Jim Fisher of www.cookinfrance.com has put these recipes together to be enjoyed by all the family.
Classic creamy potato and leek soup traditionally served cold (thus reducing the intensity if the patient is feeling sensitive to strong flavours).
1 leek (white part only), roughly chopped
3 medium semi waxy potatoes (i.e. Maris Piper), peeled
2 tsp nut oil
1 ltr fresh chicken or vegetable stock (pale, not roasted)
250 ml soy milk
Gently sweat the leek in the oil for about five minutes until softened. Add the potatoes and then the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the potatoes are very soft. Turn off the heat and stir in a little salt to the patient’s taste. Add the soy milk and blend to a smooth puree. Pass through a fine sieve and serve either cold or warm (never hot).
Chicken is a source of Selenium, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to the restriction of cancer cell growth and the alleviation of some chemotherapy side-effects. Chickpeas contain Folic Acid, essential for cell growth and for proper synthesis and repair of DNA. There is evidence to suggest that a compound in watercress can ‘turn off’ a signal in the body that is responsible for cancer growth
.This recipe is also a great way to use any leftover roast chicken, and it has a beautifully simple dressing to go with it.
Start by soaking the chickpeas in plenty of cold water overnight.
3 heaped tbsp dried chickpeas (soaked, as above)
4 free-range organic skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp nut oil
Freshly ground black pepper (scant)
Glass dry white wine
250 ml low fat or dairy-free yoghurt
Finely grated zest and the juice of a lemon
1 tbsp finely shredded mint leaves
Bunch of watercress
Simmer the chickpeas in plenty of un-salted water for about 30 minutes (salt toughens the skin of dried peas and pulses and can make the dish unpalatable to chemo patients). Drain and cool.
Smear the chicken pieces with a little oil, then season lightly (if at all - see above) with salt and pepper. Bring a large deep lidded frying pan to a high heat and fry the chicken on the ‘skin’ side for about two to three minutes or until golden brown. Turn the pieces over and brown as before on the ‘flesh’ side.
Pour in the glass of white wine (or water opr chicken stock) and simmer for two minutes. Put the lid on and turn off the heat – yes, that’s right, turn the heat off. Drape a couple of t-towels over the top and leave it alone to ‘rest’ for fifteen minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (t chicken will continue to cook in the residual heat of the pan).
And make the dressing: empty the yoghurt into a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir in the lemon zest, a teaspoon of the juice, the mint leaves and a scant pinch of salt.
Now, remove the chicken from the pan and pull off large strips of flesh, placing them in a bowl.
To assemble the salad, place pieces of chicken, some croutons and watercress on the plate working them into a pile. Drizzle the dressing over and around.
Gelatin - used to set the Panna Cotta - in the diet can help reduce the effects of chemotherapy on the patient’s nails, which often splinter and can even turn black. Soy instead of dairy helps with nausea, and honey is always better than processed sugar due to its naturally antiseptic and hypo-allergenic qualities. Rehydrated dried fruits are often easier to digest than fresh.
For the Panna Cotta:
250 ml soy milk
250 ml soy cream
2 level tbsp honey
1 vanilla pod, split down its length
3 level tsp gelatin
For the prunes:
24 no-soak prunes
2 tsp honey
250 ml strong cold tea
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
Put the milk and cream into a saucepan with the honey and vanilla pod and simmer for five minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse while you deal with the gelatin; sprinkle the powder onto 3 tbsp. of hot water in a small saucepan and leave it alone for five minutes after which time the crystals will have softened and absorbed the liquid. You can now gently heat the gelatin to dissolve. Whisk in the still-hot cream. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the mixture into 6 ramekins or dariol moulds. Cool to room temperature then pop them into the fridge to set - about 2 hours.
Place the prunes in a saucepan with the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Cover and leave to steep in a cool place, preferably overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
Briefly dip the bases of the dariol moulds into hot water for about 2-3 seconds to loosen the sides, then carefully turn them out onto four cold plates. Pile some prunes alongside and pour on some extra juice.
Check out Jim's website: www.cookinfrance.com