On a whim last night I decided to stop by the supermarket after work and [vegetarians look away, look away!] grab the fixings to make chicken soup. From scratch. No bouillon cubes. No packet this, no sachet that. Just an organic free range chicken, water, carrots, onions, celery, a bay leaf (thanks Speedy!) and some peppercorns.
A couple of hours and a house full of nummy aroma later and I had a big pot o' chicken and delicately flavoured stock. Most was placed in a container in the 'fridge to allow the fat to solidify and then be disposed of, and some was placed in a small pan to be simmered with risoni, salt & pepper, some of the veggies from the stock, lashings of shredded chicken and some parsley. A small squeeze of lemon would have been good too, but I forget to get any lemons at the supermarket. When life doesn't give you lemons, make... do without them.
It was rewarding and relaxing. It felt nice to be making something from scratch, and putting aside something for future meals. In this case containers of stock in the freezer for cold winter soup nights, or risotto maybe. Most nights I only have the enthusiasm to spend 10 minutes throwing together some pasta or something easy, but given the lightning strike of time and energy there was real enjoyment in checking the pot, skimming, smelling and waiting.
And then today found me looking up small sized slow cookers online. I mean, a casserole all ready for me when I get home on a winter work night? With portions boxed up in the freezer for later?... Nom nom.