Winter is here, everyone is ill, coughing spluttering, with swollen essay-it glands and miserable faces. The weather- unusually mild- is bringing pestilences. So, looking after a small baby, both of us poorly, I remembered the one thing my mum used to make when I was ill. It was sweet, soft, milky and slipped down the reddest of throats. Made with ‘sabu dana’ in my language- translation, ‘soapy beads’- this Indian ‘porridge’ was also meant to aid recovery. So off I went to Wembley, to an Indian grocery shop and found them. They come in two sizes and look like tiny, white beads. The smaller ones are best. Baby and I both happily slurped away the warm soup and gurgled happily. And I promise my throat got better, his fever went down and I felt my mother’s presence right next to me, smelt the whiff of Johnson’s baby powder, which she loved. So here is the easiest, bestest comfort food in the world. Good for weaning children and ailing adults.

½ a cup of ‘sabu dana’
½ pt of water
Whole milk
Condensed, sweetened milk
A few strands of saffron

Boil the ‘beads’ in the water for about 5minutes or until the beads go glassy a little gluey.
Add milk, lots of it, and saffron and simmer for five more minutes.
Add sweetened milk to taste.
It should be quite soupy.