It is hard to believe that we are here, beginning at last.
Before this post could be written a road had to be walked that was somewhat fraught with challenges. Emotionally. Practically. Circumstantially.
And yet we are here, and I am so very happy about it. Let me tell you a bit about the road that I have travelled in the past few months.
On April 11th, 2015, our precious baby girl Emilia Maria Hope was born. This event categorically turned our lives upside-down and inside-out, our world exploded with the fullness of joy that is New Parenthood. We realised that our lives would never be the same again; we had been given the greatest responsibility - that of caring for and raising another human being.
So precious, tiny and vulnerable. And she was nevertheless a fighter, with a strong spirit. We were in love. How could we best care for and love her? We wanted so desperately to do everything possible to raise her to be happy and healthy.
Even so, it was not easy for me to transition into motherhood. House-bound and with a new standard of productivity (feeding and caring for Baby was enough), I tried to adjust to this life. But I longed for a creative outlet that would connect me with other adults, something that I could do flexibly from home when Emilia was sleeping...
Then the idea came to me. Why not start a blog, in which I can share my passion for food and hospitality and my journey of becoming a mum? "Just start a blog" they say, as though it is that simple. Well it has been anything but.
Initially I went full-steam ahead, charging towards my goal with passion and pertinacity (that is a word - look it up). Baby, what baby? I'm a budding cook and food blogger...
To no surprise, that course of action didn't last long. I fell prey to the monster that we call "mum guilt"; worrying whether I was being a good enough mum, while also trying to follow my dreams and 'make a go' of Heartfelt Kitchen. I burnt out, tired from trying to fit too much into each day.
After a few months of striving, something happened that made me despair. In an instant my old and tired laptop died - and I lost all the work that I had been working so hard to achieve. (No - I hadn't backed it up... #FAIL).
So I'm beginning again. God has been teaching me things. Patience. Balance. Trust. Surrender. Humility. And the learning is going to continue. Will you walk this road with me?
Chicken Bone Soup (It's good for the soul and even better for the body)
This soup is packed with good stuff. It is truly a medicine! I especially love that it is SO EASY to prepare. No peeling and minimal preparation required! It's also cheap - ask at your local butcher for some chicken bones to buy - they usually sell bones for stock or soup inexpensively.
A quick note on stock vs bone broth
This soup could also be referred to as chicken stock or chicken bone broth. The only difference here is that we are not separating the ingredients from the broth.
Bone broth/stock is an integral part of traditional cuisine. Our thrifty ancestors would always ensure that every part of an animal was utilised in cooking. Rich, flavourful stocks have been used for eons, both as a medicine and to intensify the flavour of other dishes.
A few fantastic nutritional facts about meat stocks:
Meat stocks contain "minerals of bone, cartilage, marow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate" (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions p116). An acidic medium, created in this recipe by the addition of apple cider vinegar, helps to draw out the goodness into the broth. Furthermore, meat stocks are high in gelatin which soothes the digestive tract. So bone broth is extremely good to eat in times of poor health, especially digestive problems, for its easily available nutrition.
Yet another reason why this soup is awesome
Do you know that the skins of onions and garlic contain higher levels of antioxidants than the actual onion layers and garlic cloves themselves? So, as long as you can source organic onions and garlic (you don't want to be ingesting those nasty pesticides) don't bother peeling them! Easy and nutritious. In our family opt for the super easy method of serving the soup skins, bones and all - mmm I love chewing the remaining tidbits of meat off the bones - but if you are picky, feel free to remove skins and bones before serving.
Please note: Rinse vegetables well before using. If inorganic, pesticides are present on their surfaces and should be rinsed off so as not to 'tarnish' the broth.
Chicken Bone Soup
1kg organic, free range chicken bones
2T ghee, or other oil for frying
6 small (or 3 medium-sized) organic onions, skin-on, halved
3 heads of garlic
1 leek, sliced
4 carrots, diced
3 parsnips, diced
2T green peppercorns (optional - adds spice)
2T mixed herbs (you could also use your preferred ratio of italian spices: oregano, sage, parsley, rosemary...)
Handful fresh rosemary leaves, crushed (again, use any fresh italian herb that you may have handy)
1/4C apple cider vinegar
Fresh cold water, enough to fill the pot
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat the ghee in a large pot over a medium-high heat.
2. Add the leek and herbs and peppercorns if using. Fry gently until fragrant.
3. Add the rest of the prepared vegetables and cook, stirring, for a minute, then put in the chicken bones.
4. Fill the pot, almost to the top, with fresh cold water and pour in the apple cider vinegar.
5. When the soup reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for at least an hour.
6. Season to taste, and serve with torn fresh kale leaves and crusty sourdough (optional).