August 16, 2009

Recovery and Discovery

Recovery: Poor Hubby has been running himself into the ground. Trying to run a business and then racing and working on his farm all the while overseeing his calving cows and trying to protect them from wild dogs and dingoes. A bad cold was definitely not ordered. But he got one. I felt so sorry watching him go off this morning, heaving and coughing.I crossed my fingers desperately hoping any newborns would be okay; unlike last time. Right then, I decided that I would make a good old fashioned chicken noodle soup. Nothing but goodies in it. Hubby needed lots of goodies and there is nothing better for the soul or a 'cold' than chicken soup. I didn't need to hit the cookbooks for this one. I have been in 'throw-together' mode a bit lately and I have enjoyed feeling 'liberated'. I just hoped that a nutritious soup would help him recover sooner rather than later.

Chicken Noodle Soup

3 skinless lovely legs (drumsticks)
2 chicken necks
1 peeled carrot, cut in half
2 stalks celery, including leaves, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 brown onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
several whole black peppercorns
2 1/2 litres water
a bunch of continental parsley
4 green shallots
3/4 cup short, thin pasta

Place everything into the pot, except for the pasta and shallots. Put 1/2 the bunch of parsley into the pot; reserve remainder. Bring to boil; reduce to a simmer; cook for up to two hours; no longer.

Take out the chicken; set aside. Strain the liquid through a sieve, catching all the veggies in the strainer. Discard the cooked veggies.

Return the liquid to the pot; bring to boil; add pasta; boil till pasta is cooked through. It should take no more than three or four minutes. Take off heat; put in green shallots and whole leaves from a couple of parsley stalks. Remove all the meat from the chicken legs; shred or dice. Add to the soup. Keep the chicken necks whole and return those to the pot as well. Season with lots of cracked pepper and salt.

Delicious served steaming hot with some crunchy bread.

Discovery: A few nights ago I received an SMS from Mitch. He and Maxi began their bike trip last week from Stuttgart and their destination was to reach Amsterdam. It was very special to hear they were in Dusseldorf.

My mum was born in Dusseldorf, or at least I think she was. She died when I was almost two years old and I know hardly anything about her or her family. I won't go into detail but most of my upbringing has centered around the "Balkan" way. My half being German has played no significant role in my life. That is until my Aussie boy became best friends with a German boy.

Then his curiousity about his German ancestry began. He has a great deal of respect for German people and he thinks they are one of the smartest races on earth. Ah ha, maybe that is why Mitch fancies some German in him. The bottom line is he wants to know and he wants me to find out. I haven't really. It is almost like a scary place for me to go. But my curious boy just won't let it rest.

I leave in less than seven days. Yes, you heard me right. I'm going to Europe. I haven't been since 1981!! The plan is to meet up with Mitch and stay with Maxi and his family for a couple of days. We are being rather spontaneous about things and absolutely do not have things mapped out to a tee. It shall be interesting to say the least.

Our sketchy plan is to head down the Adriatic coast and reach Montenegro. From the coast we shall venture up into the continental part and through the mountainous terrain until we reach the village of 'Potrk', where my father was born back in 1924. My father would have been so proud of Mitch and so happy to learn about his grandson's interest in his European roots. My dad passed away three years ago.

The house is still there and my uncle and his wife are still alive. Mitch expressed a desire to stay with them for two weeks. He wants to experience their isolated part of world and work and live as they do in the mountains. Let's just say I don't think it is a place where many tourists, if any, are ever seen. Once again, it is going to be interesting.

After that we shall do some touristy things and visit the must see places in Montenegro. We have other relatives there so they will help us out and Mitch is looking forward to meeting his "on the other side of the world" relatives with whom he will not be able to communicate. Fortunately I can speak the language, so, phew.

The sketchy plan, then sees us heading to Greece for a short stint and I was hoping to see Crete and spend maybe even a week there. I am really fascinated with that place, so we shall see how it turns out. After that, back to Germany and Mitch will spend one last week with Maxi who should be back at university in Franfurt.

The week before that happens, we were thinking we might go to Dusseldorf and look into finding out about my mother and any of her relations. I have a strange, shaking feeling as I write. It is like going into the unknown and not knowing what I shall discover. And I am slightly scared. You probably think I am being foolish but that is how I feel.

Fear aside, I feel I owe it to my boy who has a clear and interested connection in his family roots. I need to do this. I have avoided it for a long time but now the time has come. I need to find out just exactly who I am.

See you in two months. Bye for now.


  1. Hey lovely lady, How thrilling about your trip! Can'to wait to hear your traveller's tales when you get back. In the meantime, I've left something for you over at my blog... Love Dx

  2. I love that you are going to look into your back ground as I am sure it will all be positive and it may even help you in how you think about yourself ....good luck.

    So excited for you what an adventure and so lovely to do it with your son really really special. Long ways from the caravan in the back yard when Mitch was born eh???

    Have a wonderful time and try and maybe send a word here and there on facebook or your blog will keep a check on both!!

  3. Safe travels Dear Friend. I wish you luck with finding your roots and to have your son by your side while you do so will be great for both of you. I expect to hear a running commentry of your trip 'cos I loved the last one. I am prepared to wait. Oh and a few recipes of the delicious foods that you will experience on the journey. I hope you are taking a large notebook with you ;-)

    We went to Corfu on our honeymoon many many moons ago and have been back to the Greek mainland twice since then. I love it there...ooooh and the rustic food Mmmmm

    Hope the chicken soup helped and Hubby is back on his feet again.

  4. Chicken soup really is the best thing for colds. I hope it helps.

    I wish you the best of luck on your trip; how wonderful that you are able to go and what an experience it will be for both you and your son!

    I look forward to hearing about this next adventure...

  5. Oh Mariana, good luck with your trip! I hope it gives you and your boy the answers you are seeking. All the best,

  6. Have a wonderful hol! Very excited for you. Love those B&W photos, by the way.

    Chooken soup does fix everything!

  7. Nothing to recover from an over-worked while like a bowl of chicken soup made with love!

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  9. Hi Marianna,

    I havent dropped by in quite a while. Saw your link on my blog so I thought Id peep in :)

    What a nice and interesting quest youre going into with your son, I feel your nervousness of uncovering your links to your past and at teh same time your son's need to discover his roots. I feel excited for both of you too. You express it so well . I enjoyed reading your post. I hope you'll post again soon because I look forward to hearing all your stories :))