“Madame Pomfrey’s Pepper-up Potion”

Note:  Madame Pomfrey is the school nurse at Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter series.

photo by Natalie

Natalie came down with a chest-cold virus at the end of the week and lost her voice. She went around with a pad of paper to communicate (some of her messages follow the recipe below). I made a big pot of magical vegetable broth, which makes Natalie think of a concoction Madame Pomfrey might give a student who’s come down with a cold. It makes me think of the bowls of magical soup we were served in Takayama, Japan, a small city in the mountains. It has a lovely, intoxicating scent that makes me think of gardens and the sea. Even if you’re not much of a cook, try throwing this “potion” together sometime. It is so easy, you can’t make a mistake. Don’t feel you have to be exact. You will be giving yourself a tasty and healing gift. You can freeze any extra for future use.

Vegetable Broth Recipe

One sliced onion.

One leek top (green part) sliced long to rinse dirt away. (Yummy white bottoms can be sliced up and simmered in olive oil and garlic or used in simple lentil soup recipe I’ll post later.)

Four or more smashed garlic cloves, in their skin.

Two carrots chopped.

Rinse and include carrot tops, if you have them.

¼ pound white mushroom, sliced (I didn’t have any this time but they add extra flavor and health-giving oomph)

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp peppercorns

2 bay leaves

Parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped (6 or more)  (I didn’t have any this time*)

6 fresh Thyme sprigs

2 fresh marjoram or oregano sprigs  (I didn’t have any this time*)

9 cups of water

*By the end of the weekend, William and I planted them in pots.

Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer (uncovered) for 1 hour. Pour the stock through a strainer, pressing as much liquid as possible from the vegetables, then discard or compost vegetables. A bowl of broth and a bowl of brown rice (with a bit of soy sauce) are appealing even when nothing else sounds exciting.

An array of Natalie’s notes, while she had no voice:

I stopped eating my toast because one edge was gray and I thought it might be moldy.

What do I do about homework? There’s some for Monday. Do I start it today?

It hurts to swallow. Would it hurt less if there was honey in my tea?

Would it be okay to finish watching “The Sound of Music”? Maybe if I’m distracted, it would hurt less to swallow.

(While listening to William and me speak about mathematicians) Natalie jotted the name of her favorite mathematician: “Sofia Kovalevsky”

We should take a nap.

Pointing to William’s BBC History (an excellent history magazine): There’s an article in there about exactly what we’re studying in linguistics!

The new Mary Russell book is really good! Thank you for ordering it, Mommy!  Thank you for picking it up, Daddy! (Natalie finished reading the first in Laurie R. King’s series, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and is now reading A Monstrous Regiment of Women).

Re-airing of Downton Abbey Series 1: 1 week from tomorrow!

Maybe my cough addles my brain.

In Victorian times, St. Paul’s bells rang only when war was declared or a monarch died!

Could we have roasted garlic on toast later?

On Sunday:  I’ve not been outside since Wednesday.




  • DLazar

    This sounds REALLY healthy! It would have been perfect to stir up a batch for John when he had a cold over the holidays. I had to cure him with ribolleta instead.

  • Mary Ann

    Thanks for the healthy soup recipe. When you are better I have a delicious creamy mushroom and chicken (optional) alternative soup recipe. You need to be in the mood for a rich, healthy, satisfying and filling meal of soup with maybe a side of bread. Feel better soon. Hugs, MAB

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