Getting something for nothing is great. When that something is a nourishing stock that provides the base for countless tasty dishes, it's even better. After a difficult day, I found making a batch somehow eased my tensions. Everything in it would otherwise have been thrown away. Tops of leeks, a bendy carrot and a few sticks of elderly celery, outer cabbage leaves, a few leaves of lettuce left over from lunch, a slightly soft onion and broccoli 'trunks.' A couple of bay leaves and a few whole peppercorns and Bob's your uncle. You may be tutting at me and thinking that I should have planned my meals better to use up every veggy available, but I defy anyone not to forget the odd bit of vegetation at the back of the fridge. Stock is an easy and useful way to make use of every last leaf and root.
If we have any meat on the bone, it will always be turned into stock. I eat meat, but I am always aware that an animal died to provide me with food. I think it is therefore important to make the most of it. It makes financial sense too. I only buy free range meat, and preferably organic too, so it is a hefty portion of our food budget and needs to be appreciated. A rich, dark chicken stock adds lots of flavour to an otherwise uninspiring meal.
Making food for a baby means using little or no added salt, so stock cubes are a no-no. I like to make a big batch of stock and freeze smaller portions ready to defrost when needed. Thrifty, tasty and simple.