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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Post the Sixtieth (in which our heroine contracts bubonic plague)

Or possibly something worse than bubonic plague.  Captain Trips, maybe.  Or perhaps the worst affliction known to modern medicine - Manflu.  I've been absolutely floored with a dose since Tuesday (it's now Sunday), something which is very unlike me.  Normally three days, max, and I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again.  Instead, we're on day seven of this dose and I would quite happily donate myself to the glue factory, if I could only leave the house.

It seems to be strep throat on top of a chest infection.  Which is great, cause it means I'm barking like a dog while barely being able to swallow.  Imagine someone has implanted a fish-hook in your throat, then given you a really chesty cough.  And every time you cough, they give the hook a good tug.  That's kind of what it feels like.  And the great news is that I get to share the wealth around the office cause I don't get paid for sick days and can't afford not to go in, yay!

So, most people are at least lucky enough to lose their appetite when they get sick.  Not the case here.  I could literally be at death's door and I'd still be wondering what to have for my next meal.  This dates back to when I got my tonsils out when I was 11.  Before that, I couldn't *look* at food when I was sick, just like any normal person.  But when they took the tonsils out, they apparently indavertently implanted the appetite of a 17-stone, MMA-practising rugby player who's in training for a pentathlon.  My dad has joked over the years that it would have been cheaper in the long run to have my tonsils put back in, cause I've been eating them out of house and home ever since.  At least, I think he was joking...

Anyway, the unwritten rule about foodstuffs for sick people seems to be that soup is yer only man.  I'm not entirely sure why this is, but far be it from me to fly in the face of convention.  Now, soupy soups do little or nothing for me - sore throat be damned, I still like texture and something to chew on in a soup.  And, come on, it wouldn't be me if I didn't lace my food with chillies...  So this soup is absolutely perfect for when you're feeling a bit poorly - it's pure comfort in a bowl, and the chillies will make you forget all about your cold/cough/bubonic plague for a good ten or fifteen minutes.

Chicken Noodle Soup - serves 4-6

1.5 litres good quality chicken stock*                       3 chicken fillets, cut into strips
100g egg noodles                                                    2 red chillies, thinly sliced                                              6 spring onions, sliced                                             1 large red pepper, julienned                                       2" piece of ginger, peeled                                        2 fat garlic cloves, very thinly sliced                               4 tbs light soy sauce                                                Bunch fresh coriander, chopped

1. Bring your chicken stock to a high simmer in a large pot.  Add your chicken strips and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Prick your ginger all over with a fork, cut in half and add to the stock with the garlic.  Add the noodles, chilli & pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes.

3. Add the spring onion and soy sauce and simmer for 3 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in the coriander, taste and adjust the seasoning if needs be - see my note on stock below for my feelings on salting this soup.

4.  Enjoy!

*A Note On Stock
I've posted before on chicken stock and how, obviously, it's best to make your own.  We all know that that's not always possible, though, so I'm not going to judge anyone for buying stock.  What I will say, however, is that the quality of the stock you use does make a huge difference to the end result of this soup.  I was recently introduced to Pure Brazen stocks and they're pretty much the closest thing you're going to get to making your own.  If you can't get your hands on  PB, then spend an extra euro or so on an organic stock cube or bouillon.  Going back to whether or not you should salt this soup, it really depends on what stock you've used and also how salty your soy sauce is.  Obviously, if you've used a homemade stock, you'll know exactly how much salt was in it in the first place.  Pure Brazen don't add any salt to their stocks, so you may well need to add a little salt (or more soy sauce) to the soup before serving.  Cheapy stock cubes, on the other hand, are notoriously salty, and you may well need to actually add a little water to the soup if you've used one of them in conjunction with a very salty soy sauce.  Use your cop-on, obviously, and taste, taste, taste.  It's the only way you'll perfect your seasoning.

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