Have you heard of Restless Legs Syndrome? Most evenings, and at times when I require my legs to be still, I get an uncontrollable urge to move them. The resulting spasming is both minor and amusing but the accompanying tingling sensation, akin to pins and needles but pointier, makes me feel sick and sometimes a little panicked – not much fun. During my pregnancy I’ve had mild anaemia and the RLS has become more severe than ever – sometimes reaching slapstick proportions, my possessed legs forcing me to perambulate manically around the flat like John Cleese! After reading that low iron levels were linked to RLS I summoned my inner Popeye and set about getting as much of this precious mineral into my bloodstream as possible. Red meat, kale, sardines, beans, pulses, almonds, whole grains and, of course, spinach have all paid regular visits to my plate. This punchy soup is one of my favourite recipes so far. It uses a whole bag of spinach along with vitamin C rich sweet potato which helps the body absorb iron and naturally thickens the soup.
Melt a medium knob of butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan and throw in one large chopped white onion, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of curry powder. Stir and leave to soften. Meanwhile roughly chop 3 cloves of garlic, 1 red chilli, a handful of coriander stalks, 1 sweet potato and add these to the onions. Put the lid on and let everything sweat over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Then pour in enough vegetable stock for the amount of soup you want to make – obviously less stock makes for a thicker, more intense soup but the flavours will still hold their own in a thinner broth – it’s entirely up to you. Then stuff a whole bag of fresh spinach leaves into the pan (you could even use 2 bags if feeling particularly restless), let it wilt, turn off the heat and blitz the soup with a hand blender until smooth. Be generous with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg, tasting as you go. Serve with natural yoghurt thinned with lime juice, some finely chopped coriander and a slice or two of good quality wholegrain bread. I just had a bowl for lunch and my legs are behaving themselves under the table.
If any of you fellow anaemiacs or RLS sufferers have an iron-rich recipe to share, please do so in the comments box below. Time to show our legs who’s boss.