of Sault Ste. Marie, and even to me those tea names sound pretty cool. Even though T Bay isn't local for you, you should feel good about supporting your own provincial economy.
    *high five*
    Keep up the good work!

  5. Thanks for the well wishes, I am pretty much recovered from this round at least!

    Amy, you're welcome, I hope they can ship across the border or you find somewhere local that carries them. My bestest friend lives in St Pauls and I visit every few years- it's a great city!

    Sarah, thanks for the tip! do they have Edwardian as well?

    Carolyn, always happy to buy and promote local- we live in a big province!

  6. Have you tried The Algonquin Tea Co.?
    I like their teas and I think they make the 100 mile for me.
    There is nothing like miso soup. I just bought some 3 year aged barley miso at the Guelph Organic Conference and it is delicious. Did you know in WW2, Japanese who drank a lot of miso had less radiation sickness after Hiroshima?
    I hope you are feeling better. I'm very behind on my Dark days as well.

  7. I'd actually forgotten about Algonquin teas, thanks for the reminder! I wonder if the protective agent in the soup was the miso itself or perhaps the seaweed (which is high in iodine, a known radiation absorber.)In either case, I think I need to eat more of it!