Hapless Jazzy Cooks: Homely Chicken Soup

Before you read any further you need to know a couple of things:

For starters I am not a great cook.

I can never remember how I cooked something, on the rare occasions that I get it right.

And finally, any meal attempted from the Hapless Jazzy Cook Book is at your own risk!

That said, this soup is seriously yummyilicious!

Some time ago I heard that chicken soup is really good for you, so I went on a google scavenge hunt to find me an easy recipe to use up that rare Sunday chicken carcass and provide a bowl of goodness to help banish those nasty germs.

Having experimented a couple of times I eventually came up with the following. I am publishing it here to save me wracking my brains every time I want to make it!

Homely Chicken Soup.

Take a chicken carcass and and squash it down. Place it with chicken legs, skin removed, in a large pot and cover with water. Don't put too much water in, squishing the carcass helps avoid that.


A chopped carrot
A chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
Sprinkling (approx 1 tsp) of parsley, coriander and some ground black peppercorns.

Bring to just under the boil, reduce heat and let it simmer (gently bubbling), uncovered for about 2 hours, or however long you want. I have no patience so 1 and a half hours is fine! So is 4 hours, if you're graced with the patience gene and all the time in the world.

Turn off heat and set pot aside to cool for about 30 minutes and then scrape slightly congealed foam off the top. I rarely find that there is much congealed foam or fat to be removed, or perhaps that's more due to my lack of patience!

Remove the carcass from the pot and drain the liquid into a bowl. Discard the vegetables and put the bones aside with the carcass.

Pick all the meat you can from the bones and carcass and set aside.

Put the drained liquid back into the pot and add some fresh vegetables.

Today's added vegetables were whatever I happened to have in the fridge:

  • 3 small carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 parsnip (I like a thick soup!)
  • Remainder of a packet of chopped carrots and turnips.

Also add:

  • 1 tsp garlic 
  • Parsley & coriander, as before
  • Tiny amount (tip of a teaspoon) of minced chili (if you like a little kick to your soup.)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 chicken stock cube dissolved in about half pint of hot water.

At this point you can add the chicken pieces back to the pot if you like, but I usually set aside.

Once more bring the pot to just under the boil then reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are cooked.

To suit my family's preference I then pour the soup into a blender, setting aside the bay leaves, and puree it to a nice consistency.

Then I add the chicken pieces to the pot, warm it through and serve.

And there you go.



Note: If you have a secret ingredient or tip for a nice chicken soup please feel free to share!



An Unexpected Trip....

It was an interesting weekend, permeated by the planned trip, the unexpected trip(s) and everything in between.

The long awaited planned trip was an overnight stay in the fabulous Druid's Glen Resort Hotel. This involved some relaxation, fun chats and was thoroughly enjoyable. The fun chats, it must be said, went on 'til the early hours of the morning. You know how it goes, lots of world problems to be sorted over a vodka or two etc; etc.....

The next morning dawned and had a certain air of the morning-after about it, after all that world-problem-solving no doubt. Ahem...

Yesterday went as planned, until I got home that is and took an unexpected trip on the wet patio outside, in the pourings of rain. It's more interesting to take a tumble in the pourings of rain - you get a wet ass to go with your damaged ego. And a big lump on your head to boot.

My head met my patio door with an unmerciful whack yesterday afternoon, I've never experienced anything like it. Apart from when I was 4 or 5 years old and split my head on the skirting boards, but I only remember the pain of the stitches then, not the pain of the fall! Thankfully there was no head-splitting yesterday, just a splitting headache. Turns out both my head and my patio door are made of very strong stuff.

But you can't take a chance with a head trauma can you?

Not wanting to make a fuss, nor to take a chance, I phoned our health insurer's on-call nurse to see what I should do. Her advice containing the terrifying warning of potential head bleed or coma sent me flying  toute suite to the A & E of our local cottage-type hospital. Flying pale-faced and on wobbly legs that is!

Oh, the thoughts that flitted through my battered head, but we won't go there! Suffice it to say I felt a band of steely determination that nothing bad would happen build behind my eyes and hung onto that!

I've been to this A & E before many times, with the patient, but never for myself. Once again I noticed how well resourced and calm this section of the hospital seemed to be, although there weren't that many patients there. The doctors in particular seemed to spend a lot of their time on the computers and flitting about than seeing patients. The flitting about could have involved them being called to patients on wards though.

Given the time of  day I was there a meal was offered, just a healthy salad, brown bread and tea. I couldn't help but think that if this was an airline business, say Ryan Air for example, you would be charged for the food or only offered it if you were there a certain length of time. The business would then ensure you were never there that long so they wouldn't have to fork out. A way to reduce hospital waiting times I wondered?!!

However this is a public service not a business and I'm glad for that. It is right to offer food. I partook of the bread and tea only. At a cost of €100 a visit to A & E it was the most expensive cup of tea I have ever had! A two and a half hour wait wasn't too bad though and the doctor I saw was lovely and re-assuring.

Thankfully all seems to be okay. I awoke today with no real headaches but feeling a bit shook and a tad sorry for myself! A pain in my back tells me I must have hit my back also when I fell but didn't realise it.

Yesterday's events serves as a reminder of the unexpectedness of life- you just never know what can happen or where you're going to end up.

I'm also reminded of the dangers of being a Home Alone SAHM (or elderly person) and am thankful I wasn't alone yesterday.

So far nothing bad has happened and life goes on.

After all I have show-work to do and a birthday to celebrate in a couple of days time!

There, that puts the smile right back on my face .... :-)


It's Work, Dahling....

I've recently had cause to ponder over what may be considered work and what may be considered a fun night out.

I mean, is it only considered work when it's long term set hours, is something you're not particularly enamoured about doing and you get paid to do it?

And is it a fun night out when it's irregular hours for a short set period of time, is something you love doing and perhaps you get paid, however minutely, to do it?

After much thought, like about 5 minutes, I have come to the conclusion that choreographing a school show, however much I love doing it, constitutes work.

I must force myself to think that way and to train myself to say 'bye now I'm off to work' instead of 'bye now I'm off to rehearsal'. I mean if I don't do that then I run the risk of confusing others about what it is I'm doing. And we can't have that.

Like for example when discussing um.... arrangements.... it would not do for a night out rehearsing to be considered simply as a night out, now would it?

If, on the other hand, a night out rehearsing working included a planning session afterwards in a pub where there was wine, well then, that might possibly be delving into the realms of a night out. A bit like, say, a meeting that ended in a few beers would. You with me?

So basically, if whatever it is you're having yourself  involves irregular hours, you love doing it, you get minutely paid for it and there's no wine then that's work! I guess wine is the deciding factor.

And if a person is seen pouring over her laptop day and night then that's work too .... aka research.

Similarly, if a busy mum is seen driving along with head bopping, arms and legs flailing and loud music booming from her vehicle then that's work too. In fact it's more than work, it's multi-tasking..... 5,6,7,8,...... indicate.... turn... 2, 3, 4, kick, ball change.... into 3rd gear..... step, kick and  turn, TAH DAH...... stop!!

However, please be assured, I was not multi-tasking the other morning when I nearly got creamed by the local bus when driving Teen Boy to the bus stop. I mean if the bus hadn't stopped in the nick of time but had instead ploughed into us, then that would have had catastrophic consequences.... I would have had to get out of the car, on a busy roundabout, in my pajamas!

You should note though, there are exceptions to the wine rule.

You see, sometimes research work happens late at night. Well, Top of The Pops re-runs and Disco Diva shows are on very late on a Saturday night, you know and are a must-watch in order for me to do my work properly. And as everybody is aware, any good late-Saturday-night researcher needs the sustenance that only wine can offer. The company of a good facebook buddy is also helpful..

Unfortunately reliable recall of the findings of any such wine-fueled late night research cannot be guaranteed...... hic.

Anyway, that's enough rambling ruminations from me, I've got to go now....

I'm off to work........ Dahlings.

Mwah Mwah