Edition #13
May 21st 2021
On my mind this week:
I made chicken stock today in my magic blue pot. There's something really satisfying about making it and I think it's because the usual underlying anxiety around food waste and just general pre-packaged food is just that little bit alleviated. Also the level of smugness really can escalate as it sounds hard but is genuinely so very easy. You throw in a pot chicken bones (which you can buy from the butcher or use a carcass from a roast chook), cover with water, throw in a splash of white vinegar and all the nobbley ends of the vegies in your kitchen that look very sad and unloved. Celery tops, carrot peels or just the old wonky ones themselves, garlic, ginger (I always buy a big knob and end up with manky bits in my fridge door), onion and really any other vegie bits and bobs that you have lying around. Cover and bring to the boil, simmer for 5 hours and then strain all the lumps out. You end up with a house that smells incredible, a clean (er) vegie crisper and about 6 litres of clear stock that can be frozen into ice cubes for up to 6 months or used up over 3 days from the fridge. This is especially good if anyone is feeling poorly and needs a grand old lift. You can add this delicious concoction to just about any meal and give it instant pizazz. I'll pop one such idea in the recipe section but really anything from chicken soup to pasta to a stir fry will benefit from your (high praise, low effort) stock. Also the bonus of feeling like you have done something for yourself, the planet and just accomplished a thing you thought would be too hard is enormous. To save on the risk of burning your pot (as I have done previously) or forgetting about your simmering pot altogether and burning it which is really the only hard thing about this endeavour, make sure it's on a very low heat with a timer or pop it all in the slow cooker and let it do it's thing over night. Voila! Stock done in the morning. Smugness level 10. 

Something to watch:
I have been watching back to back episodes of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney's Catastrophe. We're going to talk about it next week on Suggestible pod so if you would like to watch it beforehand to make sure you don't encounter any spoilers I'd suggest get on to this show stat. You can watch it on Stan if you're in Australia. It's about the trajectory of a couple from the moment they meet, to falling pregnant accidentally, to winding up in a relationship with Rob's character moving across the ocean from America to live with Sharon in London. And that's it really. The joy is in the chemistry and banter between the two. The humour is often very dark but the depth of the writing is outstanding. There was more than one moment in the watching where I snorted and also had a good cry. What makes this show a gem is how well not only the two main characters are written but also the cast of minor players. I also loved how Sharon's character sits in her opinions and doesn't panda to others. This interview with Dolly Alderton and Sharon from Dolly's podcast Love Stories where they go into so much depth about the writing process is a gem.

Something to read:
I've just finished the debut novel of a journalist called Jessie Stephens. The book is called Heartsick and is a non-fiction exploration of heartbreak through the telling of three separate stories as well as Jessie's own experiences. Each story is true and is based on detailed interviews, diary entries, letters and social media messages with each of her subjects. The names have been changed and Jessie has written each story from the first person so it reads like a novel. She has also cleverly written it in the bent of crime fiction making it unputdownable. Word of warning. It had me riddled with anxiety for each of the characters and she explores the really painful, often physical impact that breakups have on human beings. In short, it's awfully triggering if you have ever been through a difficult break up but uniquely crafted and well worth a read.

Something to listen to:
A pal recommended I listen to the Okee Dokee brothers who are a kids band with music that is super simple to play with lyrics that are adult friendly too. My favourite songs so far are called If You Want a SongHope Machine and Blankets of Snow.
'If you want a song' is really really simple but reminded me of one of the biggest lessons I've learned about this whole life thing. There's a lyric that says 'if you want a song then you've gotta sing...if you want love you gotta give it away.'  It took me a long time to learn that if you want to receive love you need to give it first. This I think is crucial. If you want to have good friends, you need to BE a good friend. If you want your partner to do things for you or treat you a certain way, YOU need to learn what they need and be that for them. Having a good partner is also about being a good partner. Not that I manage to get this right all the time but when I realised that what I wanted or felt I needed wasn't just about what I could get from others but what I could be for them so many things changed. Your life isn't just for you to take but to give. And when you shift that mind set it's pretty magic what can happen. If there is something in your life that you wish was there, a person, a song, an activity, even just a night out with friends or something, call me crazy but maybe it isn't about waiting for it to appear but being the one to create it. 

Something to cook:
Chicken Noodle 'I need some comfort stat' Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped into circles
2 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
Tablespoon crushed garlic
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme or use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 or 5 boneless chicken thighs
8 cups chicken stock or broth, low sodium or use your smug homemade stock
5 ounces egg noodles (or pasta of choice)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Water or more stock, as needed

Melt butter in a large pot with a lid (I like to use my crockpot) over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring every few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften; 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook, while stirring the garlic around the pan, for about 1 minute.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Taste the soup then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Depending on the stock used, you might need to add 1 or more teaspoons of salt.
Submerge the chicken thighs into the soup so that the broth covers them. Bring the soup back to a low simmer then partially cover the pot with a lid and cook, stirring a few times until the chicken thighs are cooked through; about 20 minutes.
If, during this time, the broth seems low, add a splash more stock or a bit of water. Turn the heat to medium-low.
Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. Stir the noodles into the soup and cook until done, 6 to 10 minutes depending on the type of noodles used.
While the noodles cook, shred the chicken into strips or dice into cubes. Slide the chicken back into the pot and then taste the soup once more for seasoning. Adjust with more salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve.
Recipe adapted from Inspired Taste 

Sending you a big lot of love this week. Til next time.
Tonts xxx
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I write today, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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