Saturday, October 22, 2011

From Champagne to Chicken Soup

Well, it's been a past few days of highs and lows, both personally and professionally.  Actually, it's funny how often recently the personal and professional have been indistinguishable, though I will try to focus on the former in this blog as usual.

Let's start with one of the best highs: AG's Pink Diamonds and Pink Champagne event at Georg Jensen on New Bond Street on Thursday night.  I met up with Melissa, who is a recent transplant from Boston to London and whose blog I've been pouring over for months, and we rocked the room, checking out the bling, helping ourselves to bubbly, enjoying manicures, and possibly nibbling on a mini cupcake or two or many.  Of course, we did meet the American Girl herself, the lovely Christy:

Christy and Melissa

We met a few other American expats who are based in London - two of whom may turn out to be excellent professional contacts, which is awesome - and I'm really looking forward to having new friendships come out of this.  (Dear Melissa, especially please come into town more often.  And if you need help cashing in on your raffle prize, you know who to call...)

me and the BP

The current low is that I've got the mother of all headcolds.  You know that scene in You've Got Mail when Tom Hanks goes to visit Meg Ryan with a bouquet of daisies and she's in bed surrounded by crumpled kleenex and empty mugs of tea?  That's been me for the past 36 hours.  I woke up in the wee hours of Friday morning feeling awful and tried to talk myself into believing that it was just the beginning of a hangover (I'm looking at you, caipirinhas from Mews of Mayfair) but when my alarm went off I realized that I was well and truly sick.  I stayed at home yesterday to recover and am still taking it easy today; I've got an event at work tonight that I cannot miss and so I'm sleeping as much as possible and downing fluids in every waking moment to get myself back to my fighting weight.

The silver lining of this illness is that I finally got the chance to make stock from the chicken carcass that's been living in my freezer since my last dinner party.  (Always keep the leftovers when you make a roast chicken.  The soup you make later will be even better if, like me, you can't carve properly and you leave good meat on the bones!)  There are tons of  delicious options for chicken stock - matzoh ball soup, Italian wedding soup,  etc - but I just used what I had in my house and made a chicken soup with turkey-parmesean meatballs, spinach, and noodles.

To make the broth, place a chicken carcass in a large pot and add chunks of carrots, parsnips, celery, and onions as well as a generous dash of both salt and pepper.  (You can really add anything else that takes your fancy, like leeks or rosemary sprigs, but that's all I had in my kitchen!)  Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least two hours, occasionally skimming any foam or film from the top.  Strain, discarding anything solid, and use the stock as a base for soup.

The meatballs are almost as simple, and I sort of made them up as I went along:

500g lean turkey mince
1/2c breadcrumbs
1/2c grated parmesan
2 eggs
2 tbs water
chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Whisk together the eggs and the water and then mix in the breadcrumbs.  Allow the mixture to sit for five minutes so the breadcrumbs get well and truly goopy and then add the rest of the ingredients, combining well.  Roll out balls 1" in diameter, and brown them on all sides in a frying pan.  Then dump them into your simmering stock and cook for 15 minutes.

I threw some spinach and pre-cooked pasta (leftovers from a dinner earlier in the week) in the pot for the last few minutes; the spinach wilted and the pasta warmed up nicely in that time.

To be honest, because of my cold I wasn't really that hungry, but I knew that I needed some energy or I wouldn't be able to make it out of the house, let alone to an event tonight!  The soup was delicious even through my stuffed nose - there's just so comforting about this sort of food when you're under the weather, isn't there?

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend and are remembering to bundle up and take plenty of vitamin C!


  1. Nothing worse than a snotty cold when you need to be somewhere.
    Re soup - always keep a packet of split peas in the house. Coupled with the broth from the chicken bones, any vegetables you have, some thyme and other herbs, and you're golden.
    Feel better.

  2. Ah no - I have frozen peas in my freezer and I forgot to put them in! Bah. I should have, for sure. Thank you!


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