Saturday 1 March 2014

ticktock and a tale of one chicken.

There are three alarm clocks ticking next to me. I love the gentle rhythmic beat. It’s one of those old fashioned sounds like the tapping of typewriter keys that always take me back to my childhood. I remember playing games in the hallway with my three sisters, listening to dad hammering away on his old Adler typewriter in his smoke filled study. Mum would call one of us to take a mug of tea to him. When it was my turn I’d knock on the door, the typing would stop, “come into the office” he’d say in a mock, stern voice. I’d step into the fog and carefully place it on the drawing board, being extremely careful not to spill any. I was pleased to be allowed into his (rather unhealthy...well extremely unhealthy) world, and spend a bit of time with my hero.

One ticking clock is good, three is excessive...I don’t have an urgent appointment that I’m afraid of missing. It’s just that we bought lots of lovely vintage things at the weekend, including the clocks. We wound them all up last night to check if they work. They work; they are working with a vengeance. I’m contemplating taking two outside. 

It was fifteen degrees yesterday, today the temperature has dropped and rain with tiny hailstones is pounding on the roof, adding another element to the percussion. It's inches of rain and I'm worried the main road will be flooded again, and glad that we managed a quick trip into town at the weekend while we could. The towpath was visible so we cut along the river bank. I was missing the book shops and the library. We came back, loaded up with books and dvd's. Oh and lot's of ideas after a scoot through the covered market and speedy look in my favourite Toast. 

Winter's bones with Jennifer lawrence 

Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman.

A tale of one chicken:

When there are only two of you at home one chicken can go a long, long way. Especially if it's a good sized one and neither of you are big meat eaters. 

I made the following with my medium sized chicken:

  • Salad olivier a Russian salad that I make the economical way that mama (A's mum) used to, boiling the potatoes and eggs in the same pan. Less fuel...less washing up.
  • Clear chicken soup made whilst poaching the chicken for the other two recipes. 
To make a clear chicken soup you will need:
  • One chicken, with the excess fat removed 
  • A good sized leek or two small ones cut lengthwise and then chopped into small pieces, washed very well to remove any soil.
  • One good sized carrot, peeled, sliced and cut in half if necessary
  • One of two potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • One peeled, halved and then sliced parsnip
  • A piece of swede (rutabaga), peeled and then chopped into small pieces.
  • A couple of bay leaves and any fresh herbs that you have. Rosemary and thyme work well. If you don't have any fresh, dried are the next best thing.
  • A handful or two of fresh spinach leaves. 
  • One  lemon
  • Sea salt and crushed black pepper.
  1. Simply wash the chicken and place into a solid pan.
  2. Add all the other ingredients
  3. Place on the hob, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and leave until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables tender. 
  4. In the last minute or so add the spinach. 
  5. Remove the chicken and allow to drain. Select some nice pieces of meat and place into soup dishes.
  6. Check the seasoning of the soup and adjust if necessary and then ladle over the chicken in the soup bowls.
  7. Serve with lots of fresh lemon squeezed into it. 
  8. The remaining chicken is succulent and tender, perfect for making the salad olivier, for sandwich filling or to serve with the barbari rice. 
This is my favourite chicken soup. It's very fresh and light. Sometimes I make it with a little ground turmeric or saffron. Other times with noodles or pasta. It is the best thing when you have a bad throat or are coming down with the flu. It is so easy to make and so tasty. But at any time it's a lovely comforting soup...and it's always nice to have a bit of home comfort. 

Thank you, for all the lovely comments, emails and messages about the last post. The naughty blog is still up there but doesn't seem to be copying any new content. I've taken on board all the good advice from you and am processing it. 
Thank you for caring.
Happy new month. I hope that it's a very good one for you. 


  1. I love the sound of a wind up clock and keys on a type writer too. I found an old Remington typewriter in pretty good condition, now all I need to do is find a ribbon so I can use it. Typewriter print is so much prettier than that of a computer. My grandfather had a typewriter that he used every afternoon to type out my granny's recipes, I don't have the typewriter, but I do have all the recipes.
    I hope the rain has eased a bit and no flooding. We were a wee bit chilly this morning at 48 degrees, but warmed up to a nice 70.
    I hope you don't have any more trouble with the content of your blog being hiked. I have been thinking about it all week and to me it just seems like such a personnel violation and it's just plain wrong!
    Have a beautiful rest of the weekend.

    1. Hi Tracey. What a lovely story about your granddad typing out your grandma's recipes. Lovely that you have them now. I have my father's Adler in the loft. I'm hoping that when we move there'll be enough room to get it out and use. I'll keep my eyes open for Remington ribbons for you when I'm on my travels...I look for old camera films and typewriter ribbons too, it's sometimes hard to find those things.
      The weather is so wierd. One day rainy, the next dry. Windy one moment, next as calm as anything. A heat wave has been forecast for the spring. But snow was forecast for the winter and we haven't had a drop.I wonder what we'll get. It's best to be prepared for anything. Fortunately I love all weather as long as it's not too extreme.
      Thanks again for your nice comments. I think they are aware that I know they've been copying and have gone quiet. I've had lots of advice about how to hopefully get it removed. So I'll see how it goes.
      Thanks, I hope that you have a beautiful week too.

  2. oh so much to love in this post debby. love looking at your photos, a wedding! LOVE the shops and buildings, bikes...loved your memory of your dad, and cooking potatoes and eggs together, just brilliant. i always love to see your cooking, my favorite way to make chicken soup too. but your's surely tastes better, you are an amazing cook. i'm sorry to hear you have had blog trouble, i hope that's a thing of the past now. xox lori

    1. Thank you Lori. That's kind of you to say. Yes I was so lucky to see the wedding. I wish I'd managed to get a little closer before the bride moved. She was very beautiful. I'm still sorting out the blog thing but it's better than it was thanks.

  3. Great photos. I learnt to type on an old Remington a big old black one. When I went to work I had a new Adler and then they brought in electric and it was very odd trying to move from manual to electric. Even now on a computer I am a very heavy handed typewriter. Those ribbons use to be cloth and would be dipped in ink and were recyclable. Those old things still fascinate me. I was telling my daughter the other day about my mums first washing machine - a portable twin tub. Prior to that she would go to the public baths and boiler and wringer. She was amazed. Anyway glad your blog is not being plagiarised. The thing is how would any of us know?

    1. Thank you. I love old typewriters I also have one from 1910-20 that I could never part with. I love that those old things have survived lots of computers made since. Like old manual treddle or hand sewing machines.
      You can check to see if anyone is copying. By just copying and pasting some text from your blog and doing a google search.
      I found mine had been copied accidentally. I was looking for an image on my blog that I wanted to use for something else and so did a google image search with the name of my blog in it. Lots of pictures came up from my blog. Odd ones were in pintrest, but lots of them came up with another blog name. Just like mine but with some initials before the name. When I clicked on the image I found the other blog that was copying. I wouldn't have thought to check though if this hadn't happened.

  4. you are such a busy person seeing and doing and buying clocks. Love how you eked out many meals from a chicken. You would make my grammie proud!! Glad that you stopped the blog stealing!!

    1. I like when we get lots done Karen. But Sunday afternoon after I'd finished baking and things I had to do I treated myself to the time to watch a lovely old feel good factor1980's subtitled French was lovely and relaxing.
      I's amazing how far a chicken can go!

  5. what a good weekend....vintage shopping, slow cooking, booking! Glad you have your blog to yourself once again.

    1. It was good steph, nice to do a bit of everything.

  6. Such lovely photos! Your weekend sounded wonderful! Old clocks and typewriters...two of my favorite things. I am currently in search of another clock for my bedside table since my vintage find finally decided to stop working. :(

  7. Thank you Emily. Oh sorry about your clock. I'll email you, I may have the solution.