Connection Series 3: Chicken Soup and a Connection Game.
Beloved ones! I’m interested to know who are you having over this week?
There is nothing more intimate than having people over in your house. Sure going to restaurants is fun and exciting at times, but they can also be noisy, the parking can be troublesome, and sometimes the stress of finding babysitters for those of you who have children, can make the effort seem too much. Not to mention, expensive!
But to have someone over into your home, into your private space, is so special. Keep it causal, be interrupted by the children, burn a dish or two. This is where friends become family. Don’t overstretch yourself! Make everyone bring sides, drinks and dessert. Drink tea or sip wine on your back porch and play connection games. For those of you new to this series, connection games are games we play around the dinner table to stimulate conversations, storytelling and eliminate annoying small talk.
It is impossible to not feel refreshed as your hearts align over food and stories of each other’s life.
This week, our favourite connection game was invented by one of our besties, Murray Furlong. Being an avid foodie, and a keen traveller it was:
“What are your top three favourite food experiences?”
Here were mine:
Whole Roast Duck Dinner for Mark’s 30th birthday. I surprised him by booking a restaurant which had a dish you had to order 48 hours in advance so they could marinate the duck. It was a Balinese restaurant. Prior to serving, they brought the roasted duck out, whole and covered with magnificent spices. It was presented with the utmost pride to show us what it looked like before being carved and served. They returned to the kitchen, prepared the prepared the duck and then placed it on our table. Mark ate the entire thing! The couple next to us watched in bewildered awe, as Mark demolished the entire duck all by himself. It was very impressive. Mark demolishing the duck I mean, not the duck itself. I had champagne and was EXCELLENT company. Not just for Mark but for our waiters and the other guests who were on tables in close proximity to us. During the dinner we kept looking over at the table next to us, who were often looking over at us as well (it was no wonder as Mark was devouring the entire duck and I was very merrily drinking champagne). They were a lovely couple in their 30’s and so friendly. As we left, we secretly paid for their meal and told the waiter to send them the message that we had paid once we left. We both agreed that imagining their reaction was the highlight of our night. Whenever I see, eat, or think about duck we remember that meal and night together.
Momos and Dahl in Nepal. It was the first night we had arrived with my older sister and younger brother and of course Greenie. We were embarking on the Annapurna circuit which is a 17 day track around the Himalayas. We stayed in this gorgeous little place and as it was the rainy season, we were one of the few quests. We all tasted Dahl, momos (Nepalese dumplings) strange tasting and looking soup, and Greenie and Yotam had buffalo. The Nepalese people were so kind and simplistic in the way they lived and ate. It was one of the last trips I got to do with my siblings prior to them getting married. I distinctly remember that night, the food, and our time together.
Wedding cake on our wedding day. Which we held at our house. It was a flurry of activity, business and people the whole day. For those of you who have been married, you know what it’s like. My cheeks literally hurt from smiling so much and kissing so many cheeks. Mark and I hid in the kitchen of my parents’ home and sat on the floor. I ate some wedding cake. Which by the way my aunty made and flew all the way from Melbourne with it in a box. I remember that moment together to catch a breath. Apparently after we left that is where the real party got started. My entire extended family went to sizzler together. Classy right? Poor sizzler that is all I can say.
Play this game at your next dinner. It is amazing what you learn about yourself and others.
Greenie’s Chicken Soup.
I have cooked this three times this week and we are not sick of it yet! It is restorative, healthy and so very delicious. Do me a favour and promise me you will NOT cook this with chicken breast. It will not be the same. Do so at your own peril. Also I have taken to using one vegetable in the soup. I change it up each time I make it. I find using one vegetable makes the dish elegantly simple. However you can choose to add as many as you like.
Serves 4 big servings
- 1.5kg chicken pieces or a small whole organic chicken
- Chunk of whole turmeric (if possible)
- 6 Whole garlic cloves
- 3-4 cups of chicken stock (I use 4 cubes chicken stock and dissolve it in water)
Vegetable of your choice
- Brussel sprouts cut in half
- Broccoli one head
- Half a cauliflower
- ½ red onion
- 1 chillies
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
- Cover with apple cider vinegar
- Use a big pot. Place chicken, turmeric, whole garlic cloves and chicken stock together.
- Bring to boil, once boiling turn on low and simmer for an hour or so till the meat is falling of the bone. At this point add one vegetable of choice. Broccoli is our favourite.
- I like to keep it simple as somehow it turns out so clear and elegant looking. Cook until vegetables are softened. You may want to add more water depending on how soupy you want it.
- Finely chop the red onion and chilli. Add soya sauce or tamari and apple cider vinegar.
- Serve soup in bowls with salsa in the middle of the table with a teaspoon.
- If you are serving a crowd you may want to serve with a crusty baguette, or better still a loaf of dark crusty German bread and local organic grass fed butter in the middle of the table.
Have a great night!
Reign in Life.
This morning I cut into my huge watermelon for breakfast only to discover that the entire thing was spoilt. I was so upset. I had made Mark choose the biggest one and watched him lug it upstairs huffing and puffing. I thought bigger would be better. But when I cut into it, the entire thing was spoilt and we had to throw it. I know I am 33 but I wanted to cry. You know when you are so looking forward to something and it isn’t what you expected? After breakfast I thought Mark had left and was headed for work, but 20 minutes later I hear the front door open. Mark had gone to a gourmet grocery store and brought back two big watermelons…… The delay means he will be stuck in peak hour traffic which is one of his pet hates…. But he did it for me. I love my Greenie.