Never mind, it's beginning to feel like spring!

Yes, they’re daffodils, and no, they’re not edible, but I’m trying to cheer myself up and not bring all of you down.  Cough, cough, hack, hack, up in the middle of the night, cough, cough, hack, hack.  Are some of you out there the same? Pity us.

I’ve been really craving good old fashioned Chicken Soup, in which you simmer the chicken with carrots, onions, leeks, celery, parsley, peppercorns, parsnip and dill if you are lucky.  Noodles would be great– I like the way Japanese Udon noodles get all gloopy the way I remember from cans of Chicken Noodle soup when I ate such things. Cough, cough, cough.

I always remember this very charismatic woman who lived in Philadelphia when I was a child, a food writer and cook called Myra Chanin.  She was a friend of a friend of my mother’s, and I to this day treasure my inscribed copy of Mother Wonderful’s Chicken Soup, a classic of Jewish food comedy.  All these years later it’s only 99cents– get yourself a copy of this hilarious cookbook.

Cough, cough, cough, I did make our family a big pot of soup.  We try to eat less and less meat, and I debated this chicken, and went for it, cough, cough.  The chicken meat became sandwiches which pleased everyone, and Enchiladas Suizas with fermented green salsa, and the bones are back in a soup pot for bone broth/stock.  And actually, buying the local, free-range chicken from the butcher (not even organic, which would have been preferable but wasn’t available) for £10+ felt a fine price when you think how many meals it lasted. Cough, cough.  Weird to think that a chicken could be cheaper, not that I don’t understand why consumers like (and feel dependent on) cheap food… Such a complicated food system we inhabit…

COUGH. Excuse me, Cough, cough, cough.

And then I came upon this, which was like flute music in a clearing in the woods, just something so resonant and particular to one’s immediate desire –Stracciatella, an Italian Egg Ribbon Soup with greens of Springtime even though it’s not quite spring…  I felt a NEED for this soup, and a little like I was falling in love.  Her photo is lovely, so look at hers since the one I took was so unappealing I deleted it instantly.

Everyone: spend some time exploring this blog.  Victoria Wise is a food voice to learn from.  Everything she cooks has a beauty, simplicity, and expertness.  And when she lists “dandelion, spinach, nettles, watercress, fava bean leaves, baby turnip greens”– to me that was a line in a poem.

And how exciting for me to actually have fava bean leaves I’d sprouted from my Hodmedod dried fava beans


and could use the baby fern-like fronds of fennel actually surviving frost and hail and thriving in a pot outside our door:


as well as rocket and watercress from a ready-pack (which we know from Joanna Blythman was probably dipped in chlorine so I extra-extra rinsed it).

And parsley, and beaten egg, and grated Parmesan, and all very soft and green. Nutmeg and freshly ground pepper elevating everything.  This is an important soup; gratitude to Victoria Wise.

Cough, cough…

Another incarnation from this huge pot of chicken soup, mixing some with a pureed ferment of cauliflower, carrot, ginger and turmeric, and added some chopped potatoes and parsley.  This is a non-vegan version of this Vegan Chicken Soup. Cough cough.


And the soup that most hits the feeling-unwell spot, Chicken Broth with Kimchi, Udon Noodles, Carrots and Spring Onion, with some of those window-sill fava and peashoots tucked in.  I used a kimchi with brussels sprouts made with the same recipe as Plum Kimchi.  Am going to make this again for my lunch today, cough cough.  Just so want that feeling of hot sour steam floating up into airways.IMG_0697

“It’s not the cough that will carry you off, it’s the coffin they carry you off in.”

Cough, cough.