The other day I was having loads of fun updating my ‘about’ page. And it occurred to me that you might not know all this stuff.
So this week I thought I’d share probably more than you want to know about the ‘brains’ behind Stonesoup.
Oh and I have an amazing soup recipe for you too!
14 Fun & Random Facts About Me
1. I’m addicted to home made mayo and eat it most days. Sometimes for every meal! I also love peanut butter, salad greens (a meal isn’t a meal without something green), stinky cheese, mushrooms, asparagus, butter, beets, kale, lentils, steak tartare, a good roast chook, poached eggs, chickpeas, dark chocolate and double cream.
2. I live in a beautiful part of rural Australia with my Irish husband and our two young sons. We’re between Sydney and Canberra and I feel blessed every day that we get to wake up among the gum trees, birds and kangaroos. The men in my life feel blessed we have plenty of space to grow potatoes and play our music as loud as we like.
3. I don’t believe in diets or counting calories. Because they take the pleasure out of food AND for most people they don’t work in the long term. I believe it’s much more effective to focus on building healthy habits around eating well and being active.
4. I have PCOS and Type II Diabetes. So in spite of what I said above I do (mostly) restrict my own eating to low carb / high fat to keep my blood sugar under control. It also makes me feel especially blessed to have conceived my boys naturally in my early 40s.
5. I created the White Tim Tam. The full story is that I have a degree in Food Science. My early career was in product development for large food companies like Kellogg and Arnotts (owned by Campbells). If you’re not an Aussie, Tim Tams are an iconic Australian chocolate biscuit (cookie) and definitely not diabetic-friendly!
6. I am terrified of snakes. But have somehow ended up living in an area with a large population of deadly (and aggressive) tiger snakes. I tell myself that ‘if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger’, but I still scream and run away whenever I see one.
7. I have a ‘thing’ for bacteria and yeasts. So I love making my own fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut. When I was studying food science my honours thesis was in food microbiology looking at the bacterial populations of Blue Vein and Camembert cheese – any excuse to eat more cheese!
8. I have 2 science degrees (food science and wine science). I had a brilliant time working all over the world making wine including France, California and Australia. I also learned one important lesson, making wine is hard, hard work. It’s much better to just pay someone else to make it so I can focus on the drinking part!
9. I HATE when people ask me what my last meal would be. Mostly because I don’t like thinking about not being able to eat any more and also because it’s so tough to decide! That being said, I would love my last meal to start with champagne and oysters. And possibly end with blue cheese and Château d’Yquem (dessert wine).
10. I enjoy food styling and photography and take pretty much all the photos for Stonesoup. However I’m terrible at photographing people, especially myself.
11. When asked for my ‘occupation’ on forms I usually write ‘author’ because (a.) I actually am a published author and have also written several eCookbooks. And (b) it’s much easier than having to explain the whole blogger / online cooking school creator / meal planner thing.
12. I’ve eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world including el bulli (before it closed), Noma in Copenhagen and el celler de can roca. We pretty much always plan our holidays around a restaurant reservation. Although these days with our small family that tends to be more casual day time places.
14. Did I mention how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE food? Oh, you get the picture. Good!
Still want to know more?
Inquisitive aren’t you? You can read my whole story over HERE.
Spicy Kale & Chorizo Soup
One of my all time favourite mid-week meals is Chorizo & Kale which satisfies both my Irishman’s need for something meaty and spicy and my need for lots of greens! This soup version ticks all the same boxes while being even more comforting and satisfying.
enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes
2 chorizo, or other spicy sausage diced
2 bunches kale, finely sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon sherry or wine vinegar
shaved parmesan, to serve (optional)
1. Heat a large pot on a medium high heat. Add a good glug of oil to the pan and cook chorizo, stirring every few minutes until the sausage is browned and cooked through. Remove chorizo from the pan and place in a clean bowl. Leave as much of the spicy oil as you can.
2. Add kale and stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes or until kale is wilted and tender.
3. Remove from the heat and puree soup using a stick blender.
4. Add vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5. To serve divide soup between two bowls. Top with chorizo and parmesan (if using) and finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
vegetarian – replace chorizo with semi dried tomatoes or char grilled red peppers and add a tablespoon of smoked paprika to the soup with the kale. You might like to serve with a poached egg for extra protein.
dairy-free / paleo – skip the parmesan or replace with sliced almonds.
different greens – feel free to use collard greens, spinach, baby spinach, chard, rainbow chard or silverbeet instead of the kale.
no chorizo – any spicy sausage or salami will work. You could also use fresh sausage, just crumble and cook as per the recipe.
hot! – serve with a good drizzle of chilli oil.
carb-lovers / more substantial – add cooked pasta, couscous, potatoes or rice and bring back to a simmer before serving. You might like to double the amount of chorizo too. Crusty bread and butter as a side also works well.
richer – serve with a big dollop of mayo on top of the chorizo.