Chicken Noodle Soup

My favourite season, winter, is finally here. It couldn’t arrive fast enough after an unseasonally warm autumn and the hideous February/March Months of Humidity show. My silence here is the antithesis of what has been going on in real life. Yet another phase of mental instability has befallen me and it has basically been taking all my energy to keep it together for my own health, Chef and the boys.

Did I tell you a while back about the friend who told me that I was one of those who has background noise – an unending stream of thoughts going through my head all the time with very little if any rest? Any task is completed while my brain races through not just what has to happen next but what is happening this afternoon, what is happening with the boys, politics, world affairs and oooh what’s that over there. It was a revelation. I thought everyone had that. Don’t they? Apparently some don’t! Apparently some can just wash up and just be thinking about the washing up. Isn’t that amazing? Imagine being one of them. I remember once, early in Chef and my relationship when we were driving along. I asked him what he was thinking and he replied “nothing”. I was floored. How could that be!? He asked what I was thinking about and I rattled off a number of things including a project at work, what we were having for dinner and how on earth a solution to the Bosnian crisis was ever going to be reached.

In the last month, after a couple of episodes of breakthrough severe crippling anxiety attacks and a generally low unshifting mood, we have been tweaking my head meds with what I would term “extremely limited” results. My standard unrelenting internal dialogue not only changed gears but upgraded from a family wagon to a maserati which I was not handling through the bends let alone down the straight.

The physical side-effects hit first this time – the locked jaw, the weird metallic taste in my mouth, the tension through my shoulders, the poor sleep.

And then the internal monologue not only ramped up to a belting speed, the content headed in a whole new direction. That was when I knew it truly wasn’t going well*. Instead of the thoughts focusing on the functional with the occasional dalliance into the woeful state of the political landscape it becomes a swirling storm of greys and black brewing to the perfect insanity storm.

It is so strange when it starts. Initially – and where I have been for the last few weeks – I can see it happening and engage cognitive therapy techniques with a dedication usually reserved for my procrastination at cleaning the bathrooms. It’s like I am totally cut off from my body, like a TV producer sitting in the production booth feeding instructions to the presenter – laugh now, intervene here, cuddle now, put the washing on, vacuum, stop yelling, start yelling, cook dinner. All of that interspersed with TRY HARDER, YOU’RE USELESS, YOU’RE FAILING AS A PARENT/WIFE/FRIEND/DAUGHTER, YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

It is exhausting in a way I can not adequately describe. At the moment I know those dark yelling whispers are nonsense but I can feel them wearing me down until I succumb to their beat. A discussion with my psychiatrist this week had a new plan of action in place which I have taken a step further. The agitation has reduced by about half. The resting state of panic eased. My sleep has improved, the locking of my jaw ceased and my sense of helplessness ebbed.

Curiously this has all happened by me weaning off an anti-depressant, increasing my mood stabiliser and resuming the anti-psychotic.

In the midst of all this my GP thought we should test my thryoid levels again. Despite ramping up my thyroxine dose in February I was still barely scraping it in to the normal range. Of course Hashimoto’s impacts mood, libido, anxiety and agitation. I can’t tell you how much I feel like my body hates me (maybe it’s retaliating for *). Wanna swap?

 

* When I first started to see the disc herniating chiropractor he said I had virtually no body awareness. I went to object when it kind of dawned on me that he was right. I have a pretty poor opinion of my body so I tend to try and ignore it as much as possible. It helps that I have 500 children to focus on instead of the fact various parts of me are hurting/not working/breaking down.

Anyway, this post wasn’t meat to be that long about my malfunctioning brain. It was meant to be about chicken noodle soup.

Do you know I’ve never made it? I KNOW. My friend Beth has one which I used as a bit of a guide for what follows here. There are a couple of steps here so I wouldn’t say you could do all of it when you get home after work, but you definitely could do it over two nights and get two dinners out of it – Hainanese Chicken one night (recipe to come I promise) and chicken noodle soup the next. Or, cook the chicken on a Saturday afternoon and make the soup that night as I did. Whatever you do, just make it.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

The stock and chicken

  • One organic chicken
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 5 unpeeled cloves of garlic
  • The white parst of a bunch of shallots/spring onions
  • 1 tbsp salt

The soup

  • finely sliced green parts of the shallots/spring onions
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • 60gm approx of egg noodles/angel hair pasta (you know how it comes in dried rounds? I used two and a bit)
  • Optional: some finely grated ginger and finely chopped garlic as per Beth’s.
  • Optional: fresh chilli – finely chopped, sprinkled in at the end

To cook the chicken and make the stock

  1. Give the chicken a good wash and then put the ginger and garlic cloves in its cavity.
  2. Put it in a largish pot* of water, breast side down, with the salt and shallot ends in there (you don’t need to slice these up) and bring it slowly to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 25 minutes, scraping off any scum that comes to the surface, then turn off the heat, put the lid on and don’t touch it for an hour.
  4. After the hour pull the chicken out of the pot, place it on a plate and wrap the whole lot tightly in glad wrap.
  5. If any of the ginger or garlic has escaped from the chicken into the water then scoop out now. What you’re left with is the most delicate, perfectly seasoned stock.
  6. You can, if you so wish, chill the stock now and then discard the fat that congeals on the surface.
  7. Once the chicken cools get rid of the skin and shred the tasty chicken. You’ll use some in the soup and have some left over.

To make the soup

  1. Put the shallots, carrot, celery and coriander in the stock with a dash or two of soy and a few drops of sesame oil (go easy on the sesame oil, this is a soup you don’t want to over-power with anything)
  2. Once it’s boiling turn it down and simmer for a few minutes and then add the egg noodles and cook until they’re done (about 8 minutes)
  3. Add the shredded chicken and you.are.done.
  4. Tuck in.

* By “largish pot” I use one that holds about four litres.

 

ONWARD!

 

 

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  • Linda

    The fact that the male brain is capable of “not thinking” has been proven beyond doubt in our house.

    Condidering you live with 5 of the buggers in your home you probably need to the ability to think in overdrive just to survive.

    Peace be with you.

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      1. inability to think
      2. inability to follow instruction that has only been said once
      3. inability to pick shit up off the floor
      4. inability to aim straight while weeing

      I could go on.

  • LindaS

    Mmm…chicken soup! I made a copycat Roast Pumpkin soup after I saw your pic the other day. Yum! You may not feel like it but you are an inspiration! I hope you feel better soon Kim. Thinking of you!

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      Beautiful lady – we MUST get together – I shall ring/text you this week to organise a day.

  • Megan

    Hi.
    It sounds like things have been very hard.
    I’ve missed you. And your food photos.
    This soup looks amazing. I will definitely have a crack at it.
    Love to you and your 500 children.
    x

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      You are lovely and you must have a crack at it. Off you go.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I thought those background noises in your head were normal too,I even talk to myself sometimes and tell me what I have to do! I had hasmito’s disease before I had a thyroidectomy and I thought I was going mental but I do think some of the mental stayed with me ,I take 150mg of thyroxine daily but they have side effects and with th eother meds I take for pain and nerve damage etc I have to be careful of what I eat /drink so I know where you are coming from.
    I make this soup a lot in winter,and love it and freeze heaps also make it in the slow cooker yummo,slightly different recipe but the same ingredients it is a lovely soup.Thankyou for sharing your thoughts and your recipes.

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      I think I grossly underestimate/attribute many aspects of my health – both mental and physical – that are impacted upon by Hashimoto’s. Perhaps because I have been like this for so long. My endo said that considering how enlarged my thyroid was it had been at least 10 years of impaired function.

  • Paola

    Often I read these posts of yours and see myself, thinking a million miles per second adn OMG the world is going to end I am going to go to jail and rot there and what will happen to Brizio …he won’t be able to anything in his life because he doesn’t want to study properly and we’re DOOMED!
    This is only one second of course as you know and while I’m thinking that I’m doind another 2 or 3 things and keeping up with my job while tending to my house and checking on my mom and …
    Come ON, I’m right with you.
    How I would love to try your recipe but coriander is unknown of here. I tried to plant it but it doesn’t grow properly and dies quickly too.

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      WE’RE ALL DOOMED AND GOING TO DIE ALONE AND DESTITUTE BUT NOT BEFORE A LIFE OF HARDSHIP AND STRUGGLE AND INADEQUACY.

      It’s our collective chorus.

  • http://saltycrunchybitterfresh.blogspot.com/ Kathy

    OH DUDE. I have seen what a miracle the right drug cocktail can be with my boy C, and how devastating the WRONG drug cocktail can be. I hope you and your doctor find the magic combo soon. The interim sucks worse than anything in the world.

    P.S. I make chicken/stock in the slow cooker overnight and have been known to drink a cup of stock in the morning instead of coffee. Stop making that face.

    • http://www.allconsuming.com.au allconsuming

      I had the soup for breakfast yesterday. See, like kind.

  • http://www.edenriley.com edenland

    All of the thinks in our heads, beautiful lady. Too many.

    I will endeavour to make your chicken soup and try not to fuck it up like i did Baby Macs.

  • http://www.seanasmith.com Seana Smith

    Hope that the head keeps improving. We’ve had an episode of terrible panic here which has thrown the ship off the rails totally (or some similar metaphor), very sympathetic. Have printed off this recipe for a time with time… have the chicken and some crappy noodles here which will have to be thrown together in the meantime, but pinning this on the corkboard for a time with time to enjoy cooking it.