Don’t you hate it when the sun is shining outside in a most un-wintry way, yet the sniffly remnants of your winter cold refuse to leave? Or, worse, you woke up this morning with a sore throat or a wheezy chest. How annoying!

Blast ill-health away — or at least get a soothing placebo effect — with this hearty soup full of broccoli, onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Make it for dinner and bring some to work tomorrow. So easy even an invalid could do it.


  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 onion
  • minced garlic, ginger and chilli in jars (apologies to the ‘from scratch’ crowd)
  • 1 handful rice
  • olive oil
  • powdered vegetable stock
  • 2.5 cups hot water
  • milk or cream, if desired

Chop onion finely. Chop broccoli into florets and the stems into chunks. Pour some olive oil into a large saucepan and add the chopped onion and a generous teaspoon each of garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook these until soft.

Mix the correct amount of stock powder with your water to create your stock — err on the conservative side to avoid making the soup too salty. Add stock to the saucepan and when it begins to simmer, add the chopped-up broccoli and the rice. Boil the hell out of this on a medium heat (but cover with a lid ajar, to avoid reducing liquid) until the rice is cooked and the broccoli is soft.

At this stage you can add some milk or cream to taste, if you prefer a creamy soup. I’ve made this soup both with and without, and it’s good either way. Turn the heat off and let the soup cool down a little. Puree it with a handheld electric mixer — if you don’t have one, use a potato masher. Then put it in a bowl and eat it.

If you want to be a MasterChef d-ckhead about it, you can garnish the soup with parsley or a broccoli floret and serve it with warm crusty bread. But you are sick, and we all know the only bread sick people care about is buttered toast cut into soldiers.