≡ Menu

Steak with Asian Zucchini 'Noodles'

On Monday I got a phone call which made me feel like a bit of a failure.

It was from my doctor saying they had the results of a recent test and that I basically have gestational diabetes.

My mind was screaming…

“That can’t be right… I eat so well. There must be a mistake.”

But the results were there.

You know the ironic thing??

I was already planning to write this week about eating low carb. I had a request from a Stonesoup reader which went something like this…

“I am supposed to eat a gluten free diet also no carbohydrates (according to Quack ). Because of blood problem.

How to get a list of food that is free of above. I am old so not too smart with these things.”

Weird coincidence, right?

Anyway now I’m used to the idea, you’ll be happy to know I don’t feel like a ‘failure’ any more. I’m actually looking forward to learning what I can about the whole diabetes, insulin, blood sugar and diet puzzle.

And finding ways to improve my diet. After all I’m far from perfect!

My 3 Favourite Ways To Eat Low Carb

1. Swap grains for veggies (and legumes).

For most of us the biggest source of carbs in our diets comes from grain based products like breakfast cereals, bread, pasta and rice. About 5 years ago I started experimenting with reducing and even eliminating grains from my diet and I can easily say it’s had the biggest positive impact on my waistline.

These days I have eggs and some sort of vegetable for breakfast instead of a bowl of All Bran. For lunches my go-tos are salads, soups or leftovers instead of a sandwich.

Then for dinners my fave substitutes for grains are to use vegetable ‘noodles’ made from zucchini or carrots instead of pasta or rice noodles. I also love cauliflower ‘rice’ (raw grated cauli) instead of steamed rice. Or sometimes I’ll just serve my stir fry, curry or ragu on a big bed of baby spinach instead of rice or pasta.

For wrapping things I love iceberg lettuce leaves or (my latest discovery) cabbage leaves instead of tortillas or flat bread.

The possibilities are endless but best of all I never feel like I’m missing out.

2. Choose savoury over sweet.

Sweet treats are the other big source of carbs. So there’s a big opportunity to go for a handful of nuts over a cookie at snack time and a cheese plate instead of dessert.

3. Focus on real food. Not ‘low carb alternatives’

If you switch to processed packaged foods labelled with ‘low carb’ you’re really just swapping one problem for another. And usually paying a premium in the process.

Real food with lots of veggies is the way forward.

How about you?

Got any tips for eating low carb? Or are you a confirmed carb lover? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…


Steak with Asian Zucchini 'Noodles'-2

Asian Beef & Zucchini ‘Noodles’

I took this photo a while ago before I invested in a spiralizer. So the ‘noodles’ in the picture were made using my mandoline to slice the zucchini into fine strips and then hand sliced into thinner noodles. While that method is good, I have to say the look and feel you get from the spiralizer is so much better! More on that soon. But if you don’t have either, no stress – see the variations below for suggestions.

enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes

2 steaks
2 medium zucchini
2-4 red chillies, sliced
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce

1. Remove steaks from the fridge (up to an hour ahead).

2. Wash zucchini and slice into ‘noodles’ either using a mandoline or spiralizer. Sprinkle with a little salt and stand at room temp to soften.

3. Heat a frying pan on a very high heat. Scatter a very fine layer of salt over the bottom of the pan and add the steaks.

4. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side for medium rare (or 3-4 minutes for medium) or until cooked to your liking.

5. Remove steaks and place on 2 warm plates. Carefully wipe out the excess salt from the hot pan.

6. Add zucchini ‘noodles’ and chilli to the hot pan without returning it to the heat. Allow the noodles to warm through then add the soy sauce. Taste and add more soy as needed. If you want the noodles hotter, pop the pan back on the heat but I find there’s usually enough residual heat to get things warm enough.

7. Spoon zucchini, chilli and sauce over the steaks and serve hot.

Print Friendly


no mandoloine / spiralizer – either slice the zucchini by hand as finely as you can or use a vegetable peeler.

budget – replace steak with minced (ground) meat. Just brown it in a little oil (without the salt crust) then toss in the zucchini, chilli and soy.

vegetarian – replace steaks with cooked white or black beans. Just warm everything in the pan.

more veg – feel free to use more zucchini or add other ‘noodle’ veg such as carrots and/or red peppers. Some fresh herbs like mint or coriander (cilantro) would also be lovely.

paleo / soy-free – use fish or oyster sauce instead of the soy or replace with coconut aminos.

carb-lovers / more substantial – serve with steamed rice OR toss cooked rice, singapore or hokkien noodles in with the zucchini.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon

ps. And something completely unrelated…

h&t 3D cover

It’s the 1st Anniversary of the publication of my most recent eCookbook, ‘Healthy & Tasty Meals Made Easy‘ and I have a tradition of having a little sale to celebrate the ‘birthdays’ of my ebooks.

This year I thought I’d tie in with the whole ‘Black Friday’ sale season.

So for the next 72-Hours only you can get 30% OFF ‘Healthy & Tasty’ – which could be just what you need after all the holiday indulgence!

For more details go to:



Chickpea & Za'atar Cabbage Wraps-2

If you had to nominate your strongest ‘super power’, what would you choose?

For me, it’s easy.

My ability to simplify things, especially in the kitchen would have to be it. Hello 5-Ingredients!

Earlier in the year I wrote a post where I showed how I simplified one of Yotam Ottolenghis recipes which was great fun. So I thought it about time I tackle another one.

But first, the basics…

2 Easy Ways to Simplify Any Recipe

1. Combine like ingredients.
This is always my starting point. Look for any ingredients that are providing the same function and instead choose one. You’ll need to adjust the quantities accordingly. The example below is the best way to illustrate what I mean.

2. Don’t be afraid to outsource.
There are no prizes for making every single part of every meal you eat from scratch. So ‘cheat’ when you feel like it. My favourite examples are to use commercial spice blends or commercial sauces such as hummus, mayo, pesto or curry pastes.

Cabbage Wraps – An Example.

As you may have guessed from the photo above, todays inspiration comes from one of my fave vegetarian blogs, My New Roots. Well worth a read whether you follow a plant based diet or if you’re like me and love your veggies AND your meat.

My New Roots:
Spring Cabbage Wraps with Couscous, Za’atar & Spicy Tahini Dressing
Ingredients list
– 17 items
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 small red onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
grated zest 1 organic lemon
1/2 cup kalamata olives
8 whole cabbage leaves
1 cup cooked butter beans
handful fresh pea shoots
1/3 cup tahini
1 large clove garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon raw honey or pure maple syrup
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground sumac
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Cabbage Wraps with Chickpeas & Za’atar
Ingredients list
– 5 items
2-4 cabbage leaves
1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz)
4 tablespoons lemon juice + wedges to serve
4 tablespoons tahini
1-2 teaspoons za’atar

So what have I done?

1. Combining substantial ingredients.
The couscous, olives and butter beans are providing the filling for the wraps. I could have chosen one of these to use but I was in the mood for chickpeas so they replaced all three.

2. Simplifying the flavours.
The red onion, parsley, lemon zest, pea shoots, cayenne, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and honey / maple syrup are adding extra flavours (and some colour). I chose to slash this down to just tahini and lemon to make a simple sauce for the wraps. If I was allowing myself an extra ingredient I would add in the parsley for some freshness and greenery.

3. Outsourcing the spice blend.
Instead of making my own za’atar, I used a commercial one.

From 17 ingredients down to 5. Easy.

(see below for the complete (simplified) recipe.)

Want more simplicity?

If you’re interested in learning how to simplify not just recipes, but the whole of your life, then I recommend checking out A Simple Year.

It’s a 12 month program which focuses on simplifying different areas of your life each month. If you join us I’ll show you even more ways to simplify not only recipes but your kitchen and your approach to healthy eating.

For more details, go to:

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 2.20.54 PM


What about you?

I’d really love to know about your ‘super powers’! Do tell in the comments below…


Chickpea & Za'atar Cabbage Wraps

Cabbage Wraps with Chickpeas & Za’atar

There are so many things I love about these wraps! The tahini sauce is an old favourite but combining it with za’atar, a middle eastern spice blend is something I hadn’t done in ages.

The other brilliant idea (thanks Sarah B!) is to use cabbage leaves as your wrapping ingredient… Much lighter than using pita bread or other grain based wraps but more substantial and more nourishing than good old iceberg lettuce (my previous go-to veggie based wrap).

Enough for: 2 as a light meal
Takes: 10 minutes

2-4 cabbage leaves
1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz)
4 tablespoons lemon juice + wedges to serve
4 tablespoons tahini
1-2 teaspoons za’atar

1. Divide cabbage leaves between two plates.

2. Drain chickpeas and rinse with boiling water from the kettle to warm them. Skip the warming if it’s a really hot day.

3. Place warm chickpeas in your cabbage leaves and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

4. Combine lemon juice, tahini and 4 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. Season.

5. Drizzle tahini sauce over the chickpeas and top with za’atar. Serve with extra lemon wedges on the side.

Print Friendly


carnivore / paleo / legume-free – replace chickpeas with ground (minced) meat such as beef, lamb or chicken. Brown the meat in a pan with a little oil before using to stuff the cabbage. Or use roast diced root veg like carrots, parsnip and sweet potato.

chickpea alternatives – cooked couscous, quinoa, lentils, butter beans, other beans or a combo of any of the above.

no za’atar? – Replace with sesame seeds, or fresh thyme leaves. OR make your own by combining 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, 1/4 cup ground sumac, 2 tablespoons dried thyme and 1 tablespoon dried oregano (Sarah B.’s recipe). Or order online from a good spice supplier. If you do buy it’s also great sprinkled on cooked eggs, chicken and fish.

carb lovers / more substantial – toss cooked couscous, quinoa or other legumes with the chickpeas OR replace cabbage leaves with warm pita bread or tortillas.

more veg – sprinkle over flat leaf parsley leaves, mint leaves and/or pea shoots. Grilled eggplant, zucchini and peppers toss in with the chickpeas would also be lovely.

no tahini? – tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds you could use almond butter or cashew butter instead. OR replace the whole sauce with well seasoned natural yoghurt (full fat of course!).

hot! – do as Sarah B. does and add some cayenne pepper or other chilli powder to the tahini sauce.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon

ps. This is the 3rd year we’ve run ‘A Simple Year’.

After a few very ‘unsimple’ years in my life… getting married, having a baby and buying a house (and tiny farm) I’ve been getting back into practicing simplicity myself. So I’m going to be following along with the whole program next year.

Super excited to have the amazing Leo Babauta from Zen Habits leading the month of mindfulness in September! Can’t wait.

To find out more go to: www.simpleyear.co/course


5-Ingredient Chicken Caccitore-3

A few weeks ago I experienced something completely new. I was ready to stop cooking all together.

I’d just finished photographing and videoing the new recipes for my Tired & Hungry Dinners program. As much as I was proud of the work I’d done, I was over having to think so hard.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I love my job. Normally I find creating in the kitchen energizing and fun. But the little ‘bun’ in my proverbial ‘oven’ was making me feel otherwise.

Luckily there was enough energy left for one good idea…

I made November my month of ‘outscourcing’ thinking about what to have for dinner.

So I’ve been using my Soupstones Meal Plans for the past two weeks.

And I’ve LOVED how easy it’s been to download the shopping list, get my ingredients and then just walk into the kitchen each night, check the meal plan and start cooking.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

Like last week when the meal plan included Steamed Fish with Soy & Ginger. I found myself not ‘feeling like’ steamed fish for dinner.

However I had the ingredients, so I made it anyway. And it was delicious!

How about you?

If you’re happy with your current meal planning system then skip down to the recipe below.

BUT if you’d like to stop having to think about dinner so much, then listen up!

Soupstones Square Logo NEW

I know this time of year may seem wrong to be starting something new. But it’s actually times like now when we get busy that the ‘wheels tend to fall off’ our everyday healthy eating.

Now is actually when we need the most help.

So to celebrate my personal ‘meal planning month’, I’m having a
50% OFF SALE on monthly membership to Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details go to:

AND if you join during the sale you’ll get two FREE holiday bonuses to help you get through the festive season.T&C VIDEO 3D Cover

1. A Super Easy Thanksgiving Meal Plan.
2. My ‘Stress-Free’ Thanksgiving & Christmas eCookbook

The sale is only available for 48-HOURS.

To make sure you don’t miss out go to:

5-Ingredient Chicken Caccitore-2

5-Ingredient Chicken Caccitore

At the moment I’m finding myself turning to dishes like this that you can just pop in the oven and practically let dinner ‘cook itself’. I’m especially fond of chicken drumsticks because they’re super economical plus you get all those lovely bones to gnaw on. The other thing I love about this dish is the way the olives bring an exotic complexity to such a simple lineup of ingredients.

enough for: 4
takes: 60 minutes

8-12 chicken drumsticks
1 jar tomato passata (puree) (700g / 3cups)
4 tablespoons butter
2 handfuls black olives
2-3 medium zucchini

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Place chicken, tomato and butter in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold the chicken in one layer.

2. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the foil, turn the chicken, add the olives and bake uncovered for another 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Taste and add extra salt if needed (the olives will bring some so you may not need it).

4. While the chicken is cooking slice the zucchini into ribbons using a vegetable peeler, mandoline or spiralizer. Season with salt and allow the ‘noodles’ to stand at room temp to warm up and soften slightly.

5. To serve divide zucchini noodles between 4 plates and top with chicken, olives and sauce.

Print Friendly


vegetarian – replace chicken with large mushrooms and serve with some shaved parmesan or crumbled feta for some extra protein.

carnivore – these flavours are also lovely with lamb shanks, beef short ribs or osso buco but you’ll need to cook covered for 4-6 hours at 150C (300F). Uncover and add the olives for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

carb lovers / more substantial – serve with hot buttered pasta or egg noodles (and skip the zucchini if you like).

more veg – add chopped onions, garlic, carrots and/or red capsicum (bell peppers) to the sauce before cooking. Serve with chopped parsley or basil on top. And add a green salad on the side.

paleo / dairy-free – replace butter with coconut oil or olive oil.

bone free – If you don’t share my love of bones, use chicken thigh or breast fillets. You’ll need to reduce the cooking time to about 30 minutes or so depending on their size.

other chicken – also feel free to use a whole chicken chopped into 8 pieces instead of the drumsticks. Or chicken thighs on the bone or chicken marylands (thighs + drumsticks).

tomato-free – replace tomato passata (puree) with chicken stock and add a halved lemon to cook in with the chicken. Squeeze lemon juice into the sauce before serving.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon

ps. And a quick clarification…

Last week I wrote about my best decision ever. The decision I described was my best career decision. My overall best life decision of course was marrying a certain Irishman and having our family!


Stuffed Sweet Potato with Tahini Sauce

The most positive impact in my life can be tracked back to just one decision.

It all happened about this time 6 years ago…

I had rented a tiny one bedroom apartment in the Barcelonetta area of the beautiful city of Barcelona. The main purpose of the trip was to visit el buli, the best restaurant in the world (at the time). But it turned out that having those 6 weeks hanging out by myself gave me the space to make my big decision.

And what was it?

I decided to leave what many would consider a dream job, designing chocolate biscuits (cookies) for Australia’s largest biscuit producer.

I decided to start my own business!

My dream was (and is) to help people see that delicious, healthy meals need not be complicated or time consuming.

But here’s the thing…

I would never have made this decision if I hadn’t already been doing one thing…

Simplifying all areas of my life.

I realized that if I stopped buying stuff I wouldn’t need a corporate salary. By living a more simple life the idea of supporting myself went from ‘impossible dream’ to actually ‘do-able’.

And I’m so glad I did!

If I hadn’t taken that leap I wouldn’t now be living in the middle of the Australian bush with the kangaroos (and snakes). I wouldn’t be able to fit my work around raising my children. I wouldn’t be free to work on only the projects that I love and am super excited about.

So what about you?

What if you simplified your life?

You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about this?

Because I wanted to share a really exciting project that I’m a part of.

It’s called ‘A Simple Year’ and basically it’s a year long program of guided simplicity that focuses on simplifying a different area of your life each month.

Including cooking and eating. Which is where I come in.

If it sounds like something you might be interested in go to:

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 2.20.54 PM

NOTE: ‘Early Bird’ registration ends 20th November.


Stuffed Sweet Potato with Tahini Sauce-2

Stuffed Sweet Potato

I’ve been really getting into sweet potato in the last year because Fergal loves it. One of my favourite ways to ‘dress it up’ for the adults is to roast them whole and stuff ’em. In this case it’s some browned minced (ground) beef or lamb but I also love to use chickpeas for a hearty veggie version.

enough for: 2
takes: 60 minutes

2 medium sweet potatoes
450g (1lb) ground (minced) beef
4 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bag baby spinach leaves

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Scrub sweet potato and place on a baking tray or other ovenproof dish.

2. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until sweet potato are nice and tender.

3. While the sweet potato are roasting brown beef in a little oil in a large frying pan on a high heat. Season with salt.

4. Then make the sauce by stirring together the tahini, lemon juice and 4 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Season that with salt and possibly a little more lemon if you feel like it.

5. When the sweet potato are cooked, divide between 2 plates and slice lengthwise down the middle (not cutting through completely). Open out the cavity with your fingers or a spoon then divide the meat between the two sweet potatoes. Drizzle over tahini sauce and serve with baby spinach on the side.

Print Friendly


vegetarian / vegan – replace beef with cooked chickpeas or lentils. You might like to add some browned onion for extra flavour.

spiced – add 2 teaspoons baharat (lebanese spice blend), ras el hanout (moroccan spice blend) or 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander.

hot! – add some chopped chilli to the beef while cooking. Or serve with your favourite chilli oil or hot sauce.

no tahini? – tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. You might need to go to a health food store or middle eastern grocery store to find it. Almond butter or cashew butter would work instead. OR make a sauce by seasoning plain natural greek style yoghurt and forgetting the lemon juice.

carb-lovers / more substantial – serve with warm pita bread, flat bread or tortillas. Or toss in some cooked chickpeas or lentils with the meat.

more veg – soften an onion before cooking the meat. Add chopped zucchini, eggplant, mushroom or red capsicum (bell peppers) to the meat to cook through. Serve with tabbouleh or more interesting salad veg instead of the baby spinach.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon


Paleo Shepherds Pie-2

A few months ago I was in Sydney visiting a friend. She reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in ages…

It was Friday afternoon. She’d just got back from picking up the kids from school.

I had spent the day in the ‘big smoke’. I’d been lunching at a great new restaurant (Firedoor), shopping, and getting checked up by my dermatologist (a good idea when you live under the hole in the ozone layer).

As we sat chatting in her lovely new kitchen, drinking jasmine tea, Amanda mentioned that Fridays were her ‘night off’ cooking. That night they were having Japanese takeaway.

I remember feeling super jealous.

First because I adore Japanese.

But second because it made me realize I don’t have a ‘night off’ as such.

Where I live, in the middle of the Australian ‘bush’, there are plenty of kangaroos and gum trees (and deadly tiger snakes), but not many restaurants. In fact none.

Anyway on the way home it got me thinking about what I do when I don’t want to cook…

My 3 Options for a ‘Night Off’ Cooking

1. Cook ahead.
This is the obvious choice right? Either make double of something another night OR make something in advance that will store and reheat well. Like my 5-Ingredients Shepherds Pie below.

2. Picnic it!
This isn’t an option I take that often but after the success of my Birthday dinner this year, I’m definitely planning on playing the ‘picnic’ card more often.

Just go to your favourite deli. Stock up on good cheese, olives, salami.. whatever. And treat yourself to some really beautiful sourdough and lashing of butter (preferably ‘Kerrygold’ from Ireland). Dinner is ready.

3. Go for something super easy.
Especially now I’m pregnant and a bit short on energy I’m finding myself going back to my ‘5-Ingredients’ basic recipes for minimal effort meals.

My two favourite go-to collections are:
i. My print book ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes‘ that I have as the kindle version on my phone.
ii. My eCookbook ‘The Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion‘, also saved on my phone.

What about you?

Got any tricks for when you want a ‘night off’? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


Paleo Shepherds Pie

5-Ingredient Shepherds Pie

While traditional shepherds pie can be a bit heavy on the carbs, this almost ‘paleo’ version using cauliflower mash instead of potatoes is much lighter. But the best news is it’s still super comforting and one of those dishes the whole family will love!

enough for: 4-5
takes: 60 minutes

1 head cauliflower
1kg (2lb) minced (ground) beef or lamb
1 jar tomato passata or puree (3 cups)
6 tablespoons butter
salad leaves, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and bring a medium pot of water to the boil.

2. Chop cauliflower into large bite sized chunks. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cauli is really soft.

3. Drain and mix in half the butter. Then whizz using a stick blender or your food processor until smooth and creamy. You could mash with a fork but you’ll end up with a chunkier result.

4. While the cauli is cooking, heat a large frying pan on a high heat. Add beef and a little oil and cook, stirring until the beef is well browned. Add tomato passata and the remaining butter and bring to a simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer the beef mixture to an oven proof dish (mine was 22cmx28cm / 8inx11in but it doesn’t need to be exact).

6. Top with the cauli mash, I didn’t go all the way to the edges so it looked prettier and allowed my mash layer to be thicker.

7. Bake for 30 minutes or until everything is hot and bubbling.

8. Serve with salad leaves on the side.

Print Friendly


vegetarian – replace beef with the same weight cooked french style green lentils.

dairy-free – replace butter with olive oil or coconut oil.

vegan – combine the vegetarian and dairy-free options.

do ahead – you could make the pie up until step 5. Then cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze. Then to serve cook straight from the fridge (defrost first if frozen).

individual ‘pies’ – makes about 4-5 servings if you use individual dishes. They’ll need to be about 2 cups capacity each.

carb lovers / more substantial – use potato mash instead of or as well as the cauli. Or maybe serve on a bed of potato mash for those who need it. Also good with hot buttered pasta.

more veg
– soften an onion, carrot, celery and some mushrooms before browning the beef. Add extra chopped raw veg to the salad leaves like carrot, snow peas and/or red bell peppers (capsicum).

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon


Curried Lamb with Charred Broccolini

Since getting pregnant there has been one huge change in my life (apart from the very obvious ‘bump’)… The amount of sleep I need.

Going to bed by 8pm, like a nanna, has its benefits.

But there’s a down side… pretty much no time in the evenings.

Which means very little time for cooking dinner. Or for hanging out with my Irishman. Normally two of my favourite things.

So I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the best way to make the most of the brief time I do have for getting dinner ready…

4 Favourite Kitchen Time Savers

1. Pop everything in the oven.

Now the weather is warming up here, I won’t be relying on these as much. But if you’re in the Northern hemisphere it’s the perfect season for giving your oven a good work out.

Just pop everything in the oven. Set your timer and do other things while dinner cooks itself. Love it!

My favourite Stonesoup example? The Magic Sausage Supper.

2. One pot wonders.

Cleaning up is my LEAST favourite thing about cooking. In fact I hate it.

On Saturday night my dishwasher kept giving me error messages and I really thought my life was over. There were tears. It wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, the next morning I figured out how to clean the filter and the crisis was averted.

But I’m still always thinking about ways to keep my cleanup time way, way down. The best trick? Use less dishes to begin with. Which is why I love meals that can be made in one pot.

My favourite Stonesoup example? Quick Pork Ragu.

3. Direct heat cooking techniques.

The best way to get food cooked quickly is to use a high, direct heat. Think things like pan frying, stir frying and BBQing.

My favourite Stonesoup example? Green Curry Stir Fry.

4. Recipes with few ingredients.

You know here at Stonesoup I have a ‘thing’ for 5 ingredients. Generally the less ingredients you use the less time it takes to get them out, prep them and put any leftovers away. No brainer if you’re short on time…

My favourite Stonesoup example? The whole Stonesoup recipe index!

Curried Lamb with Charred Broccolini-2

Curried Lamb with Broccolini

I used to think that a recipe needed to have more than just curry powder to taste good. I’ve since done a complete backflip and often rely on curry powder as my sole source of spice. The secret is to use a good quality curry powder. I’ve been making my own but if that’s not an option get yours from a specialist spice seller. It really makes a difference.

enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes

2 lemons
2 teaspoons curry powder
8 lamb cutlets or chops
2 bunches broccolini
3 tablespoons almond butter or tahini

1. For the marinade combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice with the zest of one lemon (optional), 2 teaspoons curry powder and 2 tablespoons oil. Toss in the lamb and marinate for as long as you’ve got. From 1 minute to 48 hours. If marinating longer than an hour best to cover and refrigerate.

2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat your overhead grill (broiler) on its highest setting.

3. Trim bases from the bottom of the broccolini. Place on a tray lined with foil and drizzle with a little oil. Cook under the grill (broiler) for for 5 minutes then turn and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until broccolini is tender and a bit charred and crunchy in places. OR however you like it cook – 5 minutes total may be enough for some.

4. Wrap broccolini in foil to steam and keep warm while you cook the lamb.

5. Grill lamb for 3-4 minutes on each side for rare or longer if you prefer your lamb more cooked.

6. While the lamb is cooking make the sauce by stirring together almond butter or tahini, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water.

7. To serve, divide broccolini between two plates. Top with lamb and drizzle over the sauce.

Print Friendly

Video version of the recipe.


nut-free – use natural yoghurt seasoned with salt and pepper instead of the almond butter / tahini sauce.

vegetarian / vegan – serve grilled broccolini and the sauce with curried cooked or canned chickpeas or lentils. Just warm the legumes in a pan with a little oil and a teaspoon of the curry powder. A splash of lemon might be nice too. OR replace lamb with sliced eggplant (marinate and grill as per the recipe but allow twice the time or longer to cook).

more veg – you can grill extra veg with the broccolini like sliced red bell peppers (capsicum), eggplant or zucchini. Or serve on a bed of baby spinach or cauliflower ‘rice’.

carb lovers / more substantial – serve with steamed brown rice or cooked noodles.

no grill / broiler – feel free to cook the broccolini and lamb in a frying pan or on the BBQ.

different veg – broccoli is the obvious choice but asparagus or sliced zucchini would also be lovely.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon


Roast Trout with Almonds

Since we moved to our little house in the country, I’ve pretty much cooked dinner every night.

We’ve been here for about 18 months so that means I’ve made over 500 dinners in my little blue kitchen.

I know. That’s a lot of meals!

Given we live in the sticks, it might seem like there aren’t any other choices.

But there are plenty of non home-cooked options…

My Irishman works in town so he could easily pick something up on the way home. And our closest village is only a 10 minute drive. Or I could stock the freezer with TV dinners.

But here’s the thing…

With a 2 year old in the house and another on the way, my energy levels definitely aren’t at their highest. Yet I still love getting dinner ready.

Well, most of the time.

For me it’s a privilege to be able to create something delicious and nourishing. A chance to unwind and have something to show for it.

But I know you might not see it the same way.

It can be tough after a long day to think about chopping and stirring when all you really feel like is melting into the couch. Preferably with a glass of wine.


Roast Trout with Almonds-2

Fast Roast Trout with Almonds

This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver years ago and I’d forgotten about it until only recently when I happened to pick up a lovely whole plate sized rainbow trout at the fish markets. Cranking the oven to the max is a brilliant way to cook whole fish as quickly and mess-free as possible.

enough for: 2
takes 20 minutes

2 whole fresh water trout
2 lemons, thickly sliced
1 small bunch sage, leaves picked
handful flaked almonds
1 bag salad leaves

1. Preheat your oven to its highest setting.

2. Line a baking tray with foil. Place lemon slices on the tray in two lines and then trout on top of the lemon. Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

3. Pop trout in the oven. Set your timer for 5 minutes.

4. After 5 minutes scatter over the sage and almonds and pop the fish back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

5. When the second time is up, check the fish. If the flesh flakes easily when pushed with a fork and it looks cooked. You’re done. If not pop back in for another few minutes.

6. When the fish is cooked serve on 2 plates with the lemon, sage and almond and salad leaves on the side.


fish fillets – you could use fish fillets, just be prepared for them to be cooked after 5 minutes. So probably best to add the sage and almonds at the beginning.

other whole fish – feel free to use other whole fish. Anything larger than a plate sized fish will of course take longer to cook.

vegetarian – the sage and almonds would be lovely with whole roast mushrooms. I’d add some butter to the mushrooms before cooking and skip the lemon. Depending on how large your mushies are it will probably take about the same amount of time to cook.

nut-free – you can easily skip the almonds.

more substantial / carb lovers – serve with roast potatoes or crusty bread and lashings of butter.

more veg – add any of your fave chopped salad veg to the leaves such as snow peas, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, grated beets.

dressed leaves – the lemon from cooking the fish does make a bit of a dressing but you could toss your leaves in a lemony dressing if you prefer (1 tablespoon lemon juice + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil should do the trick).

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon


Macadamia 'Ricotta'-2

I‘m not someone who seeks out controversy. But occasionally, it tracks me down.

Especially when I write about different diets or ways of eating.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised that when I mentioned I was going ‘full paleo’ for a month, there was some, shall we call it ‘feedback’ about ‘endorsing’ such a ‘dangerous fad diet’.

To be clear, as a food scientist with a keen interest in how food changes the way we feel, look and age, I don’t see it as my job to tell you what you ‘should’ and ‘should not’ eat.

I do see my job as helping you make healthy cooking as simple as possible. Thus the whole 5-ingredients, real food focus. And all the ‘variations’ at the bottom of my recipes.

But I also see it as my job to share what I’m experimenting with in my own diet. Because if something helps me, maybe it will help you too?

Of course I can’t tell you what will work. You have to figure out that bit on your own :)

Still with me? Good!

I’m glad we had this chat…

Why Paleo?

A few people emailed asking why I decided to have paleo month?

If you were wondering, the theory behind the paleo diet is that paleolithic man (ie the hunter / gatherers) were taller and had less evidence of disease than the neolithic people (the first farmers) who came after them.

So the ‘paleo’ theory goes that the addition of grain and dairy products into our diets caused some problems.

I explain more in the first post I wrote about eating paleo back in 2010.

My 3 Biggest Lessons from Paleo Month

1. I ate more veg.
This was super noticeable the first week. We started with the same amount of veg I normally buy and they disappeared much quicker than normal.

I LOVE my veggies and I know they’re super important for good health. So I was very happy with this change.

2. I learned I don’t have sensitivity to dairy.
As a big cheese lover, I was very relieved on this front.

When I did introduce dairy, I added cheese back in a few days before drinking a glass of milk. Just in case that made a difference.

Result? All clear as far as I can tell. Bring on the parmesan!

3. I discovered ‘restriction’ can open up possibilities.
I had been meaning to experiment with dairy-free alternatives like cashew cheese and coconut yoghurt for ages. But when I was eating dairy, I just never got around to it.

My month of eating full paleo, gave me the ‘kick’ I needed to explore both these options and more.

The restriction also gave me a reason to get reacquainted with some ingredients I hadn’t used in ages like coconut flour and nutritional yeast.

I also figured out a cheat way to make nut milk when I’d run out one morning…

Just pop a couple of tablespoons nut butter (I used cashew one time and a mixture of almond, brazil and cashew another time) in a jar. Add a cup of water. Put the lid on and shake (or use your stick blender to whizz). Not the same as soaking and grinding your own nuts but pretty close.

And a whole lot tastier than commercial nut milks (which tend to contain only 2% nuts!).

Where to from here?

I’m going back to eating what I call ‘mostly paleo’. Which means I include dairy and legumes but pretty much avoid grains.

The change is I am planning on being more ‘mindful’ or sparing with my legume intake. Because basically when I eat legumes it’s at the expense of more vegetables. And overall I think there are more benefits from the extra fresh veg.

I’m also going to go easy on things like buckwheat and quinoa for the same reason.

And for October?

I’m having ‘exercise-every-day’ month. Just getting back into walking for 20 minutes or more every day.

And so far… loving it!

What about you?

Ever tried going paleo? Or any other ‘crazy’ dietary restrictions? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.


Macadamia 'Ricotta'

Macadamia ‘Ricotta’

I’ll be honest. If given the choice between a full cream cows milk ricotta and this nut ‘cheese’, I’m taking the real dairy version every time. But when soft cheese is off the table (hello pregnancy!), I’m very glad to have this as an alternative.

The first time I made this it was a bit ‘grainy’ but after getting my food processor blade sharpened, the second batch was much more creamy and lovely.

makes about a cup
takes 15 minutes + soaking time

200g (7oz) macadamias
1 tablespoon lemon juice
sea salt

1. Place macadamias in a ceramic or glass bowl or jug and cover generously with water – about 2 cups but no need to measure.

2. Soak nuts for at least 6 hours (and less than 48).

3. Drain, discarding soaking water. Place nuts in a food processor. Add lemon juice, a good pinch of sea salt flakes and 1/2 cup water and whizz until as smooth as you can get it. Scraping down the sides a few times.

4. Taste and add more salt and/or lemon as needed.

Print Friendly


different nuts – best to use raw (unroasted) nuts. Cashews are good but you could also use almonds. I probably wouldn’t try pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts because the flavour would be a bit weird. If money is no object, pinenuts are another possibility. 

sweet cream – skip the lemon juice and add a little of your favourite sweetener such as maple syrup, honey or stevia.

extra ‘cheesey’ – add a teaspoon or two of nutritional yeast.

thicker – add less water to the food processor.

more runny / thinner – add more water. Once refrigerated, it does thicken up a little.

macadamia ‘yoghurt’ – add an extra tablespoon or two of lemon juice and the powder from 2 probiotic capsules. Stand at room temp to help the culture ferment for 8-12 hours before refrigerating.

nut-free – use regular ricotta! Or you could try sunflower seeds… not sure how they’ll go but worth a shot.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon

ps. Want all the juicy details?

Here’s exactly what I ate over the whole month…

My Paleo Month Food Diary

B. Fried eggs with kale + mayo
Coconut yoghurt with psyllium, chia + linseed
L. Salmon + iceberg salad
D. Chicken caccitore w/ cauli rice

b. Poached eggs with cauli rice, sauerkraut, mayo + chia + linseed
l. @Paleo cafe in Lonsdale St
Meatball & sweet potato noodle soup
d. Shepherds pie (w Cauli & coconut oil topping) + rocket & radicchio salad

B. Fried eggs with Cauli rice, Mayo, linseeds & psyllium
L. Leftover shepherds pie
Black olives
D. Warm mushroom & almond salad

B. Coconut yoghurt w paleo ‘cereal’ & raspberries
L. Chicken salad with mayo
D. Pan fried fish w chipotle mayo & salad

B. Apple, nut milk flat white (coffee)
L. Roast rhubarb with coconut yoghurt, psyllium, chia & linseeds
D. Naked burgers with celeriac ‘slaw
Raw brownies

B. Poached quince with coconut yoghurt, psyllium, chia & linseeds & ABC butter
L. @ Hotel Hotel
Raw & pickled veg with anchovy, garlic dip
Pork belly
Beef short ribs
Strawberry & pineapple sorbet (did have sugar)
D. Chorizo, sauerkraut & macadamia ‘ricotta’

B. Fried eggs + baby spinach + mayo
L. Paleo toast with ‘macadamia ricotta + almond butter
D. Addictive lemony kale

(My birthday >> Paleo leave pass)
B. Porridge w Roast Rhubarb & Cream
L. @ Temporada
Stuffed peppers
Waygu Beef with mushroom & onion
Ricotta Gnudi with Nettles
D. 3 x hard cheeses, Olives, Walnut sourdough, Shaved fennel & olive oil
Carrot cake & maple cream cheese frosting

B. Fried eggs & lemony kale + mayo
L. Salmon & broccoli ‘rice’ salad
D. Herby green chicken w broccoli ‘Rice’

B. Fried eggs with broccoli ‘rice’ & aioli
L. Grilled lamb with shaved zucchini salad & white bean puree (not Paleo but at a cafe and the closest option that was also pregnant lady friendly!)
D. Grilled asparagus with Macadamia ‘Ricotta’
Raw brownie

B. Coconut Yoghurt with Chia, Linseeds, & Raspberries
L. Roast trout with Almonds & Green Salad
D. Curried Lamb Chops w Charred Broccolini & Almond Sauce
Raw Brownies

B. Paleo French toast with Quince & Coconut Yoghurt
L. Coconut yoghurt w psyllium & chia
D. Coffee Rub Steak with Aioli, Cold oil fries & green salad.

B. Bacon, eggs, black pudding & shaved Brussels sprouts salad
L. Roast pear & almond cake
D. Chicken caticcore with zucchini noodles, sauerkraut & fermented onions

B. Fried eggs with shaved brussels spouts + mayo
L. Avocado + lime on paleo toast + ‘slaw
D. Stuffed sweet potatoes with beef & tahini + baby spinach

B. Fried eggs + lemony kale + mayo
L. Asian beef + zucchini noodles
D. Paleo shepherds pie + green salad

B. Fried eggs + lemony kale + mayo
L. @ Parlour Wine Room
Smoked almonds,
Beet, kholrabi + jerusalem artichoke salad
D. Chicken satay curry with cauliflower ‘rice’

B. Fried eggs + cauli rice + mayo
L. Tuna mayo salad
D. Sardines with broccoli

B. Coconut yoghurt, blueberries, paleo ‘cereal’, psyllium, chia + linseeds
L. Cajun chicken + ‘slaw
D. Beef + broccoli ‘couscous’

B. Berry, quince, chia + coconut milk smoothie
L. Veggie chips
D. Naked burgers + fermented turnip

B. Poached eggs, green salad, avocado on paleo toast + bacon
L. Cashew cheese, paleo bread, olives, pear, veggie chips
D. Pulled pork with apple slaw + iceberg lettuce leaves

B. Poached eggs w slow cooked broccoli & mayo
L. Sardine, baby spinach + cashew cheese salad
D. Cajun chicken + ‘slaw

B. Fried eggs with broccoli raab + mayo
L. Cashew cheese, avocado + ‘slaw.
D. Moroccan meatloaf tajine + cauli couscous + sauerkraut

B. Fried eggs w Cauli rice & Mayo
L. Sardines on paleo toast + salad
D. Addictive Roast Brussels Sprouts + Sausages

B. Fried eggs with slow cooked broccoli + mayo
L. @ Paleo Cafe Kingston Foreshore
cashew frittata,
kale chips,
D. Roast whole bream with peppers & baby spinach

B. Paleo cereal w coconut yoghurt & blueberries
L. Paleo shepherds pie w broccoli raab
D. Pulled pork stuffed sweet potato w cashew sour cream & iceberg lettuce salad
Dark chocolate (90% cocoa solids)

B. Baked Rhubarb w Cashew Cream & Chia & Psyllium
L. @ Bendooley Estate, Berrima.
Rack of lamb with pea puree & spuds
Green salad
D. Black pudding with grilled asparagus & hollandaise

B. Poached eggs with potato rosti, hollandaise + green salad.
L. Peanut butter ‘bread’
D. Brisket + Guinness (not paleo!), roast jerusalem artichokes, wilted broccoli raab

B. Poached eggs with broad beans, avocado + mint
L. Snack of raw almonds and peanut butter
D. BBQ chicken wings + ‘slaw

B. Fried eggs with sauerkraut, baby kale + hollandaise
L. Avocado + lime on paleo toast + green salad
D. Sardines with broccoli raab

B. Paleo cereal, roast rhubarb + cashew yoghurt
L. @Grill’d Healthy Burgers
Grilled chicken & avocado salad
D. Bacon sang choi bau


Cajun Chicken in a Paper Bag

It’s enough to make even the toughest of us panic…

You’ve just taken a big bite. You didn’t think it was going to be too hot. And then the burning feeling starts to build. And build. And build.

You brace yourself for the onslaught…


Or as Fergal would say… ‘Ouchies!’

I still remember my worst chilli burn like it was yesterday…

I was working in my first ‘real job’ as a young food scientist in the Kellogg Australia product development department and was out to dinner with a big group of friends. It was Friday night. We’d been at the pub for a few hours before heading in search of a good curry.

Squeezed around the table, it was noisy and the wine was flowing. Happy days.

Until the food came out.

I was starving and reached for what I thought was a lone green bean on top of one of the curries. I took a bite.

It definitely wasn’t a harmless green bean. My world closed in on the inferno in my mouth.

Luckily I knew what to do. (Food science to the rescue!)

And no I didn’t reach for the water. Or another slug of vino.

I knew better.

So I grabbed the raita, creamy yoghurt flecked with cucumber chunks.

I held the mixture in my mouth, swirling it around before swallowing and starting with more life-saving yoghurt.

Thankfully things calmed down in my mouth. And dinner went on.

Although I didn’t enjoy it because I couldn’t get over the fact that I’d been so stupid. When do Indian restaurants ever use a ‘lone green bean’ to garnish their beef vindaloo? It’s always a chilli. How could I be so foolish?

So why did the yoghurt work?

Simple chemistry.

The component of chillies which makes them hot is called capsaicin and it’s only soluble in fats and oils. While water and wine may give momentary relief from the temperature difference, the capsaicin doesn’t dissolve and stays in your mouth causing all the pain.

Full fat yoghurt on the other hand, has enough oil to dissolve the culprit and move it on. Problem solved.

Of course it doesn’t have to be yoghurt.

Fergal recently had is own chilli experience when he rubbed his fingers on my chilli-infested chopping board and popped said fingers in his mouth. Luckily a big glass of cold milk sorted him out straight away.

But basically anything with some oil will work. Coconut milk or coconut yoghurt or even a mouthful of a creamy mild curry will do the trick.

What about you?

Ever had a ‘green bean’ chilli moment of your own? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Cajun Chicken in a Paper Bag-2

Cajun Chicken in a Paper Bag

There’s something really magical about dusting cooked food in a spice mix just before eating. Not only do you get the beautiful spiced flavours, it also coats the chicken to give a slightly crunchy crust. So good and so little effort!

enough for: 2
takes: 15 minutes

450g (1lb) chicken thigh or breast fillets
3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 large cabbage
3 green onions (optional)
3-4 teaspoons cajun spice

1. Chop chicken in to bite size strips. Heat a frying pan on a medium high heat.

2. Rub chicken with a little oil and salt. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side or until browned on the outside and just cooked through.

3. While the chicken is cooking, slice cabbage as finely as possible and toss in a bowl with the mayo and green onion (if using). Season with salt and pepper.

4. Divide cooked chicken between 2 plates and serve each person with a paper bag. Serve cajun spice in the middle of the table so each person can toss it in with their chicken.

5. Serve cabbage salad in the middle of the table.

6. Get each person to pop their chicken in their paper bag and add their share of the spice mix. Shake bag and eat spiced chicken with the salad.

Print Friendly

Video Version of the Recipe.


no cabbage – serve spiced chicken with baby spinach or other salad greens on the side.

vegetarian – replace chicken with sliced halloumi or poached eggs. For the eggs, just serve on a plate and sprinkle with the spice (instead of tossing in the bag).

egg-free – use a vegan mayo for the salad dressing. Or replace with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

vegan – follow the egg-free suggestions and replace chicken with 1-2 drained cans of chickpeas. Warm in a little oil in a pan then serve with a paper bag and the spice as per the chicken.

no cajun spice – try another spice blend like moroccan, ras el hanout, pirri pirri or just use a little salt, black pepper and mild chilli powder (you won’t need as much as the cajun blend).

different meat – feel free to use chicken breast fillets, pork fillet or some plain pork sausages.

hot! – add a little chilli powder to your spice mix.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon


Coconut & Almond 'Cereal'-2

The first time I tried going paleo there was one meal I really struggled with.

If you’ve ever had an attempt at eating low carb or going ‘full paleo’, I bet you’ve struggled with this too.

Yep. Breakfast. Breakkie.

Now I think about it, when I went vegan for a week, breakfast was the most tricky then too.

This time, my experiment of eating full paleo for a month, breakfasts have been relatively easy.

Since moving to our little farm last year and getting a flock of chooks (that’s chickens for you non-Australians!), I’ve become a huge fan of having eggs for breakfast.

There’s something so great about having a proper breakfast of poached eggs and some veggies.

I love it.

But even I can’t have eggs for breakfast every single day, so I thought I’d share my fave breakkie ideas for when eggs aren’t an option…

6 Egg-Free Low Carb / Paleo Breakfast Ideas

1. Green Smoothies
I don’t have a high speed blender so I find my green smoothies tend to be a bit fibrous… not exactly smooth! So I haven’t really gotten into this craze. But they can be a brilliant way to start getting some veggies in your breakkie.

2. Coconut Yoghurt
If only I’d known about coconut yoghurt back during my vegan week! I’ve been enjoying a commercial one but if you’d like to make your own, there’s a recipe over here.

I’ve bookmarked a page from the My New Roots cookbook for cashew yoghurt which I’m really eager to try.

3. Chocolate ‘Granola’
I’d forgotten about this recipe until I was doing research for this blog post. Looking forward to whipping up a batch this weekend as a treat for my last days of paleo month!

4. Overnight ‘Chia’
In Summer I do love to soak rolled oats to make bircher musesli or ‘overnight oats’ but you can get great results with chia seeds as well.

For one person, just soak 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds in 2/3 cup coconut milk, almond milk or other milk. Either leave in the fridge overnight or as long as you’ve got. The longer you soak the less crunchy the chia will be. Serve straight up or with fresh fruit such as blueberries.

5. Paleo Toast + Avocado
I’ve been making my paleo bread, which is based on coconut flour (and does contain some eggs!) to have with avocado. Fergal isn’t convinced (he spits it out!). But I do like having it as a quick change from my eggs.

6. Coconut & Almond ‘Cereal’ (recipe below)
This grain-free Paleo cereal mix (pictured above) has been a life saver during my month of eating paleo for those days when I don’t feel like cooking eggs. See below for the recipe…

Need more ideas?

If you’re happy to include some legumes and / or eggs, check out My 9 Favourite Healthy Breakfast Ideas and 6 Slightly Unusual Healthy Breakfast Ideas.


Coconut & Almond 'Cereal'

Coconut & Almond ‘Cereal’

This grain-free Paleo cereal mix was inspired by the lovely Eleanor Ozich from over at Petite Kitchen.

I generally have it with coconut yoghurt and sometimes a handful of blueberries or raspberries. But you could eat it with milk or your favourite dairy-free milk if you prefer a more traditional ‘bowl of cereal’ experience.

takes: about 20 minutes
makes about 2 cups

1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons psyllium (optional)
2 tablespoons chia seeds, whole or ground (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Spread almonds on a baking tray and toast for about 10 minutes. Stir and cook for another few minutes until the almonds are just lightly golden.

2. Cool the almonds on the tray then toss in the coconut, psyllium (if using) and chia (if using).

3. Store in an airtight container in the pantry for a few months.

Print Friendly


raw ‘cereal’ – don’t worry about toasting the almonds.

sweet – feel free to add your favourite dried fruit. Or serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

more! – feel free to double of triple the recipe.

nut-free – replace almonds with sunflower seeds or pepitas or both. Skip the toasting step.

different additives – any whole, chopped or ground seeds or nuts like hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, linseeds, sunflower seeds or pepitas. You could also add rolled oats or oat bran for a more cost-effective cereal but it won’t be paleo any more.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon


Paleo Carrot Cake w Maple Cream Cheese Frosting-4

I‘ve been imagining writing this blog post for a long time. Like over 18 months.

Anyway here we are. And I have good news!

So last week I celebrated my birthday. And the best birthday present? Like, Ever?

I’m having another baby!

In February!

Yes, Fergal is going to be a big brother. (He’s really excited too!)

As is the tradition here at Stonesoup, I have a killer birthday cake recipe to celebrate (recipe below).

And a Birthday Sale!

2MMP 3D Cover

For the next 72 hours*, you can pickup a copy of the 2-Minute Meal Plan for 30% OFF.

Each year I choose a different ebook to celebrate with. This year I wanted to celebrate with the 2-Minute Meal Plan because it’s still the best selling of all my eCookbooks.

And it’s a really unique book as the subtitle says, it’s a revolutionary approach to help YOU plan & cook healthy food fast…

To find out if the 2-Minute Meal Plan is right for you before the Birthday Sale ends go to:


UPDATE: The Sale is now over.
Thanks to everyone who took part!

ingredient thesaurus logoPLUS! As an added bonus, everyone who buys during the sale will also get a FREE copy of the Stonesoup Ingredient Thesaurus. Which is designed as a go-to guide for when you need to substitute ingredients. You can’t buy this book alone. It’s only available as part of the sale.

Paleo Carrot Cake w Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Paleo Carrot Cake

Since my neighbour Heather gave me the recipe for her Stupidly Easy Banana Bread, I’ve been having a great time experimenting with baking without sugar or stevia and using fruit as a sweetener instead. Lots of fun!

This processed sugar-free cake uses dates pureed with a little water and I must admit, I love it even more than the sugar-laden original recipe! The dates add a lovely caramelly flavour. So good!

enough for 6-8
takes about an hour

200g (7oz) pitted dates
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3 eggs
250g (8 1/2 oz) almond meal
250g (8 1/2 oz) carrots, coarsely grated

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line a 20cm (8in) cake pan.

2. Place dates in a heat proof bowl. Cover with 150g (5oz) boiling water and allow to stand for a few minutes.

3. Transfer date and the soaking water to your food processor and whizz until you have a smooth paste. Stir in the oil, eggs, almond meal and carrots. Mix with a spoon until just combined.

4. Scoop the cake mixture into your pan and bake on the middle shelf for 45-50 minutes or until the cake feels springy when touched and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5. Cool in the tin. Or enjoy warm.

Print Friendly


nut-free / budget – replace almond meal with 200g (7oz) flour. And expect the baking time to be reduced.

different veg – grated zucchini are lovely or try using the same amount of roasted sweet potato or beets.

no coconut oil – use melted butter or an oil with a neutral flavour.

vegan / egg-free – your favourite egg replacer will probably work. I’d try 2 mashed ripe bananas to start but I haven’t done this yet!

Paleo Carrot Cake w Maple Cream Cheese Frosting-3

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I know this isn’t Paleo but it’s totally my first choice for those rare occasions when I do want to add some frosting to my cake. Normally I’m more of a ‘just serve it with double cream’ kinda girl.

enough for a VERY thick layer 1 x 20cm (8in) cake
500g (1lb) cream cheese
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Remove the cream cheese from the fridge to soften about an hour before you want to make the frosting.

2. Whizz the cream cheese in the food processor until smooth. Add maple syrup and whizz to combine. Taste and add more maple syrup as needed.

3. Spread on your cooled cake.

Print Friendly


sugar-free – skip the maple syrup or replace with a teaspoon of vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla bean pod.

less thick frosting – use half the recipe or make a bigger cake!

paleo / dairy-free – just serve your cake without frosting. Or try chilling a few cans of coconut cream and whipping the solid cream that forms on the top.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon



Fish Wraps with Limey Avocado-2

This doesn’t happen very often, but let me tell you about a time I had to break my word. In public.

It all started back in 2010…

It had been about 9 months since I’d left the corporate world to turn my blog into a business. I had just finished writing my book ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’ and with all the recipe testing and photography pretty much everything I was eating contained 5 ingredients.

As I shared at the time, night after night my Irishman and I were blown away by how good my simple 5-Ingredients recipes tasted.

And so I made the ‘5 Ingredients’ pledge. To only ever cook recipes with 5 ingredients. That’s it.

Fast forward two years and you can see from this post, I went public with my decision to break my pledge.


Was it because the meal weren’t tasty enough? Was I getting bored with the constraint? Was I missing the ‘variety’ of larger ingredient recipes?

No. No. AND No!

If anything we were eating better than ever.

The problem was I got sick of counting.

And stressing about an extra ingredient here and there. Which kinda defeated the point of making life easier.

The other problem was it’s hard to find other recipes out there with so few ingredients. So it pretty much ruled out cooking from my cookbooks, magazines and fave food blogs – something I love to do.

But recently, when I was following one of my Soupstones Meal Plans as part of a dinner challenge, I was again reminded of my pledge. And all the joys that come from cooking simply.

Especially now I have a 2 year old in the house.

So what’s the number 1. way to simplify your meals?

You’ve probably guessed it…

Keep the number of ingredients to a minimum.

I like 5 but you don’t necessarily need to stick to a certain number.

As one of my students said,
“I can’t believe that cooking with so few ingredients could be so tasty… and easy!”


Fish Wraps with Limey Avocado<

Fish Wraps with Limey Avocado

While a more complicated guacamole can be nice, I just adore the simple freshness of creamy avocado with lashings of lime juice. So good here with fish but feel free to use the limey avocado anywhere you’d normally use guac.

This is definitely one of those recipes that even I thought… might need something else. But trust me, with the crunch of the lettuce and zestiness of the lime contrasting the rich salmon… It’s soo good just as it is.

enough for: 2
takes: 15 minutes

450g (1lb) salmon or other fish fillets, sliced into bite sized pieces
2 medium avocadoes
2 limes
2 green onions (shallots / scallions), finely sliced (optional)
iceberg lettuce leaves or tortillas to wrap

1. Heat a medium frying pan on a medium high heat. Add a little oil, season the fish with salt and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until the fish is cooked to your liking.

2. While the fish is cooking, halve both avocados and discard the seeds. Scoop out the avocado flesh and place in a medium bowl. If there are any brownish bits, remove them.

3. Mash avocado with a fork and stir in the juice of one lime. Season with salt and taste. Add more lime juice and salt as needed. When you’re happy, stir in the green onion (if using).

4. If using lettuce, wash and break into individual leaves. If using tortillas, wrap and warm them in the oven.

5. To serve divide fish between 2 plates. Pop avocado mix into two small bowls and give one per person. Serve lettuce leaves or tortillas in the middle and let each person make their own wraps.

Print Friendly


hot! – add a little chilli to the avocado or serve with chilli oil or your favourite hot sauce at the table.

vegetarian / vegan – soften an onion and then add a drained can (or home cooked) black beans or lentils. Cook on a medium heat until beans are hot then season with a half teaspoon of ground cumin and salt, if needed. Finish with a drizzle of peppery extra virgin olive oil. Use the bean mix instead of the fish.

more veg – serve the wraps with chopped crunchy veg like carrots, snow peas, red capsicum (bell peppers). Or toss in some corn kernels to warm with the fish. Also see ideas in the herby section.

herby – serve with chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), mint or both.

no avocado – mix the zest and juice of a lime into your fave mayo and use as the sauce.

carnivore – replace fish with steaks or pork fillet. Or even chicken thigh or breast fillets.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon



Chinese Beef & Beans

Ever ‘resolved’ to start eating healthy only to have the wheels fall off after a short time?

Well you’re not alone!

There have been plenty of times where I’ve tried (and failed) to make healthy changes in my life.

The good news is it wasn’t your fault your resolution didn’t stick. Pretty much everyone struggles to succeed if they’re relying on willpower.

As Kelly Mc Gonigal Ph.D writes in her book, ‘The Will Power Instinct’ willpower is something we all only have a finite amount of. This is why it can be so difficult to exert self control at times.

Especially when we’re tired. Because our willpower ‘reserves’ are at there lowest at the end of the day.

So what’s the alternative?

In a word. Habits.

By making healthy habits a part of your everyday life you can essentially ‘automate’ daily decisions. And avoid the need for willpower.

This way, eating healthy isn’t something you battle with every meal. It’s on autopilot so healthy choices become effortless. Even enjoyable.

What sort of habits are we talking about?

For me, my weekly shopping habit is the foundation because without it I wouldn’t have lots of veggies in the house. And you can’t eat something that isn’t there.

Cooking for my family on a daily basis is another key. As are getting 8 hours sleep and making sure I eat my meals sitting at the table (no snacking on the go).

It’s different for every person of course.

We don’t all need to follow the exact same habits. The secret is working enough healthy habits into your life so your ‘autopilot’ is steering you in a healthy direction most of the time.

That way you can not only indulge in that Friday night pizza, you can enjoy it completely guilt-free. And without any ill effects.


Chinese Beef & Beans-3

Chinese Beef & Beans

I’ve never really been excited about green beans. Until now. I’m not exaggerating when I say, halving and roasting the beans transforms them from ‘ho-hum’ to ‘OMG-are-there-any-more-beans’. I’m not kidding. They’re that good. The only thing is halving the beans takes a lot of time, but it makes a difference to the results. The halved beans end up crispier and way more tasty so it’s worth it. But if you’re really pushed, see the ‘short on time’ variation below. I like to serve with cauliflower ‘rice’ (grated raw cauliflower).

enough for: 2
takes: 25 minutes

450g (1lb) green beans, halved lengthwise
450g (1lb) ground (minced) beef
2-6 fresh chillies, chopped
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bunch mint, leaves picked (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Trim the stalks and discard the bean stalks then halve the beans lengthwise. It’s a bit fiddly but worth it.

2. Toss beans in a little oil and place on a baking tray lined with paper. Bake for 15 minutes (stirring half way through) or until tender and really well browned.

3. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the beef and chilli on a really high heat until the beef is well browned.

4. Remove beef from the heat. When the beans are ready, stir in beans, soy sauce and mint (if using). Taste and season with more soy if needed.

Print Friendly


short on time – skip halving the beans (they wont be as crispy though) and allow an extra 5 minutes for them to cook in the oven.

vegetarian / vegan – I’d use crumbled firm tofu instead of the beef. Or try tossing in drained cooked white beans. Or stir fry some some mushrooms instead.

more veg – add in any of your favourite stir fry veg to cook after the beef is done. Red bell peppers (capsicum), snow peas, carrots or green onion would all be lovely. Serve with cauliflower ‘rice’.

more complex – toss in some chopped garlic and ginger in with the beef.

tiny person-friendly – either skip or deseed the chilli to keep the heat down (you could add the chilli at the table for any adults).

soy-free – replace soy sauce with coconut aminos or fish sauce (careful, you may not need as much!).

carb lovers – serve with steamed rice or rice noodles cooked according to the packet.

Big love,
Jules x

instagram-icon Pinterest_Badge_Red facebook_icon


Zucchini with Butter Beans & Goats Curd-2

After our trip to Ireland I fell into some bad habits.

I’d managed to find a great balance between healthy eating and not missing out on any treats (hello Parisian baguettes!) on our trip. And had even come home the same weight I’d left.

But back ‘down under’ things stated to fall apart…

There could have been a few reasons.

But I’m blaming having a sick toddler in the house and a resulting forced extended stay in ‘Sleep Deprivation’ City.

Whatever the cause, I found myself with some serious carb cravings. Resulting in pasta, spuds and tortillas on an almost everyday basis.

Oh yeah, and our veggie intake? Way down.

[click to continue…]


Stir-Through Mac & Cheese-2

Are you a precise, measure-every-single-ingredient cook? Or more someone who likes to just add ‘a little bit of this and that’?


I’m somewhere in the middle…

Now ‘fence sitting’ isn’t normally my style. But in this case, there’s a very good reason…

[click to continue…]


Green Lime & Fish Soup-2

You’re probably not going to believe me. But I swear I’m telling the truth. I’ve just done my shopping list for the week.

And I only need 7 ingredients.


Yep really. 7. That’s all. Well for dinner for the next 5 nights at least. Oh, and it includes 1 healthy dessert as well.

Best of all, I’m getting them all from my local mini-supermarket.

[click to continue…]


Cheesey Quinoa

You come home after another huge day at work. You’re tired. You’re hungry. You think about cooking but do you have the energy?

It’s tough. Isn’t it?

But today I have a bit of inspiration for you. A new ‘scientific’ reason to help you resist the temptation to skip cooking.

Something I’m really excited to share!

[click to continue…]


Yoghurt & Kofta Curry

Ever had that feeling where you’re bored with cooking?

Well it may surprise you but even though I’m completely obsessed with food, there are times when I do feel a little ‘meh’.

Bored even.

This doesn’t happen often. But it does happen.

Like last week when Fergal was sick and I was running on less than 3 hours sleep a night.

[click to continue…]


Irresistable Mashy Peas

I hate peas.

Actually, I should rephrase that. I used to hate peas. Ever since my mother forced me to eat them, I’ve had a few pea ‘issues’.

I’ve always known my pea phobia was totally irrational. And I often wished I loved peas like my Irishman does.

I’d gotten to the stage where I didn’t ‘freak out’ whenever they were served. And I thought this was as good as things were going to get.

But recently I came across a recipe for Mashy Peas which rocked my world.

And turned me into a pea fan.

[click to continue…]


Spiced Chickpeas with Cauli Mash-3

I‘m not a fan of ‘hiding’ vegetables. Even with a toddler in the house who is becoming more and more a fan of the word ‘No’.

Basically I believe that vegetables taste delicious when prepared properly and ‘sneaking’ them into things sends the wrong message.

But recently I was talking to my best mate in Melbourne and she made me reconsider my stance on stealth veg…

About 4 months pregnant, my friend was really worried because she had completely lost her taste for eating vegetables. She knew she should be eating loads of fresh produce but the thought of broccoli, kale or salad was leaving her cold.

Which got me thinking about my favourite ways to eat veg that don’t feel particularly ‘healthy’. I hope you find this helpful next time you have a fussy pregnant lady (or 2 year old) in the house…

[click to continue…]