Health-wise, this year has been off to a bad start. After injuring myself with a sharp knife last month, last week, illness has been the reason why I haven't blogged at all. I had had a cold two weeks previous and thought I was done with it. Little did I know that worse was to come. Monday morning started as usual, I even managed to do some exercises and got to work. By lunchtime my throat felt coarse and sore and a couple of hours later I started running a temperature. By the evening I was completely down. That lasted the entire week until Friday evening. I haven't been this ill in years. Fever, blocked sinuses, headaches, my eyes hurting so badly that I couldn't look at my computer screen and loss of appetite along with a loss of the ability to taste anything. I was drinking my hot lemon, ginger and honey drink throughout in the vain hope that it might help, but it was in reality just a way to wash down the Paracetamols.
Finally on Saturday my temperature had returned to normal and despite still feeling fairly rough, I made my way outside for a walk and to a local farmers' market and the butcher. Considering that Spring officially began on Friday, there was an extremely chilly northerly wind blowing and it felt bone-chillingly wintery. Not yet 'grilled chicken and salad' time then, but rather a 'hot and tasty soup' sort of day and weekend. I decided to throw some favourite ingredients together, flavours I was craving as my sense of taste was slowly returning and the comfort that chicken soup offers. Garlic, thyme and kale with chicken. Not too heavy, but still filling and full flavour. If you're wondering about the amount of garlic, don't worry. Slowly frying it brings out all the flavour and sweetness without being overpowering. Though I still wouldn't serve it to an outright garlic-phobe.
I'm now feeling much better and need to get on with my work. A whole week of enforced unproductiveness had not been in my plan and made me feel totally useless. There have been times when - apart from the fact that being ill is never pleasant - I couldn't have cared less about not working. These were times when I was doing jobs I didn't care about for companies that meant nothing to me apart from a monthly income. Things are different now. I love what I do and I miss it when I can't. I want and need to hold onto what I consider to be my work as well as my passion. Being forced to stop for a while is unsettling because I immediately fear losing it all. It's not a fear borne out of anything rational, but more the worry I have inside me of ever not being able to do the work I love. So for now I'm just happy to be on the mend and back at work.
Anyway, back to the food. If you fancy this soup, here's the recipe. When I made it, I didn't measure out ingredients to the last millilitre, instead I bunged in what felt right and adjusted the seasoning a little. I have written down what I did, but feel free to add other veggies or reduce the garlic. I hope you like it.
You will need the following ingredients for 4-6 people (depending on hunger levels):
- 1 chicken carcass (ask at the butcher)
- 7 chicken wings
- 15 garlic cloves
- 5 medium carrots with stalks
- 4 celery stalks
- 2 shallots
- around 350g curly kale, stalks removed and chopped
- 1 tbsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 5 whole sprigs of thyme
- 4 tbsp olive oil
And here's how it's done:
- peel the garlic and put into a small saucepan together with the olive oil
- on a medium heat, slowly fry the garlic until light golden and softened
- take off the heat
- roughly chop the shallots, carrots and celery and put into a large pot
- add the chicken carcass and wings
- top with enough cold water to completely cover, approx. 3-4 litres
- add the salt, pepper and thyme
- bring the lot to a boil and then reduce the heat
- simmer for 1.5 hours
- add half of the garlicky olive oil to a medium pot and add the softened garlic cloves by putting them through a garlic press
- remove the carcass and wings from the large stock pot
- pull the meat off the bones and add to the garlic
- stir together and gently heat the meat and garlic
- now strain the stock into it through a sieve
- bring to a simmer
- add the kale and simmer for another 15 minutes