A quick note.
I have a pot of chicken stock on the go, and it occurred to me it might be useful to let you know what went into it. People who write cookery columns keep telling me I can fresh chicken carcasses from my butcher, which I'm sure is an excellent theory. However, I'm not sure the man in the van selling vacuum packed meat on Battersea High Street would be too impressed with me asking for them, neither am I quite virtuous enough to join the half hour long queue outside the posh butcher on Northcote Road for this purpose ... what I'm saying is I always end up using the carcass from a roast chicken. This way, you're never going to get the clear French consomme you want to be really swish, but stock it is never the less. Secondly, stock has three great friends - carrots, celery and onion. There are a whole host of other close acquaintances which will get you pretty far, but those three are a good place to start.
On my hob at the moment is a pan containing the following:
chicken carcass - skin off, visible fatty bits off
roughly chopped large carrot
two echalion shallots in lieu of a chopped onion
no celery - we haven't got any
two peeled and bashed cloves of garlic
decent pinch of salt
two small bay leaves
handful of fresh parsley
small handful fresh thyme
All this is covered with boiling water, and I'm just going to let it simmer, covered for an hour, then have a look at it, then probably leave it for another half an hour. Strain it, leave it to rest, skim off any fat, then freeze it in batches of about 250ml.
It smells pretty good so far, the bay leaves are from S&J's trees on their terrace, the parsley from my father, and the thyme is original Battersea produce from outside my own back door - more on growing your own to follow.