How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Hi everyone, this is a guest post from Paleozilla, who will teach us how to cook a simple chicken soup. Be sure to get the best chicken you can get to make this a truly nutritious dish. Try to get free-range chicken or as a compromise, Sakura chicken, which is hormone free, live in a temperature-controlled, clean environment with enough space for them to roam about while listening to Mozart. Yes, Mozart…!

Simple Chicken Soup From Scratch for 3-4 People.
Preparation time 5-10 mins.
Cooking time 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat.
Difficulty – very easy! Little preparation, just top up the water as you go along.

“As it says in the title, this is a simple way to make chicken soup from scratch and feeds 3-4 people. The recipe is a simple version of an English chicken soup that I grew up with. Chicken soup is a great recipe as it is easy to prepare and most of all because you get the very most out of your chicken with no waste at all. Furthermore, all the chicken innards, which have a lot of goodness but not everyone likes to eat separately, help to make the soup. Additionally this recipe is great because if you need to feed more people it is easy, follow the same steps with a bigger chicken and add more veggies. In fact, the recipe below is very simple and you can easily add more vegetables as you like; potato, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnip (for those in Europe), daikon radish (for those in Asia), beans, peas and so on. Stick to the harder type veggies such as root vegies as they will be cooked for a long time. To make sure it is chicken soup it is better not to use veggies that will disintegrate into the soup and flavor it too much such as squash or pumpkin.” – Tom

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2-3 sticks of celery
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, handful of thyme
  • 4 pinches each of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Start with an entire chicken. Just be certain it is clean inside; rinse any excess blood out. I did not use the head but the neck, innards and claws all went in – all tasty goodness!

Chicken soup 1

Preparation is dead simple – the chicken needs little prep, only to be washed and the head to be cut off. The veggies want each end cut off. The onion and garlic need peeling, of course, but the carrot does not. Cut the veggies roughly into large pieces. Do not cut them too small as they will be cooked for 1.5 hours.

2. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large pan. Put the whole chicken into the pan and brown it on both sides. This should take a matter of a few minutes each side.

3. Remove the chicken and set it aside for now.

4. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the same oil and sweat the vegetables for 5-6 minutes.

5. Now put the chicken back into the pot on top of the vegetables and add enough cold water to cover the chicken entirely. Now season the soup with the bay leaves, a handful of thyme and 4 pinches each of salt and black pepper.

Chicken soup 2
The chicken is browned to give it more flavour

6. Close the lid and cook slowly on a medium-low heat for as long as it takes for the chicken meat to start to fall off the bone, approximately 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat. The pot must be closed to retain the water. Continue reading How to cook chicken soup from scratch

How I lost 2 kg in two weeks

I gained 2 kg over Christmas and Chinese New Year from overeating. It was your typical case of holiday indulgences. I ate everything in sight and convinced myself that I was allowed to because the holidays were meant for merry making. Alas, my metabolism couldn’t keep up, given that I was no longer a teenager. I didn’t stick to paleo eating as well – bring on the pineapple tarts and Christmas puddings.

I didn’t realise I had gained any weight (because I don’t weigh myself) until my clothes starting feeling tight on me. My stomach, which was never really slim to begin with, started protruding out and I felt self-conscious about wearing fitting clothes. Even my bra was cutting into my chest.

Was running the answer?

I decided that I would run more. Since I enjoy running, it wasn’t a chore. It just took quite a lot of time because I wanted to go for long runs and I often didn’t have an hour a day to spare. This went on for about a month before I hurt my knee and couldn’t run anymore. The frustrating thing was that my weight didn’t budge at all. I didn’t understand why it was so difficult to lose 2 kg that shouldn’t be there in the first place. To me, I was 2 kg over my equilibrium weight. I wasn’t trying to be unnaturally slim.

At the same time, I signed up for the CFA exam – which is a really tough 6-hour exam covering financial topics – for my work. My spare time was further reduced. So I didn’t have time to go to the gym now and I didn’t have time to run. I decided to look for home exercise videos.

Home exercise videos

Friends recommended Beachbody’s Insanity workout by trainer Shaun T, which was touted to be the hardest workout ever put on DVD. But you get really good results, like so:

insanity workout

Continue reading How I lost 2 kg in two weeks

Wang Yuan Fish Soup review: organic home-grown vegetables

You don’t tend to find organic food sold at coffee shops. I’m so used to poor quality ingredients at hawkers that I took a double take when I stumbled upon Wang Yuan Fish Soup at Tampines.

Wang Yuan Fish Soup

Derrick Ng (pictured above) has several news article at the front of his stall written about his organic home-grown vegetables. He runs a series of urban gardening projects called Generation Green and he grows everything from chye sim to kai lan. He started eating organic vegetables personally before realising that it would complement his family’s fish soup business.

I ordered a bowl of mixed fish soup without milk. Mixed fish soup consists of both fried and non-fried fish, along with the organic vegetables and some tomatoes. This cost me $4.20.

organic singapore

Continue reading Wang Yuan Fish Soup review: organic home-grown vegetables

Staying healthy on holidays abroad

Overseas holidays are normally associated with lots of eating. We want to sample all kinds of delicious foreign food and we take a break from our usual workout routine. It’s not uncommon to come back with our bellies bloated and skin blotchy from poor eating! Even if the trip involved physical activities like hiking for two days, it’s still possible to eat unwisely when we are not prepared with healthy snacks. Or we may pig out after our strenuous activity thinking that we have burnt enough calories!

How do we stay healthy on overseas holidays then? I just returned from my friend’s bachelorette party in the Maldives and indeed, we feasted non-stop! Actually, I thought we ate a lot less than our usual holidays simply because the food and drinks were prohibitively expensive. Here are a few tips:

  • Do a fast before your holiday

If you know that your holiday will involve a lot of eating and sitting around, it may be prudent to do a one-day fast before the trip to compensate for the extra intake. There are several ways to fast. My favourite is the Fast Diet method, in which you only eat 500 calories for women, and 600 calories for men, for one day. The next day you go back to eating normally. It’s not as difficult as water fasts and not as sugary as juice fasts. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend juice fasts at all given the amount of sugar consumed. The good thing about fasting is that you do it just for one day but studies have shown that even temporary caloric restriction can have many benefits for the body, including improvements in blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.

  • Start with a salad

maldives holiday inn Continue reading Staying healthy on holidays abroad

What to order at the economic rice stall

Economic rice, also known as cai fan, is one of the cheapest and most filling meals you can have in Singapore. It’s essentially a plate of rice with three to four dishes of vegetables and meat that you can select from 10-15 troughs of cooked food.

Economic rice is almost never paleo. You can ask for economic rice with “no rice” but the food is most likely cooked with corn or soybean oil. According to the Health Promotion Board, their view of “healthier oils” are:

“Saturated fat found mainly in butter, ghee, coconut milk, cream and blended oils can raise blood cholesterol levels, increasing risk of heart disease and stroke. Whereas monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in soybean, sunflower, safflower, olive, peanut and canola oils both help to reduce blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fat in the diet.”

They will award hawkers with a “I cook with healthier oil” sticker if they use vegetable oils such as the above, despite evidence to the contrary that these oils are not good for our health.

That being said, I still eat economic rice occasionally because it’s cheap and convenient. It’s definitely not a perfect paleo meal; to get anything perfectly healthy, we just have to cook at home. But we don’t have to be perfect everyday. For days where we eat out, we can minimise the damage to our health by selecting the right food items.

economic rice singapore Continue reading What to order at the economic rice stall

Paleo vs clean eating

cleaneating

I follow several health conscious Instagram users. They post photos of their workouts. Some even have videos so you can watch them lift weights in the gym or perform CrossFit routines. And from time to time I would receive photos of food and how they were “clean eating.”

“What’s clean eating?” I wondered.

Most of the time, clean eating involved fruits, vegetables and whole grain, and seem to be really popular with girls trying to lose weight (And girls posting pictures of their well defined abs).

I found a really good diagram, courtesy of eMeals, of the difference between paleo and clean eating. Continue reading Paleo vs clean eating

Restaurant review: Red Pig Korean Restaurant

I found another paleo-friendly restaurant!

Red Pig is a Korean restaurant that specialises in BBQ meat. It has a similar concept to Mookata, the Thai BBQ place I reviewed recently. I think I prefer Red Pig because the meat have less sauce and feel less heavy in my tummy.

It was Alicia’s suggestion to go to Red Pig for a girl’s night out. We made a reservation for 730pm on a Thursday night because it was known to get packed really quickly.

Red Pig Singapore

All the tables came with a BBQ grill and some vacuum tube from the ceiling that sucks up the BBQ fumes. Nonetheless, be prepared for your clothes and hair to stink after Red Pig. Continue reading Restaurant review: Red Pig Korean Restaurant