From reading several blogs, and talking to neighbours and friends, there seems to be a common thread to everyone’s new status of ‘stay at home’ citizenship. We’re all cooking. Some are sticking with tried and true recipes, others are taking up new challenges from learning to bake scones, to boldly starting a sour dough culture from scratch.
The oven in our household is also getting a good work out as meals and snacks take a more prominent place in our schedules. Bone stock, normally reserved for the depth of the winter months has commenced earlier than usual this year. You’re all no doubt aware that chicken soup is genuinely good for colds and flus, not the canned or packet variety, but a good home made chicken soup. After a bit of research a few years ago on the benefits of home made chicken soup, it seems the health benefits come from the bone stock. The longer the bones are cooked the more they break done, and the more minerals are leached out into the stock. For mine I use 2 – 3 chicken frames, an onion, a large carrot, 2 stalks of celery including the leafy top, a good handful of salt, and a slug of cider vinegar. Firstly I brown everything on the stove top, then add the liquid and salt, and simmer slowly in the slow cooker for at least 36 hours. I have a sheltered position outside where I can leave it to simmer so as it’s not cluttering up my kitchen, and cooking it outside prevents my house from developing the permanent aroma of chicken soup. I’m not one for passing on exact recipes, mainly because I rarely use an exact recipe. If you want to give your own slow cooked stock a go, the guide I’ve provided may set you on your way, or if you like everything to be listed in precise detail, a google search will bring a good amount of recipes for you to choose from.
The bones almost completely break down, and when strained I end up with about 3 litres of a very cloudy, very tasty stock from my slow cooker. I store it in the fridge leaving the fat to settle on top which helps to preserve it. It lasts me for 4 – 5 days and gets used in gravies and soups, added to stews and casseroles, and I cook my rice in it. I started adding bone stock to our daily winter diet approximately two winters ago, and neither Paul nor I have had a cold since. We used to get at least one each winter. Maybe coincidence, maybe not, but I like to think it’s doing it’s job by giving our immune system a great boost. I figure starting on bone stock a little earlier this year with the Covid-19 pandemic raging through the world can’t do us any harm.
As we all know, one needs to eat a balanced diet for good health. Our diet is completely balanced with A good amount of protein, bone stock, our five serves of fruit and veg, grains, etc on one side of the scales, and all the naughty stuff on the other side of the scales. I don’t think that’s how the experts recommend the scales should be weighted, but that’s how it is in our household. One delightful addition to the naughty side of the scales recently has been a couple of batches of Cinnabon’s, a very special cinnamon bun. If you’ve had the pleasure of indulging in a treat from one of the Cinnabon shops throughout the world, you’ll understand me when I say that to eat one of those sweat, cinnamony, sticky, buns could easily be described as ‘food porn’. Anyone listening to all the oohs and aahs that that seem to come with every delicious mouthful would be forgiven for thinking something other than eating was going on.
We came across our first Cinnabon store In Dubai several years ago, and experienced one of the most memorable food experiences we’ve ever had. The sweet, yeasty scrolls are served warm with a sticky cream cheese icing, and they are, oh so delicious! A google search for a Cinnabon recipe will bring up countless choices. Having a thermomix, I chose a recipe that used my machine to do the kneading for me. When I make a batch, we give away a few, freeze some for later, and eat far more than we should on the day they’re baked. Last time I baked them I made two dozen and sent an email to the ladies from my walking group advising the ‘drive through’ bakery was open. Several ladies drove by to pick up one or two for their morning tea. In the days of social distancing it enabled us to have a brief face to face catch up, albeit through the car window. Just another novel way to catch up with friends without breaking the rules. I hope everyone else is managing to fit in some catch ups with friends while still sticking to the guidelines. Would the idea of a drive through bakery work for you and your friends?