Friday, 23 August 2013

Jazzy Chicken Noodle Soup

My new house has skylights. Is there any sound better than rain drumming on the windows? Despite the intermittent rain it is still warm here. Driving home on the M4, I crane my neck to watch the clouds herd the sunset into improbable shapes, banked up between the tower blocks and cranes with their distant blinking lights. My car radio is broken, frantically re-tuning itself every 60 seconds, so most of the time I drive in silence with the window open, blowing a gale all the way down the motorway. It gives me time to dissect and digest the day, anyway – if I had a shorter commute I feel I would never switch off before I arrived back home. I’m almost two weeks into my new job now and finally getting to grips with everything. Lots of lessons learnt and I’ve got to know some real characters. I feel like not many jobs would allow you to break up the tedium of afternoon paperwork with a quick game of snap with a group of six-year-olds. All in a day’s work!

I got sent home ill from work yesterday so running hasn’t really happened this week. I’m going to France for a week on Sunday and am planning on running there – I’m flying with Easyjet though (lucky me) and I can only take cabin luggage, so I’ve realised the only way I can actually take my running shoes is to wear them on the plane. If I’m running late I suppose I will be able to fit in a run at Gatwick, I always feel like you traipse for miles round airports anyway! Running while on holiday in Cornwall gave me some of my best ever running experiences (four very sweaty miles with three good friends, cracking up with laughter half the way round, jumping into the ice-cold sea immediately afterwards – memories like that can’t be beaten) so I’m hoping for some good runs in France too. I do have some new recipes to share with you, though. On Monday I had my friend Kate over for dinner which seemed like a good excuse to make this Slice of Slim recipe. Janey from Slice of Slim cooks amazingly inventive Weight Watchers-friendly recipes. I definitely recommend her blog if you’re looking for some healthy inspiration. I loved the idea of this chicken noodle soup, but altered it a little with a few extras I had in the kitchen. This recipe serves one.

Jazzy Chicken Noodle Soup
For the chicken meatballs:
165g chicken breast, minced (you can do this in the food processor)
3 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
½ red chilli, deseeded
1/2cm ginger root (is that the way you measure ginger..? Who knows)
1 tsp soy sauce

For the broth:
50g nest of egg noodles
500ml water
5 mushrooms
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ red chilli, deseeded
juice of 1 lime
a little more ginger

To serve:
a few more spring onions
chopped chives

Finely chop the chicken, garlic, spring onions, chilli and ginger in a food processor. Add the soy sauce. Whizz it up, then combine with your hands into tiny meatballs, about a teaspoons worth of mixture in each. Put them on a plate or tray, cover with cling film and put them in the fridge for a little while (I did this and NONE of my meatballs fell apart when I tried to cook them, which is a definite first for me!)

Place the noodles into the boiling water, along with the mushrooms and soy sauce, chilli, garlic, and lime juice. Place the meatballs carefully into the water. They will take around 6-8 minutes to cook. I put spring greens into my soup as well, just to bulk it out a little bit as I always cook with tons of veg. On reflection though, the greens turned out a little bitter, so I’d leave them out next time. I might experiment with other green veg in there. You don’t want to stir the soup at all as the meatballs need to cook in peace. I have to say they looked quite adorable nestling in among the noodles. Cooking this soup made me happy.

Test one of the meatballs to check they are cooked through. Ladle your soup into a bowl, top with the spring onions and chives. I’m obsessed with limes so I squeezed some more lime juice over the top, and if you feel like it needs more soy sauce, go for it. This works out as 9 propoints per portion. I needn’t have worried about bulking it out at all, either – it was so filling, we could barely finish our bowl-fuls! I think it’s one of the prettiest things I have made in a while, too.


Recently I have been eating very frugally on the nights I’m cooking for one, and veggie burgers with roasted root vegetables has been my go-to meal. On Wednesday night, though, I rebelled and just had to buy some salmon on my way home from work. Enter this gorgeous salad:

I love beetroot. I love the way it stains your hands and the plate. Just like the blueberry juice leaving purple finger prints on the door of the fridge. To make this salad I roasted a salmon fillet with chopped red onion, mushrooms, and black pepper, then served it on a bed of watercress tossed with Dijon mustard, lemon juice and black pepper. Liberally sprinkled with beetroot of course.

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