These pictures were taken over the weekend. The lakes and ponds that dot the city of St. John’s still lay frozen and lifeless. Winter has been a hard one this year, and so drawn out that it feels like a ruthless spell. The snow, piled high by numerous snow storms since December, seems pretty snug and content to overstay its welcome.
Our Little One has been patient. The playground being frozen equates to an apocalypse in her little mind. She often refers to us being on Neptune. “This is not planet Earth, Mama. This is planet Neptune because everything is frozen.” I don’t have the heart to disagree.
When the sun seems strong outside, it is often paired with an equally strong windchill. A walk, a jump, a skip on the fluffy snow is enough to make her forget about the disaster of a snowbound playground. And of course feeding the ducks and pigeons around the lake.
She knows feeding birds and animals will gain her new friends. “Let’s feed them their lunch, Mommy.” Off to Quidi Vidi Lake we go to meet the residents. The ducks: ever hungry, ever noisy, and boisterous. The balance of the cold frozen lake and the sound of quacking bills is stark, hopeful, and equally inspiring.
The crocus’ in our front yard lay buried six feet under, in cold hard snow. Woollens are not put away just yet. Neither are our lined boots, nor are fireplaces or hot bowls of soup. I won’t complain, even though I want to see my green back yard dotted with pesky little yellow dandelions. There are a lot of other things in life that are far more serious than the long hard winter inflicted upon us. For now, I will just hope that our dinner is warm and comforting enough to keep us happy and content inside.
Chicken Shitake Broth – served with noodles and fresh vegetables
- Chicken: 4 drumsticks
- Dried Shitake Mushroom: 6-8
- Ginger: 1 inch sliced
- Star Anise: 2
- Cinnamon : 1 stick
- Black Peppercorns: 1/4 tsp slightly crushed
- Chicken Broth: 5 and half cups
- Carrot: 2 peeled
- Scallions: 2
- Basil: optional
- Boiled Egg Noodles: for two persons
- Ginger: a few julienned for garnish
- Salt: to taste
- In a shallow pot bring the chicken broth with the shitake mushrooms, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns and 1 whole peeled carrot to boil.
- Once it starts boiling for a few minutes add the chicken.
- Bring to boil then let it simmer till chicken is completely cooked.
- Once cooked let the soup cool then refrigerate over night.
- When ready to serve gently heat the chicken soup and strain the soup.
- Put the broth back to heat up. Taste to check seasoning. Add salt if needed.
- Separate the mushrooms, chicken and the carrots.
- Discard the spices.
- Finely slice the mushrooms and set aside.
- Julienne some carrots and slice the scallions and set aside as well.
- In a serving bowl arrange the chicken, noodles, carrots, sliced mushrooms, scallions and basil and pour boiling hot broth and serve.