November 6, 2010 at 1:50 am 2 comments

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I cooked today. Nothing new there but I cooked one of my favourite dishes from childhood, broth. There is something about making a large pot of broth that comforts me nearly as much as eating it. At the risk of coming over all Nigel Slater (and that is something I am happy to be for a while), there is a joy in peeling and chopping when you can see, smell and taste the final result in your mind.

If you have read the blog before you will know I am from Northern Ireland and we have many popular dishes that are pretty unique to us. The recipes for champ, potato bread (aka fadge!) and soda bread are all pretty standard. However, when it comes to Irish Stew and broth family traditions are followed. Some make their stew with lamb or mutton, I make mine with shin of beef. When it comes to broth I have to follow my mother and use ‘our’ traditional ingredients.

This is not a cooking blog but this is one recipe I will share with you. If you chance to make this then I hope you enjoy the end result as much as I do……

To start you need chicken stock. If you have a chicken carcass then place it in a very large pot, cover in cold water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour. Strain the stock and you  have the basis of your soup; wash your very large pot and return the stock as this recipe will make a large pot! If you don’t have a chicken carcass then use some decent quality ready-made stock.

Once you have your stock then the chopping begins. I will give some instruction on the quantities but if you make this a few times you will know what balance you want to achieve with your broth. This is good, broth is a personal thing and  should end up how you want it.

Bring the stock back up to a good simmer and add 3 chopped onions. Then come the peas and soup mix that will give a real substance to the broth. You will need a cup and a half of soup mix and a cup of non-soak dried peas. You can use the peas that require soaking, the only thing you have to remember is that they need to soak for a few hours before you start. Some of you may be asking at this point what soup mix is. Soup mix consists of barley, lentils and small split peas and adds flavour and oomph to the broth.

Once you have added the onions and soup mix leave to simmer for about 30 minutes. I use this time to prepare the rest of the vegetables and herbs to be added. Be warned, you are about the enter the chopping zone!

You will now need – carrots, parnsips, leeks, parsley and celery. I use 4 large carrots, 3 large parsnips, 3-4 leeks depending on size and a large bunch each of parsley and ‘baby’ celery. If you can’t get the young leafy celery then use 3 stalks of celery but chop quite finely. Chop the carrots, parsnips and leeks into medium pieces. Chop the parsley and baby celery finely; I use only the parsley ‘flowers’ but like to use the baby celery stalks as well as the leaves as they add real flavour.

Once the 30 minutes have passed add in all the above and bring back to a simmer. Add more water during this time if you feel the broth is too thick, again a matter of personal taste. In about another 30 minutes when the vegetables are tender your broth is ready and it will be mighty fine.

Then comes the eating, bliss! I will eat the broth as it comes but you may like to have hot crusty bread. Others love to add boiled potatoes to the broth as well; another good option. The best thing of all? Broth is always better on the second day if it lasts that long. The flavours come together and it will warm you from tip to toe. It may not look Michelin starred but for me, it has the taste that takes me back to childhood and will always bring me solace…..

We all have things that take us back to childhood in the best way and this is one of mine. Making and eating this lovely broth will always make me smile. Sometimes we need to smile and when I do I will make this. I am keen to hear what takes you back and makes you smile; perhaps you will come and tell me?

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.



Entry filed under: Childhood, Children, Cooking, Donating, Food, Life, wheniwas8. Tags: , , , , , , .

Spooked! Remember…..

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  November 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I am so glad you like the sound of it. It does taste as good as it sounds!

  • 2. LM Lawrence  |  November 12, 2010 at 12:47 am

    I love this recipe! I am going to give it a try. My great grandparents were from Ireland and these type of dishes was something my grandma always cooked. This makes me happy 🙂


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