Friday, 17 October 2008

Still Hurting

Well, I'm sorry for the absence of bloggage of late, sadly my back has not been kind to me, and like Blanche Dubois in Streetcar I've been *insert own Southern American accent here* "relying on the kindness of strangers". Actually just to clarify not real strangers, more flatmates (who made the fantastic rhubarb and ginger compote above), and boyfriends. Well boyfriend really, there's only one.

My cooking exploits have got as far as a roast chicken on Sunday for two of my girlfriends which I forgot to take photos of mainly because I forgot, but also because there are people who are forced onto aeroplanes at the mere thought of my roast potatoes and I was quite worried as to what the sight of them would do to said people. Still it was a roast, among a weekend of veritable musical theatricality.

Now I know that this is a mainly foodie blog, that I like to think of as adorned or iced (frosted?) with random references to musical theatre, but before we even get to the inspiration for this entry's title, I have to just stop and enthuse? Gush? No, let's be honest here. Fangirl Billy Elliot. Last Saturday a very good friend bought me a ticket to Billy Elliot. Which made me cry; the show that is, not the ticket. I'm soft, but not that soft. I've actually avoided seeing Billy thus far owing to the fact that I didn't think I'd 'get' it. Don't get me wrong, I liked the film, but it didn't feel special enough for an adaptation of a film to warrant a trip to the theatre - well when I'm wrong I say I'm wrong (who am I quoting there? Vivienne in Legally Blonde, thank you Jess) and I was wrong. Billy Elliot, was played by a very sweet and bloody amazing Fox Jackson-Keen who made me cry with his touching portrayal of the Geordie lad becoming a ballet dancer, lost in a world of mining and politics that he knows he doesn't belong in, yet unaware of the existence of a world he does belong in. Also, and this is thus far unprecendented for this foodie, he nearly brought me to my feet during the show with his portrayal of Electricity. Good old Youtube has come up trumps with an interview with Fox and excerpt from Electricity which you really must watch:

As Seth says, a-mahzing. I'll introduce you to Seth properly one of these days. He's a genius!

Anyway, as I say not much cooking has gone on because of the back pain from hell. Readers, if you suffer from chronic pain my thoughts are with you, at present I am limited to brief periods of comfort when my hot water bottle is at exactly the right temperature and in exactly the right place, or the short spell between my painkillers making me want to throw up and starting to wear off. You can see the problem, and the reason behind the lack of postage. However, having roasted a chicken on Sunday, I have used the carcass and leftovers to make stock, lots of lovely stock for soup. Lifechanging soup I imagine, although I am kind of craving carrot and lentil too. I do confess to having been less thrifty than usual with this chicken and only making 4 meals from it before turning it into stock. I know, shocking behaviour. However, I do reckon I've made about 2 litres of stock so that's enough for 8 bowls of soup at least. Or 4 bowls of soup and a risotto... so not entirely wasteful. And I did freeze the leftover cooked chicken, so even though I couldn't eat it, I was thinking of a time when I might want to.

Fabulous stock

To make my stock, I just make sure that the chicken carcass has had most of the meat taken off and used (thriftilly normally), then boil up the carcass in a panful of water (about 2 and a half litres) with salt, pepper, some dried herbs, an onion, celery and carrot or 2. I then simmer this for a couple of hours, sporadically skimming any scum off the top of the pan. This all gets strained into my biggest mixing bowl (through a colander that's sat in a seive - it's odd I know, but it works). The remaining liquid can be made into the best chicken soup in the world, by adding chicken, a chopped onion, some veggies and seasoning back into about half of that stock and then cooking it down until the veggies (normally carrots, parsnips and swede) are soft, and blending half in the food processor before mixing that back in with what's left in the pan. Seriously that served with warm home-made bread and butter, cures all ills, well, apart from a bad back it would seem.

So last weekend also heralded a much waited for trip to see The Last Five Years. This Jason Robert Brown musical has only been performed professionally once in London (to my knowledge) at the Mernier some years back. How many times I've kicked myself for missing this I cannot tell you. Let's just say it's lots. It was revived this Sunday just gone (and for the next three Sundays) at the Haymarket theatre in Picadilly. If you are in London on a Sunday in October, go. It's the most startlingly simple, beautifuly heartbreaking musical and my favourite ever. Better even than Spring Awakening (for which I now have my tickets for the London opening night). Yes it's true. Shocker!

Tonight on the other hand, the week is taking it's toll on my poor back and I'm curled around my hot water bottle watching trashy tv and eating rubbish. Tomorrow, fish pie and possibly even apple pie. Watch this space... for more pastry trauma no doubt!


Jess said...

"But when I'm wrong then I say I'm wrong" - Vivian in 'Legally Blonde: Remix'

Pen said...

Thank God... bugging me no end! Oooh I'm Kate Shindle! :-D

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you're still not feeling very well :( Take care x


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