I love Winter. The frosty mornings. The crisp clear days. Snuggling up by the fire with a good book and a glass of red.

And then there’s the food. Soups and slow cooked delights. Self saucing ginger puddings with ice cream.

If I was forced to choose my favourite season it would be a toss up between Winter and Autumn (Fall).

That being said, it’s about this time of year when I get a little nostalgic for long, sultry Summer evenings. And not having to pile on wellies and layers just to go and feed the chooks.

I also get a little nostalgic for basil. Especially in the form of verdant green pesto.

Of course, I can still buy bunches of basil at an exorbitant price all throughout the Winter but it’s just not the same.

The good news is I’ve discovered a Winter-friendly alternative. If you’re a stickler for tradition, it’s probably best if you stop reading now and check back next week.

But if you like to try new things, read on!

It uses mint and almonds instead of basil and pine nuts. And it’s just the thing to liven up Winter soups and stews.

Although if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment and are sick of eating basil, this could be just the thing for you too!

I can also imagine it sitting proudly on an outdoor table waiting to accompany a piece of fish or chicken from a Summer evening BBQ…

What about you?

What’s your favourite season and seasonal foods? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

mint & almond pesto-2

Mint & Almond Pesto

Serve this pesto pretty much any where you’d serve regular pesto. Dollop on soups or salads. Use as a sauce for pan fried fish, chicken breasts or even steak. My personal favourite is to team it with lamb… Either lamb cutlets cooked until still rosy pink or slow roast lamb shoulder literally melting off the bone. It’s also great to liven up some steamed green beans or peas.

Enough for about 1 cup
large bunch mint, leaves picked
1 small clove garlic
3 handfuls almonds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Whizz mint, garlic and almonds in a food processor until finely chopped.

2. Add oil and a little lemon juice and mix. Taste and season with salt, pepper and extra lemon if needed.

VARIATIONS
summery – replace mint with basil. You can replace the almonds with pine nuts but I’m also a fan of cashews because they’re delicious and much more affordable.

nut-free – replace almonds with half soft breadcrumbs and half finely grated parmesan.

other herbs - flat leaf parsley, carrot tops, coriander (cilantro) are all possibilities. I’m also a fan of a little bit of sage or oregano combined with parsley.

garlic-free – sometimes I can’t be bothered with garlic and it’s still lovely but I do find it needs more salt and lemon to make up for that garlicky sharpness.

no food processor – just finely chop everything and stir together for a more rustic chunky pesto.

With love,
Jules x
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Yesterday morning I decided to do something a little differently. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of waking up early. I used to think I wasn’t a ‘morning person’ but when I make the effort, I love having that extra quite time to meditate and get a little work done.

So what did I do differently?

Basically I just moved my phone / alarm out of reach so I had to get out of bed to turn it off.

Of course I was up then, so it wasn’t hard to light the fire, make a pot of white tea and let the day begin.

My job yesterday morning was to read through the entries of people looking to win a free spot in my new online cooking program ‘The Organized Cook‘. It was lucky that I got up early because there were 225 people who had left comments.

After reading through all the ways that you guys are struggling with being organized cooks I felt a bit emotional. But thinking about it another way, I had to smile.

You see, it’s my job to help.

So in a funny way knowing that you need help feels good on some level. I guess it’s nice to feel needed :)

Anyway, there were a few themes that kept coming up so today I wanted to ‘debunk’ the most common myths about being an organized cook.

But before we get to that, I’d better announce the winners!

Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School 12 Months Membership

It was tough trying to decide. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to share your thoughts.kindvall_stonesoup_school_B

And the winners are:
Alex
Niall Sheridan
Julie B
Sue S
Pal

Congratulations! You should have an email in your inbox with details on how to claim your prize.

The 3 Biggest Myths about Being an Organized Cook

Myth 1. You have to spend hours in the kitchen sacrificing your precious weekend time.
Lack of time is often cited as the biggest obstacle on the path to organization. But here’s the thing, you don’t need to dedicate huge chunks of time to make a difference.

In fact, unless I’m cooking for a dinner party, I rarely spend extra time in the kitchen getting ready for the week ahead.

What I do is use the time I’m already in the kitchen to get extra items prepared.

I’m not a big fan of ‘multi-tasking’ as a rule. But there is a time for it in the kitchen.

I often pop on some veg to roast (1 hour but 2 minutes active time), cook up a pot of quinoa (15 minutes) or make a quick ragu (20 minutes) like the one below for the future while I’m cooking for today.

If you’d like to explore this more, I’m going to be going much deeper in my new online program, The Organized Cook.

Myth 2. If you’re organized there’s no room for flexibility
This ties in with the misconception that being organized means you have to eat loads of the same reheated meals. If you focus on using ‘mise en place‘ or preparing certain ingredients rather than pre-cooking whole meals, there is loads of room for flexibility and creativity.

And even better, cooking this way means you can pull together healthy meals in very little time.

Myth 3. Pre-prepared food is not as healthy as fresh
Just because fresh food is healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean that food cooked in advance is devoid of nutrition.

Whenever we cut or cook food we’re exposing it to oxidation and light in the case of the former and heat in the latter. So any light, oxygen or heat sensitive nutrients will be lost during food prep.

Whether we eat the food straight away or store it and eat in a few days time doesn’t make a significant difference. Most of the sensitive nutrients will have already been lost.

The other thing to consider is if we’re talking pre-cooked home meals vs takeout you know who will win in the health department.

All that being said, I think it’s important to serve something raw and fresh if possible with every meal; both freshly cooked and pre-cooked. For example, add a handful of fresh parsley leaves or some baby spinach to the ragu below or serve it with a green salad.

Need more help getting organized?

Well you’re in luck!TOC2014 square logo NEW

Registration is NOW OPEN for ‘The Organized Cook‘.

You have less than 72 hours to join us for The Organized Cook because Module 1 will be released this Saturday.

To make sure you don’t miss out, use the link below:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/toc/

UPDATE: REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.

_____________________

quick pork ragu

Quick Pork Ragu

Today’s recipe is an example of the types of things we’ll be covering in The Organized Cook. It’s a quick meal that can be made in advance if you prefer. It’s the type of one pot meal you can get going and have simmering away while you do something else in the kitchen.

Enough for 2
4 thick pork sausages
1 can tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
2-3 tablespoons butter

1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or skillet on a medium high heat.

2. Remove sausage meat from the casings and crumble into the pan. Discard casings.

3. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to break up the chunks, until the meat is starting to brown.

4. Add tomatoes and butter and cook for another 10 minutes for the sauce to reduce a little. Taste and season.

Variations

vegetarian – replace pork with drained canned chickpeas.

vegan – replace sausages with 1 drained can of lentils or about 250g (9oz) of cooked red or green lentils and swap the butter for olive oil.

different sausages – pork are a firm favourite in our house but feel free to use other sausages such as beef or chicken if you like them.

pescatarian
– replace sausages with peeled green prawns (shrimp) simmer until just cooked.

herby – cook a few thyme leaves or rosemary in with the sausages.

budget – replace half of the sausages with cooked or canned white beans.

more substantial - feel free to serve the ragu with your favourite cooked pasta, preferably something short like rigatoni or penne.

gluten-free – use GF sausages or replace with about 400g (14oz) minced (ground) pork or other meat.

Do Ahead Potential

Excellent! Takes 15-20 minutes. Will keep in the fridge for a week or so. Or can be frozen for up to 12 months.

Usage Suggestions

paleo / low carb – serve on a bed of baby spinach (pictured above) or grated raw cauliflower (aka cauliflower ‘rice) or grated raw broccoli. Also good on top of a big plate of wilted greens.

carb lovers – serve on top of your favourite cooked pasta. I like it with rigatoni. Hot buttered toast is also good.

slow carb – serve on top of canned or cooked legumes such as lentils or cannellini beans or even chickpeas.

cheesey – A grating of fresh parmesan can be a welcome addition.

herby - in Summer I like to serve with a crowning of fresh basil leaves.

With love,
Jules x
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ps. Not sure if the Organized Cook can help YOU?TOC2014 square logo NEW

Here’s what Gerry and Rebecca have said about classes at the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School…

“I LOVE THE SVCS!! I have completely changed my eating habits AND am LOVING IT! What I especially love about your recipes, is the versatility if I do not have something available, there’s always something else I can use instead.”
Gerry, Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School Member.

“I really appreciate how your (classes) have freed the way I cook. From reducing the number of ingredients, to using what I have on hand, and to your many, many other ideas: thank you. I love your approach and imagination. You have inspired me.”
Rebecca, Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School Member.

Here’s the link again:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/toc/

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It may surprise you to learn that we actually eat lots of do ahead meals in our house.

Even though I love cooking. And would be happy to cook every day, I’ve found that when I’m taking photographs for my blog, or a book or a new online cooking class, it’s much easier to batch the work and have a big cooking and photography day.

This means we often end up with a fridge full of pre-cooked meals. Especially when there’s a new class on the horizon.

Over the last 4 years I’ve had a lot of experience in the best way to store and reheat all sorts of meals. Even the ones you wouldn’t normally think of as make ahead dinners.

And before I forget, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the 888 people who took the time to complete last week’s survey about my upcoming online class, ‘The Organized Cook’.

When was going through the results and saw ‘do ahead meals’ as the second most requested topic, it sparked some inspiration. So today I thought I’d share with you my ‘golden rules’ for making sure do ahead meals taste their best…

The 3 Golden Rules of Do Ahead Meals

Rule 1. Just make more of what you’re making.
The thought of getting extra meals ready in advance can be off putting. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to be ‘captain organized’ to get the benefits of having some extra meals prepared in advance.

The easiest and most efficient strategy is to cook extra of whatever you’re already making. Eat some now and store the rest. While there is sometimes a bit of extra work in doubling or tripling a recipe, it’s rarely double or triple the effort. And usually doesn’t take any extra time.

Rule 2. Keep the components separate to store.
This is all about making sure the texture and temperature of each component aren’t compromised.

Keeping the components separate enables you to store, reheat (if needed), and serve each in the best way for each component. This means your slow cooked lamb shanks can be served piping hot with a cool crisp salad on the side for contrast and maximum deliciousness.

It also makes it easier to ‘mix it up’ and add variety so you’re not serving a carbon copy of the original meal each time.

Rule 3. Serve with something fresh.
Whenever I’m serving a pre made meal, I always try to add something fresh just before it goes to the table. This helps to make the whole meal feel fresh and new. It also helps balance things from a nutritional perspective.

Sometimes it will be a green side salad as in the example above, other times it’s some fresh herbs scattered on top. Or even some toasted pine nuts for some extra crunch.

kindvall_stonesoup_school_B

Like some help becoming more organized in the kitchen?

Do you want to win one a FREE spot in my upcoming online program?

To celebrate the launch of ‘The Organized Cook (how to prepare for the busy week ahead)’ next week, I’ve decided to have a little competition and give away 5 FREE spots in the Organized Cook with 12 Months Membership to the whole Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School.

To enter you just need to leave a comment below answering this question…

What do you struggle with when it comes to being an Organized Cook?

_______________

UPDATE: The Competition is NOW CLOSED
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to share your thoughts.

And the winners are:
Alex
Niall Sheridan
Julie B
Sue S
Pal

Congratulations! You should have an email in your inbox with details on how to claim your prize.

_______________

Entries close Friday 18th July 2014.
The winners will be chosen by me and announced here on Stonesoup…

________________

whole roast cauli-2

Whole Roast Cauliflower with Almond Tabbouleh

I think cauliflower is one of the most underrated vegetables. I love that it packs the same nutritional punch as its cousins broccoli and cabbage, yet its white colour gives it more flexibility than green veg.

And I should mention, if you’ve been looking for a gluten-free tabbouleh recipe that’s also ‘paleo’ then this almond tabbouleh is for you. We’re just using almond meal instead of the cracked wheat. I love the softer texture and creamy slightly nutty flavour you get from the almond meal.

Enough for 4-6
1 cauliflower
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup (60g / 2oz) almond meal
hummus, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Trim outer leaves from cauli and place the head in an oven proof pot that holds the cauli snugly.

2. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cauliflower is well browned and tender enough to cut with a butter knife.

3. Meanwhile, for the salad, combine lemon juice with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Season. Toss in the parsley and almond meal.

4. Slice the cauli into wedges and serve with hummus, tabbouleh and more extra virgin olive oil drizzled over. Plus lots of salt and pepper!

VARIATIONS
do-ahead – roast cauli then cool and refrigerate. To reheat just pop back in the oven for 15 minutes or until warm. The tabbouleh is one of those rare salads that can be made ahead and will keep in the fridge for a few days, just give it a good toss before serving.

carnivore – Serve as a side to roast chicken or brown some minced (ground) beef and scatter it over the hummus before serving.

nut-free – replace almond meal with cooked quinoa, cooked couscous or bulghur wheat that has been soaked in water until soft and then drained.

spiced cauliflower – combine a tablespoon each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds and dried chilli flakes with a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle over the cauli before roasting. If you have some baharat (Lebanese 7 spice blend) it works really well too. Or try some finely chopped red chilli.

make your own hummus – whizz 2 cans chickpeas with 6 tablespoons each of the canning liquid, lemon juice, tahini and 2 cloves garlic. When you have a creamy paste season and add in a little extra virgin olive oil.

different herbs – feel free to mix up the herbs in your tabbouleh. Mint, coriander (cilantro) and basil are all worthy additions.

more substantial / carb lovers – serve with warm pita bread or tortillas.

With love,
Jules x
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Since becoming a Mum just over a year ago, there have been many changes in my life.

Easily the biggest one, from a food perspective, is that I just don’t have as much time to spend in the kitchen as I used to…

So meanwhile I’ve been relying on the quicker recipes in my repertoire like the ones in 5 Ingredients 10 Minutes.

The other habit I’ve really found life saving is a little technique or ‘secret’ I like to call ‘mise en place‘.

What is ‘mise en place?’

Mise en place is a French term that roughly translates as ‘put in place’. It’s used to describe the practice of chefs preparing food up to a point where it is ready to be used in a dish during food service.

It may be as simple as washing and picking herbs into individual leaves or chopping vegetables. Or more complicated like caramelising onions, cooking dried beans or slow cooking meats.

The main benefit in a restaurant is that it makes it much quicker and easier to get food on the table after the customer has ordered.

The secondary benefit is that the preparation can help to extend the shelf life of fresh produce.

How can this ‘secret’ help you?

1. Save you time during the week.
By taking the time on weekends to do a little ‘mise en place’ preparation, we can make it much quicker and easier to get dinner on the table when we come home from work late and everyone is hungry.

2. Prolong the shelf life of your produce
Happily, there’s another side benefit… A little bit of preparation can extend the shelf life of fresh produce. This is usually because the preparation involves some sort of heat which reduces any microbes present.

Just think of a slow cooked meat dish which will last for a week or longer in the fridge, compared to a piece of fresh meat that may only keep for a few days. Same goes for wilted kale vs a bunch of fresh kale.

Like to go deeper with this?

I’m in the process of revamping my online cooking program that focuses on ‘Mise en Place’ or building block recipes. It’s going to be released in a few weeks and before then I’d love to get your input to make sure the class is as useful as possible.

I’ve created a quick 2-question survey below, I’d really love to get your thoughts…

quinoa with broccoli pesto

Quinoa with Broccoli Pesto

Most weeks I either cook up a big pot of lovely lentils or quinoa to use during the week for breakfasts, lunches or dinners. I’ve also more recently been getting into grating raw veg like broccoli or cauliflower in the food processor and keeping it in the fridge for a quick veg hit to serve with my poached eggs in the morning or in a salad like this.

If you’re not a fan of raw broccoli, see the ‘more wintery’ variations below.

Enough for 2
1 head broccoli
400g (14oz) cooked quinoa
6 tablespoons pesto
squeeze lemon juice
8 tablespoons ricotta

1. Chop broccoli into small bite sized pieces or grate it using a box grater or your food processor.

2. Toss prepared broccoli in a bowl with the quinoa and pesto. Add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Taste and add more salt / pepper / lemon, if needed.

4. Serve with ricotta on top.

VARIATIONS
not-so-organised – cook 200g (7oz) quinoa from scratch, just boil in a big pot of water like pasta for 10 minutes. Then drain and you’re good to go.

warm salad / more wintery – follow the ‘not-so-organised’ instructions above and add broccoli to the cooking water after 5 minutes. Drain and toss in the pesto and lemon and serve warm with cold ricotta on top.

make your own pesto – whizz one bunch basil leaves with 1 clove garlic, a handful pinenuts and large handful grated parmesan. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to make a chunky paste and season well with s&p.

no quinoa? – replace with any cooked grain or legume. Barley or brown rice would be my first choices.

dairy-free / vegan – replace ricotta with hummus or a drizzle of tahini and use a dairy-free pesto like this Sicilian Nut Pesto.

With love,
Jules x
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When I decided to quit my corporate job designing chocolate biscuits (cookies) over 4 years ago, there was one thing I knew I was going to miss… working as part of a team.

I’ve absolutely loved the transition to full time blogger and entrepreneur. And these days with social media, I never have to worry about being a lonely writer.

But I have missed collaborating and the energy that comes from working with other people.

So when my sister Nao and I were tossing around the idea of starting a blog together I was super excited about it on many levels.

Having a dedicated space to talk about how I’m navigating the world of introducing a child to the joys of eating was definitely an attraction.

Working with my littlest sister was equally exciting, especially as we have a similar philosophy on cooking and eating.

We’ve been having so much fun with it.

So today I thought I’d share an interview I did with Nao so you can learn some of the tricks behind her slender waistline and feeding two little girls.

3 Quick Questions with Nao Cronan

JULES. I’ve always wanted to ask you this! What’s your secret to maintaining your amazingly slender waistline?

NAO. I think it’s my love for fruit and veggies. I prefer to have greens like kale and spinach with my meal rather than rice, bread or pasta.

I do have a pretty sweet tooth so I tend to eat a lot of fruit everyday. And, water. Lots of water.

JULES. What are the 1-2 most useful habits you have that help you and your family eat as healthy as possible?

NAO. I find cutting up fruit and veggies and storing them in the fridge when you buy them means they are an easy go-to snack so you won’t resort to snacking on biscuits and chips.

I also like to find new ways of incorporating vegetables in our diet.

When making muffins I try to include fruits and vegetables to make them a nutritional snack and to show to my girls that they do like vegetables. Our favourite at the moment is a processed sugar free applesauce and zucchini muffin.

JULES. You have two adorable little girls, and I know the oldest one is a bit of a fussy eater. What has been the most helpful thing you’ve found for helping to deal with it?

NAO. It can get very frustrating and stressful when your little one won’t eat, however, the more relaxed I am about food, the more receptive they are. So, I’m all about making food fun!

If the girls are having fun, they are definitely more agreeable AND more open to trying new things.

We like to do games with food (forget what your mum told you about playing with your food!) like being apple monsters and seeing who can crunch their apple the loudest or play sword fights with our asparagus spears.

Jemima is at the age where she likes to tell you everything she knows about something so we might talk about carrots and use as many adjectives as possible to describe them – long, pointy, hard, crunchy, orange and also talk about where carrots grow and who else likes to eat carrots? The Easter Bunny!

Another way to keep meals fun is to have fun names for foods/dishes. For example, it’s not broccoli, it’s a ‘dinosaur tree’. And if you eat dinosaur trees you’ll grow big and strong like a dinosaur!

Or, this week I found a recipe which I tweaked a little. It is basically honey chicken with corn and black lentils aka ‘bumblebee stew’. So much more appealing to those little taste buds with a fun name!

naos caramel slice-2

Nao’s Caramel Slice


Recipe by Nao Cronan from theyellowbench.com.

Our Mum used to make a super decadent caramel slice that was so tasty but full of processed sugar. Nao’s version is just as delicious (maybe even more so!) and it avoids refined sugars and gluten. Although there’s still plenty of sugar in dates so I wouldn’t call it exactly ‘guilt-free!’.

That being said, I love how the caramel filling comes together and am keen to try it with peanut or almond butter instead of the tahini.

for the base:
100g (3.5oz) almond meal (1 1/4 cups)
100g (3.5oz) coconut oil, melted (1/2 cup)
75g (3oz) pitted dates (1/2 cup)
150g (10oz) pecans (1 1/4 cups)
for the caramel:
250g (9oz) pitted dates (1 1/2 cups)
250g tahini (1 cup)
150g maple syrup (1/2 cup)
for the topping:
200g (7oz) dark chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a rectangular slice tin, approx 28 x 18cm (11″ x 7″), with baking paper.

2. Process the base ingredients, almond meal, coconut oil, dates and pecans in a food processor until you have a sticky crumb.

3. Press base into the prepared tin. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until starting to brown. Cool.

4. For the caramel, process dates, tahini and maple syrup until smooth and sticky.

5. Spread caramel over the cooled base. If too sticky to spread, use the back of a spoon dipped in boiling water. Leave in fridge while you get the chocolate ready.

6. Melt chocolate and spread over caramel. Leave in fridge to set for approx 1 hr.

VARIATIONS
Processed Sugar-Free – replace chocolate with cocoa nibs melted with rice malt syrup.

No maple syrup- haven’t tried it but you could soak pitted dates in boiling water and use the boiling water instead of the maple syrup, or replace with raw honey.

Short on time – make base out of a packet of biscuits (cookies) processed with some melted coconut oil and press into lined tin and leave to set in freezer for 10 minutes.

Nut free – replace almond meal and pecans with 1 cup self raising flour and an extra 1/4 cup dessicated coconut.

Oven-free – for the base use 1/2C of pitted dates, 1/2C peanuts and 1/2C pecans with 1/4C desiccated coconut and process til crunchy, crumb and spread into lined tin.

No coconut oil? – use melted butter.

No tahini? – replace with peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter or sunflower seed butter.

With love,
Jules x
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BestofStonesoup 3D cover

You might remember a few months back, I mentioned that I was planning to pull together a new FREE eCookbook for Stonesoup email subscribers.

And my lovely assistant Caroline had the brilliant idea to make it a ‘best of Stonesoup’ compilation and to get you to vote for your favourite Stonesoup recipes.

Well today that idea becomes a reality.

So if you’ve ever wondered what the 25 most popular recipes are from my blog, now you can find out!

All you need to do is enter your email address below. And you’ll get to download a FREE copy of my new ‘Best of Stonesoup’ ebook.

I really hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it!

With love,
Jules x
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A Very Special Birthday Cake…

June 18, 2014

his time last year I was heavily pregnant. Heavy was totally the right word to describe it. Enough people had asked me if I was having twins that even I was beginning to wonder. Anyway, I knew my life was about to change in a major way. But what I didn’t know was just how […]

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My 9 Favourite Healthy Breakfast Ideas

June 12, 2014

nce upon a time I worked for a multinational breakfast cereal company as a young food scientist developing new breakfast and snack products. One of the ‘perks’ of the job was the canteen filled with an amazing array of free cereal and milk. As you can imagine, pretty much everyone had their breakfast at work. […]

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How to Cook Quinoa

June 3, 2014

hese days, if I get asked to describe my diet, the shortest answer is that I’m ‘mostly paleo’. Now if you’re wondering ‘what on earth is Jules talking about?’, allow me to explain… ‘Paleo’ is a way of eating that is loosely based on what our paleolithic ancestors ate. In short that includes meat, poultry, […]

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A Sneak Peek…

May 27, 2014

arlier in the year, we had a family trip to Sydney. Since we were staying with friends, we offered to cook dinner. Our hosts agreed and being the generous souls they are, they insisted on buying all the ingredients for us. I was cooking a Thai-inpsired meal, so there were lots of fresh herbs on […]

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7 Surprising Lessons from Using
my Meal Plans

May 20, 2014

ne of the things I’m super passionate about in my business is making my products as useful and user friendly as possible. Unless my customers get real value in their lives, I really don’t feel like I deserve to keep their money. Which is why last week I decided to have a week of following […]

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5 Easy Ways to Make Fried Food Healthy

May 13, 2014

f all the cooking techniques, deep frying would have to be the one that comes to mind when we think of food that is ‘bad for us’. As Elvis knew, deep fried things can taste super delicious. But here’s the thing… Fried foods don’t have to be super unhealthy. The deep fryer, or at least […]

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Like a FREE Mother’s Day Gift?

May 8, 2014

his year is a very special (and different!) Mother’s Day for me. Yes, it’s my first proper Mother’s Day on the other side… as an actual mother. So to celebrate, my sister Nao and I have pulled together a new eCookbook that we’re giving away for FREE from our new blog, The Yellow Bench. The […]

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2 Most Common Seasoning Mistakes

April 30, 2014

s someone who runs an online cooking school, I often get asked for tips to help people improve their cooking. And you know what I always tell them? No, it’s not to spend hours chopping onions to perfect their knife skills. I always tell them to focus on getting the seasoning right. Yes. Seasoning. It’s […]

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Can You Help Out?
+ a new free ecookbook.

April 22, 2014

ay back in January 2010, I quit my job designing chocolate biscuits (cookies). The plan was to focus on figuring out how to make a living from doing what I love most namely cooking, eating and writing about food. My first project was to pull together a free eCookbook to use as an incentive for […]

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Could you write your shopping list in 2-minutes?

April 15, 2014

n the weekend, Fergal and I had a lovely Saturday morning outing to our local farmers market. It’s been ages since I had the luxury of doing our weekly shop at a real farmers market and I’d forgotten how much fun it is. I love strolling through the stalls, choosing from beautiful displays of produce. […]

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2 Unusual Ideas for Chocolate…

April 8, 2014

his year I’m super excited about Easter, and not only because of the whole extra long weekend thing. This year, for the first time in ages, possibly a decade, my family are getting together for an Easter lunch. And the best bit is that we’re hosting it at our new tiny farm house. Yay! As […]

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A Dream Comes True…

April 1, 2014

rowing up on a farm, I couldn’t wait to leave. As soon as I had saved up some money, I set off to see the big wide world. Backpack in hand. First stop was San Francisco. Then Paris. And on it went. It was so exhilarating. And scary. Meeting new people. Exploring new places and […]

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6 Healthy Ideas for Aubergine (Eggplant)

March 25, 2014

his week I thought I’d pull together another installment of our Stonesoup vegetable spotlight. Last time it was all about kale, today we’re talking aubergine, which in Australia goes by the much less exotic name ‘eggplant’. Before we get to today’s recipe suggestions, I thought we’d better ask the big eggplant question… To salt or […]

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Married!

March 19, 2014

ack in 2008 I made one of my best decisions. Ever. Rather than make another empty new years resolution, I was inspired to dedicate the year to ‘love and happiness.’ I wasn’t sure where it would lead me. Or whether it would really make a difference to my life. But I figured it was worth […]

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