Many moons ago, to be exact 18 years ago. I lived in London. I was there to crack the modelling world, half heartedly I'll admit but there none the less giving it a go and having the time of my life experiencing life with some of my closest friends - times I will remember and hold close forever.
During that time I was lucky enough to be living with a friend in a very nice house in a very nice area being looked after and mixing with people that were far from struggling. The flip side was I was a model living on next to nothing and trying to get by day by day whilst mixing with the rich and famous a vast contrast for anyone who is in their early 20's.
I had small amounts of money that would trickle in from jobs and with that money I bought food and not always healthy food but I was drawn to good food from very early on and in London the 90's was when I really found my love for cooking and experiencing delicious foods from all around the world.
I have many vivid food memories from this time but one that is still as vivid as the day I tasted it, it was a dinner with a group of very high profile people (whom won't be mentioned) at an exclusive Italian restaurant in Soho, one I will never forget as long as I live. The entree was a kind of dip that had the most extraordinary flavour which was accompanied by an array of beautiful seasonal vegetables to dip in it and it quite literally blew my mind. I later (and when I say later I mean 10 years later) worked out that it was in fact Bagna Cauda (anchovies, garlic & olive oil). Anyway, I was lucky enough to be dragged by my friend (affectionately known as Yoi) to many a fancy restaurant to share some of the most incredible food I have experienced to date and I will forever be grateful for those life experiences and path that has lead me to today.
When were home it was left to me to cook which I did in a very experimental way. I would occasionally make cook, usually this soup and I'd make a mean toasted Jaffle. That soup would over the next few growing up years be my staple meal when I was in need of comfort (home sick) and in need of filling up and keeping warm. I haven't made this soup for a very long time but I think of it often and the memories that have attached themselves to the taste and smells that came from the Notting Hill kitchen a very long time ago will live with me for eternity.
Those memories are a small part of the puzzle that makes the Broth Lady who she is today.
When I cast my mind back I may not of used Broth but possibly water or store bought crap stock but it will no doubt taste even better with Love and Bones Broth! Here goes remembering how it's made, I will write as I cook.....
SKINT MODEL SOUP
2 cobs of corn - cut the kernels off
1 large carrot - peeled and diced into small cubes
1 leek finely sliced
1 stalk of celery - diced into small cubes
500g chicken breast or Thighs - (I'm using thighs) trimmed and cut up into bit size pieces
a couple of rashes of bacon finely chopped and rind kept to render down for the fat
parsley - finely chopped
brussel sprouts - finely shredded
soup pasta or rice
Ok, so lets begin....
I may of used butter back in the day but today I have some rendered bacon fat from breakfast so thats what I'm using.
warm the fat in your pot, you can also do this by removing the rind from your bacon or better still use streaky bacon and you can get straight to frying the bacon and the fat will render off all by itself.
add your bacon the the fat and fry until caramelised
then add the leek and continue the caramelization
then add the corn kernels - cook for another 10 mins
followed by carrot
now add your chicken - I chopped mine with scissors into tiny pieces
season with pepper and a pinch of chili
and then the broth
bring to a boil and let simmer until the chicken is tender and carrot is cooked - roughly 20 mins
now add the remaining celery, brussels and parsley and cook for another 5 mins
adjust salt if its needed and then here are the 3 different ways I'd finish it off - as a skinny model in london you need to carb load to get you through the cold weather.
1. Add a small handful of rice to the pot when you warm up your soup
2. Add tiny thin soup pasta
3. A small potato in small cubes
4. add a bunch of greens, spinach, herbs, broccoli to freshen it up when re-heating
Even a little quinoa would be yummy.
Serve in bowls or mugs any which way you have it and douse with olive oil and lots of parmesan cheese
freeze in serving sizes and add something different each time you defrost one, mix it up that's what life all about!
ALL RECIPES AND PHOTOS PROPERTY OF MICHELLE SCHOEPS AKA THE BROTH LADY
©Michelle Schoeps 2017
©Love and Bones Broth 2017