What’s cooking?

12 November 2010

Look at this… Do you notice something?

...Soul food...

Yes, it’s a pot of water, a poor dead chicken (it lead a happy life though, it’s organic), it’s garlic and onions, ginger, carrots, peppercorns… it’s chicken soup in the making. And this is a big first for me. I have never in my life made chicken soup from scratch. In fact, I haven’t touched a piece of dead meat in 20+ years. But it had to be done today, my hero is ill with a nasty flu that gives him headaches, vertigo and backache, and I thought that the magic cure might be a chicken soup that nourishes body and soul. Luckily I had some single use latex gloves ready to touch the poor dead bird. I wouldn’t be able to do this with bare hands. I picked up the gloves-in-the-kitchen idea at our cocktail mixing friend’s house in the far North of Germany. It just keeps hands more sightly when you’re messing around with food full of colour like plums, beetroot, or pomegranate. For me it also acts as a barrier and makes handling a bird’s carcass feel less ‘immediate’. (You can tell that managing the dead bird was a REAL pleasure for me… ūüôā ¬†) Anyway, tonight’s concoction has been happily simmering away for about 2 hours now, only another 120 minutes and it will almost be ready to be consumed. But I am just a bit worried now. I want this soup to look attractive too. So I have been keeping it below boiling point to ensure that not too much fat seeps into the broth or consomm√© (what the hell’s the difference???), I have also been skimming off foamy impurities at regular intervals. I have also toyed with the idea of clarifying the soup with egg white. But, as my Larousse gastronomique tells me, clarifying the soup also removes nourishing particles, so this soup won’t be clarified. After all, it will have to serve a medical purpose rather than an aesthetic or culinary one. Until tonight I had no idea that there is a whole universe of chicken soup knowledge. And I reckon after reading Larousse, Giorgio Locatelli, several webpages on the internet, I will just do my own version, I will do a bit of straining, a bit of skimming and add some spices. Maybe I will make funny moves with my wooden spoon and do some incantations to enhance the healing powers of this soup too. I need to consult Lucy on this, she has just finished volume 7 of Harry Potter and knows lots of spells by heart :). And it won’t do any harm, I am sure and hopefully my man will be on the mend in no time at all.

PS: I heard the first Christmas song (Santa Baby) on the radio about three weeks ago. I am still horrified. Is it really that late in the year? Do I really have to start thinking Christmas, presents, fatty foods and the full glitter, candle,  and tree shabang already?

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