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Magic Sausage & Cabbage Supper-3

One of the most popular recipes with my Meal Planning Members is my ‘Magic’ Sausage Supper.

Basically you put vegetables and sausages in a pan and roast until everything is tender. It’s about as simple as cooking can possibly get but the results are deeply satisfying, not to mention delicious.

The original recipe uses root veg such as parsnip or butternut squash and they are great. But they don’t fit in with my Low Carb tendencies.

So I had given up on my Magic suppers until I had the ‘brain wave’ to try it with low carb veg.

Why didn’t I think of that sooner!

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Magic Sausage & Cabbage Supper

Magic Sausage & Cabbage Supper

Cabbage is one of the most underrated vegetables. It’s Low Carb, super nutritious, generally available year round, keeps in the fridge for weeks and weeks, and if cooked properly it’s super delicious. I love it raw shaved into salads or ‘slaw.

But it’s even better when cooked down into a soft pile that’s sort of like a big bowl of fettuccine. Waistline-friendly comfort food at it’s best!

If you want to make this even easier, buy pre-shredded cabbage. And don’t skip the vinegar! It really freshens everything up and makes the cabbage flavours come alive (in a good way). Ditto the salt and oil.

enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes

1 onion halved and finely sliced
1/2 med cabbage (500g / 1lb), finely sliced
4 thick sausages
1 tablespoon sherry or wine vinegar
mustard, mayo (or both!), to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Halve and slice onion. Place in a roasting pan with the sausages. Drizzle with olive oil.

2. Roast for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice cabbage as finely as you can be bothered but don’t worry about cracking out the mandoline (the finer you slice the quicker it will cook).

3. Turn the sausages. Add cabbage, salt and another drizzle of oil. Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until cabbage is soft and sausages are well browned and cooked through.

4. Sprinkle over vinegar. Toss, taste and season with more salt as needed. Serve mustard / mayo on the side.

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Variations

vegetarian – skip the sausages and serve cabbage and onion with poached eggs, lashings of shaved parmesan or crumbled feta or a few handfuls of roast nuts (almonds or pinenuts would be my pick).

different meat – feel free to use chorizo, chicken thighs fillets or pork chops instead of the sausages.

different veg – replace cabbage with halved brussels sprouts, cauliflower florettes, broccoli florettes, diced eggplant, diced zucchini, capsicum (bell peppers) or chunks of sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnip or spuds. If using root veg expect the cooking time to be more like 30 minutes or longer.

herby – add some thyme or rosemary with the onion. Or toss in some flat leaf parsley once the cabbage is cooked.

extra cabbage hit! – serve with a side of simple sauerkraut.

Enjoy!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Soupstones Square Logo no border

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details click here.

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Magic Sausage & Cabbage Supper

Magic Sausage & Cabbage Supper RECIPE HERE

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Before I got into minimalism and simplicity, my kitchen was a bit of a disaster zone. My drawers wouldn’t shut. My cupboards were overflowing.

As a passionate cook, you can imagine all the utensils and appliances I had collected over the years.

It was time for a change.

So I had a big clean out.

I went through everything.

It was so much fun. And so calming to work in my new spacious kitchen.

That was over 10 years ago and apart from the regular invasions from teddies, toy trucks and lego, my kitchen is usually a space of calm.

A place I love spending time.

2 Secrets to a Simple Kitchen

1. Purge
You can do this all at once, or just go through one area at a time. It’s going to be way more fun than you’d think.

Divide your kitchen equipment into 3 piles:

i. Things you use and love >> find a place to keep them.

ii. Things haven’t used in the last year >> donate to charity or sell online.

iii. Things you’re not sure of >> put in a ‘quarantine’ box in the garage and review in 6 months.

2. Question Everything
Always ask yourself before you buy something new. Do we really need this?

By being mindful of the things you allow into your life it’s surprisingly easy to keep your kitchen simple.

Like Help to Simplify your Kitchen?

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

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 1.16.45 PM
Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 1.00.50 PM

It’s a 12 month program which focuses on simplifying a different area 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.

Ready to make 2018 YOUR Year of Simplicity?
Join Us Here

With love,
Jules x

ps. The ‘Early Bird’ registration discount ends 14th November.

If you’d like to simplify your cooking and your life,
Join Us Here

“I never expected so much change to happen in less than a year. This course has had a monumental impact on so many areas of my life. If you do one thing for yourself in 2018, sign up and take the journey to A Simple Year. Thank you to all of the contributors for this experience and for opening up my world.”
Deborah, A Simple Year Member

pps. If you have any questions about A Simple Year just email me jules@thestonesoup.com

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Fast Roast Chorizo & Brussels Sprouts with Hot Feta

As a girl with two science degrees, there’s no point pretending I’m not a ‘geek’ at heart.

My favourite line of experimentation of late has been the ‘fast roast’.

I’ve noticed that most recipes have us cooking at a sedately 200C (400F) or lower. But the hotter the oven the faster dinner is ready, right?

So I’ve been cranking my oven up and seeing what happens.

You’re not going to believe it, but when you’re cooking smaller pieces of food like these bite sized chunks of spicy sausage and Brussels Sprouts dinner cooks quicker without any ill effects.

I know. So many possibilities!

Fast Roast Chorizo & Brussels Sprouts with Hot Feta-2

Fast Roast Chorizo with Hot Feta & Brussels Sprouts

If I can’t convince you that Brussels Sprouts are super tasty when cooked like this, don’t worry, there are plenty of other tasty veg options in the ‘variations’ below.

enough for 2
takes 30 minutes
500g (1lb) Brussels sprouts, halved
2-4 chorizo or other spicy sausage
1 tablespoon vinegar
100g (3.5oz) feta cheese
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise and place in a roasting tray. Drizzle with oil and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Chop chorizo into bite sized chunks and add to the tray. Roast for another 10 minutes or until Brussels Sprouts are tender and chorizo is cooked through.

3. While the veg are cooking make the dressing. Combine vinegar with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt.

4. When the chorizo and veg are cooked, crumble feta over the top and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

5. Drizzle dressing over the cooked chorizo, sprouts and hot feta. Scatter with parsley and serve warm.

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Variations

different veg / more veg – Broccoli or cauliflower are really lovely. Or for a more summery vibe use diced eggplant (aubergine), zucchini and capsicum (bell peppers). If you want to use green beans, snow peas or sugar snap peas they’ll cook in about the same time as the chorizo. Button mushrooms or sliced large mushrooms are so tasty cooked this way.

extra umami flavour – Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce with the dressing. And use less salt to season.

carb-lovers / more substantial – toss in cooked pasta or serve with warm pita or tortillas. Or add boiled potatoes to cook with the brussels sprouts.

dairy-free – replace feta with roasted nuts like almonds, brazil nuts or hazelnuts.

no chorizo – use any sausage (spicy or otherwise). Fish fillets or chicken thigh fillets will also work. The fish will take about 10 minutes (less if really thin) and chicken will take longer so add them at the beginning with the sprouts. If you like you can add a teaspoon or 2 of smoked paprika to the dressing to get that lovely smokiness.

vegetarian – use drained canned chickpeas instead of the chorizo. I also like a few handfuls of roast hazelnuts or almonds added with the feta. Or serve the roast veg, parsley and feta with a poached egg.

saucy – the hot feta makes a lovely flavour highlight but if you like it saucy serve with some home made mayo or my miso harissa ‘ketchup’.

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Soupstones Square Logo no border

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details click here.

______________________________

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Fast Roast Chorizo & Brussels Sprouts with Hot Feta-2

Fast Roast Chorizo with Hot Feta & Veg RECIPE HERE

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Afew months ago I had a big mindset change with my cooking. It started when I decided to make my life easier by using my own Soupstones Meal Plans every week.

Now I use my simple recipes for our mid-week dinners. Then on the weekends, when I have more time, I explore my cookbooks for inspiration.

On the surface it may seem like a little thing, but having this clear division of the types of meals I’m cooking for different parts of the week has been really liberating.

And the surprising thing is, how delicious and satisfying my 5-ingredient dinners are. You’d think they would pale in comparison to our more elaborate weekend feasts, but they really hold their own.

Yay for simple meals!

4 Reasons to Love Simple Cooking

1. Tastes Great!
It still amazes me how delicious food can taste when you cut back on the number of ingredients and let your produce ‘speak’ (err taste?) for itself.

Fancy restaurant meals with layers and layers of flavour are lovely, but I also love to ‘wow’ my taste buds with the beauty of simple ingredients.

2. Easier to Prepare.
A blessing for us home cooks who don’t have an army of ‘sous chefs’ to do our washing and chopping. OR hours to spend getting Tuesday night dinner ready.

3. Less Cleanup!
Less ingredients to put away. Less dishes to wash. Worth it for this benefit alone!

4. More Flexibility.
People often say how much they love the ‘variations’ I include at the bottom of my recipes because it allows them to make changes to suit their own tastes and dietary requirements.

One of the biggest reasons I can do this is because my recipes are so simple. It’s easy to know what will happen if you change a particular ingredient.

Like some help to simplify your cooking?

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

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 1.16.45 PM
Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 1.00.50 PM

It’s a 12 month program which focuses on simplifying a different area 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.

Ready to made 2018 your year of simplicity?
Join Us Here

With love,
Jules x

ps. The ‘Early Bird’ registration discount ends 14th November.

If you’d like to simplify your cooking and your life,
Join Us Here

“This course gave me hope. One theme a month was simple enough. I could find time for that! What a difference A Simple Year has made. I’m more focused on what matters. I commit to doing less each day and find myself savoring life more. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Lynn, A Simple Year Member

pps. If you have any questions about A Simple Year just reply to this email and ask!

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Turkish Cauliflower & Yoghurt Soup-2

Turkish Cauliflower & Yoghurt Soup

When I was back packing around the world in my 20s, one of my favourite countries was Turkey. I just loved everything about it. The history, the people and of course the food!

Turkish food has that wonderful fresh ingredient simplicity you find around the Mediterranean but there are little twists on every day ingredients that make it feel a little bit exotic and new. Without requiring a massive expedition to stock your pantry.

A brilliant example is their use of yoghurt in a soup like this to add creamy tartness to a good old cauliflower soup. And I love how they drizzle on melted butter to add richness and substance. So so good!

enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes

1 onion soften in oil
1/2 cauliflower (about 500g / 1lb)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
250g (1 cup) Greek yoghurt
4-6 tablespoons butter
pinch dried chilli flakes or smoked paprika (optional)

1. Heat a little oil in a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Dice onion and add to the pan. Cook onion with the lid on, stirring every now and then until the onion is soft but not browned. About 10 minutes.

2. Chop cauliflower into bite sized chunks and add to the softened onion with the coriander and 1.5 cups water. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Puree soup using a stick blender or regular blender.

3. Stir in yoghurt and warm gently on the stove. Don’t let it simmer as the yoghurt will curdle. Taste and season with salt.

4. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Divide soup between two bowls. Drizzle over the melted butter and sprinkle with chilli / paprika (if using).

Wine Match: A crisp fresh white like Pinot Gris or Riesling.

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Variations

5-ingredients – skip the chilli / smoked paprika or the coriander.

dairy-free – use coconut cream instead of the yoghurt and coconut oil instead of the butter.

short on time – skip the onion.

more substantial / carb-lovers – serve with warm Turkish flat bread or pita.

different veg – I love love love this creamy cauliflower but you could substitute broccoli, butternut squash or root veg like sweet potato, carrot, celeriac (celery root) or parsnip. I’m also thinking a mushroom soup would be wonderful with these accompaniments. You could also add diced carrot and celery with the onion.

Enjoy!
With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Soupstones Square Logo no border

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details click here.

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Turkish Cauliflower & Yoghurt Soup

Turkish Cauliflower & Yoghurt Soup recipe here.

I‘ll let you in on a little secret… For most of my 20s I was a recipe follower. Unless I was making a sandwich, I pretty much consulted a recipe before I cooked anything.

Now following recipes isn’t all bad. It taught me to cook way more than anything I learned while studying for my food science degree.

But over time, I began to cook on my own. To cook from the heart.

And I haven’t looked back.

Why Cook Without Recipes?

The biggest driver was time. Working as a winemaker I didn’t have an hour to spend each week choosing recipes and writing a shopping list. Or much time for shopping.

Plus I was shopping at the local farmers market which meant the availability of ingredients was always changing.

So I found myself creating what I now called ‘template recipes’ based on successes I’d had in the past. I then used these ‘templates’ to branch out and cook on my own.

Cooking without recipes is much more fun and (mostly) just as delicious.

It also means less waste because you used what you have.

Plus it’s completely flexible. So if you have to stay back late at the winery one night and end up ordering pizza, it doesn’t matter.

There’s no waste and no guilt.

I firmly believe YOU CAN learn to cook without recipes. You just need to take it slowly and follow these simple steps.

2 Steps to Cook Without Recipes.

STEP 1. Start ‘tweaking’.
If you already make little changes to recipes as you cook, go to the top of the class! You’ve already mastered step 1 and can move on to step 2.

If you’re a follow-the-recipe-to-a-‘T’ type of person, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered too.

At the end of all my recipes I include a list of ‘variations’. These ideas are the perfect starting place for you to begin ‘tweaking’.

Before you think, ‘I can’t do that‘, remember there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to cooking. The only way to learn is to get into the kitchen and try things.

STEP 2. Use ‘template recipes’.

I did this unconsciously myself, but I wish I’d had someone to show me. I would have saved myself loads of time and mistakes.

Template recipes are the ‘secret’ to learning to cook on your own. It’s all about thinking in general ingredient types rather than specific ingredients. Armed with a collection of ‘templates’ you’ll be able to open the fridge and see possibilities.

You don’t have to figure it out all on your own.

If you join me for ‘Master Your Meal Plan’ I’ll be sharing 71 of my best template recipes and showing you exactly how to put them to use.

Before you know it you’ll be one of those people who can just ‘whip something up’.

Still not sure if you can do it?

Well I know you can! I’ve helped hundreds of people learn to cook without recipes.

Here’s what some of them had to say about it…

Anna, Master Your Meal Plan Owner.
“The biggest change is that I don’t follow recipes to the T anymore – I am substituting different ingredients based on what I have on hand – a big change for me. I am wasting far less food. Also I am managing leftovers better again wasting much less.”

Larry, Master Your Meal Plan Owner.
“I feel more confident with creating a meal with what I have on hand with the template recipes.”

Joules, Master Your Meal Plan Owner.
“Before finding this class I was frustrated by recipes. I would go to the store and by all these ingredients then end up with one thing to eat. I wanted cooking to be as easy as the green shakes I like to make: pick something that makes it creamy (banana, yogurt, etc), pick something to add bulk (apple, peach, cucumber), pick some greens (anything leafy), pick something flavorful (honey, mint, or raspberries, etc…). It’s based on stuff I already have, and always ends up good. The template recipes are just like this! Totally makes sense! I’m still not particularly good at cooking, but at least I’m actually trying now. Not having strict recipes makes it more fun.”

Nichole, Master Your Meal Plan Owner.
“I am able to cook dinners that my family truly enjoys as many nights a week as I need to without repeating the same 5 dishes over and over and without buying a bunch of groceries that ultimately go to waste because our schedule changed.”

Cherie, Master Your Meal Plan Owner.
“I am less scared about starting with ingredients first, rather than a recipe first. I can look into my cupboard or fridge and know that something will evolve from my new found experience.”

Another huge benefit of cooking without recipes is that you don’t have to worry whether you’ll like something or if it will suit your dietary requirements because you’re in control.

You never have to use ingredients you don’t like or can’t eat.

Imagine that!

So you might be thinking…

This sounds great Jules, but I just don’t have the time or money right now to invest in learning a new skill like this.

I get where you’re coming from. However, imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have to plan?

What if you could just buy ingredients (or have them delivered) and then decide what to cook.

How much time would you save if you didn’t have to plan and write shopping lists? How much time would you save if you didn’t need extra trips to the store?

Then multiply that by the weeks and months. It adds up.

Don’t you think it’s worth investing a few hours now to save yourself all that time for every week of rest of your life?

And from a financial perspective, think about how much money you currently spend on restaurants and takeout because of meal planning ‘fails’. And what about the cost of throwing out wasted ingredients?

Just something to think about…

Like Help Cooking Without Recipes and Meal Plans?

MYMP 2015 square logo

Then join me for Master Your Meal Plan. It’s an online training program that helps food lovers get delicious, healthy dinners on the table by ‘reversing’ the meal planning process and learning to cook without recipes.

To find out more use the link below:
Join Master Your Meal Plan

With love,
Jules x

ps. There’s less than 24-hours left before doors close for Master Your Meal Plan.

To make sure you don’t miss out:
Join Here

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chorizo & beans

Chorizo with White Beans recipe here

Is meal planning something you wish you didn’t have to spend time worrying about?

What if I told you there is a better way?

That inflexible, time-consuming meal planning, as you currently know it, could become a thing of your past?

I know it might seem a little ‘too good to be true’ but first a story…

I’ve recently become obsessed with Frances Mayes and her wonderful books on living in Tuscany. So I’ve been re-reading, (or rather listening to) ‘Everyday in Tuscany’ on my morning walk.

I love looking over Mayes’ shoulder as she shares what daily life is like in rural Italy.

The other day, she was talking about buying her house in Tuscany. She moved her favourite Italian cook books such as Marcella Harzan from San Francisco to Italy.

And then she said something that surprised me.

Over her 20 years of living in Italy, she realized that none of her Italian friends use cookbooks. Apart from the occasional fancy dessert recipe for a special occasion, they pretty much always just cook from the heart.

They go to the market or the ‘fruita et vedura‘ and buy what looks good. They have their pantries well stocked so they are able to get wonderful meals on the table without planning it all out in advance.

Sounds like a much better way to live, doesn’t it?

Today I’m going to share with you my 3-Step Framework for ‘reversing’ the meal planning process.

One thing I really want to stress is that this isn’t just another meal planning ‘tool’ or some software to make traditional meal planning a little bit easier.

It’s a completely different, I like to think ‘revolutionary’ approach to getting healthy meals on the table.

I also want to make it clear that it’s definitely not a ‘done-for-you’ solution.

To be honest, if you would prefer to ‘outsource’ meal planning and have someone else just tell you what to cook each week and give you a shopping list to follow, this probably isn’t the right approach for you.

However if a ‘done-for-you’ system is something that interests you, or if ‘not having to think’ sounds more your style, I recommend having a look at ‘Soupstones Meal Plans‘, which is a separate weekly meal planning service I offer.

If, however, you ARE someone who hates to be told what to do OR you’re interested in learning to cook without recipes, then you’re in the right place.

Now if you’re thinking ‘this all sounds very nice’ but I’m not sure it will work for me, I have good news!

And the good news is, it’s not as difficult as you’d think. I’ve helped hundreds of people learn to ‘reverse’ their meal plan and discover a more liberating, satisfying easy way to get food on the table.

Here’s what a two of my students have said about how their lives have changed…

“By far the most life changing class of yours I have done. Has totally changed how I work in the kitchen & my confidence towards cooking! Has freed me from my laborious meal planning on a Sunday. An unexpected result was it’s made me more intuitive towards food & in turn made me listen to what my body needs, rather than what my meal plan said.”
Nicole, Master Your Meal Plan Owner

“I already was a pretty experienced and independent cook before, but I tended to fail at the everyday, ordinary meals. I overplanned, which consumed horrible amount of time, and resulted in weekly menus, which were too complicated for my schedule and amount of work. I was too tired to cook according to plan, even when I did follow it, I usually ended up with many leftovers and ingredients that I didn’t use up.”
Clara, Master Your Meal Plan Owner

And the beauty is, you can learn to plan and cook that way too!

All you need is to follow my 3 simple steps…

3 Steps to Simplify Your Meal Planning.

STEP 1. Stop planning in advance.
Stop wasting your time and energy by ‘reversing’ the meal planning process. Instead of deciding what to cook first and then buying ingredients, we need to get you shopping first and THEN deciding what to cook.

If this seems a bit to scary, you can take baby steps. Instead of planning every single meal, or whatever you’re doing, leave a few nights free and see what happens.

STEP 2. Learn to shop for what you need.
You probably already have an idea of what you need each week for breakfasts and don’t plan them out in detail. So it’s time to extend this to dinners and lunches as well.

It may take a little bit of time to get used to this. And if it seems a bit too daunting, I have a solution…

As part of the Master Your Meal Plan online program, I’ll show you my ’2-Minute Planning Formula’ which will help you calculate exactly how much food to buy.

This will not only save you loads of time creating your detailed plan, it will make shopping more fun (!)

You won’t be following a strict list, you’ll be free to choose the seasonal produce that looks the most appealing on the day. And of course, it will allow you to make the most of any ‘special’ discounts on the spot.

Imagine yourself being able to enjoy your trip to the market, just like an Italian house wife.

STEP 3. Stop cooking from recipes.
One of the keys to getting this ‘system’ to work is to break-free from traditional recipes.

Now before you start thinking ‘there’s NO WAY I could cook without a recipe’, you don’t have to turn into a master chef overnight. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

The way I taught myself to ‘cook without recipes’ was to start thinking of recipes in general terms instead of specific ingredients.

I started by coming up with ‘template’ or blueprint recipes I could adapt depending on the ingredients I had or what I felt like cooking. It’s like taking the ‘Variations’ I include with all of my recipes to the next level.

When I want to make a quick stir fry, for example, instead of coming up with a recipe from scratch, I think back to my ‘template’ and go from there.

Next week, we’ll go much deeper into exactly how you can stop cooking from recipes, so don’t worry if it seems like something you’d never be able to master.

Before I go, I want to live in a world where eating healthy, home made food is the norm.

Just like in Tuscany. Where most people just buy ingredients and cook them, without being chained to inflexible recipes. Where cooking dinner is seen as a joy and a privilege, a chance to relax and unwind not another chore to face when you’re tired at the end of a stressful day.

MYMP 2015 square logo

If you share this vision, I’d love you to join me for Master Your Meal Plan.

Click on the link below to find out more:
http://thestonesoupshop.com/mymp17/

With love,
Jules x

ps. If you want to simplify and make your planning and cooking easier, healthier and tastier, then I’d love to become your cooking coach!

For more details go to:
http://thestonesoupshop.com/mymp17/

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chorizo & beans

Chorizo with White Beans

This is a classic Spanish combo that I’m equally happy eating for breakfast with a poached egg as I am having it for dinner on its own.

You might be surprised to see ketchup as an ingredient but it really adds a lovely hit of tomatoey sweetness that is hard to beat. Although if you prefer a sugar-free option, see the variations below.

Enough for: 2
Takes: 20 minutes

1 onion, peeled & chopped
2 chorizo (200g / 7oz)
1 can beans (400g 14oz), drained
4 tablespoons ketchup
1 bag baby spinach

1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Add onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften.

2. Add chorizo and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chorizo is well browned.

3. Add beans and ketchup and cook, stirring until everything is hot.

4. Taste. Season with salt. Serve with baby spinach on the side.

Wine Match: A spicy Tempranillo.

Variations

vegan – replace the chorizo with 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika and increase the amount of beans and ketchup.

vegetarian – replace chorizo with 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika and serve beans with 1-2 poached eggs per person, or try replacing the chorizo with sun dried tomatoes and some crumbled feta.

sugar-free – replace ketchup with 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste and 2 tablespoons butter.

different meat – feel free to replace chorizo with any spicy (or mild) sausage or chunks of bacon.

different legumes – I love butter beans or cannellini but you could use chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, or any lentil. Home cooked beans are even better, you’ll need about 250G (9oz) drained cooked legumes.

more substantial / carb lovers – double the beans and ketchup or serve with warm flat bread or tortillas. Or serve beans on hot buttered toast.

more veg – add grilled red peppers, eggplant, zucchini or cherry tomatoes.

Enjoy!
Jules x

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Beef & Carraway Meatballs with Tahini Yoghurt

Beef & Carraway Kofta (Meatballs)

One of my favourite things to eat are meatballs. And while I love a traditional Italian-style meatball, I like to mix it up with meatballs from different parts of the world like these Moroccan meatballs, these Green ones or this giant meatball / meatloaf.

My latest obsession are these Lebanese-ish ‘kofta’ (middle eastern meatballs) which were inspired by a recipe in the book ‘Honey & Co. – Food from the Middle East’ from the London based restaurant. This is my simplified version.

Carraway seeds are a really underrated spice. I’ve been using them in my sauerkraut for ages and loved their fresh flavour but hadn’t really experimented with other cooking. Until these kofta. They go really well with beef but if you’re looking for more places to use your carraway seeds they’re also lovely with cabbage in any form.

enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes

500g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
2 teaspoons carraway seeds
100g (3.5oz) tahini
100g (3.5oz) Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Combine beef and carraway seeds in a medium bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Scoop tablespoons of the beef mixture and roll into meatballs. Place meatballs in an oven proof dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.

2. Roast meatballs for about 20 minutes or until well browned and cooked through.

3. While the meatballs are cooking combine tahini and yoghurt in a medium bowl. Smash garlic (if using) and chop as finely as you can and add to the tahini yoghurt sauce.

4. To serve, spread yoghurt tahini sauce over two plates. Top with meatballs and coriander leaves.

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Variations

5-ingredients – skip the garlic.

vegetarian – add carraway seeds to these lentil balls.

no carraway seeds – just skip it or use 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon ground coriander instead.

more substantial / carb-lovers – serve with warm pita or other flat bread or tortillas. Or serve meatballs on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.

no tahini – either replace with mayo to make a yoghurt mayo sauce or just use extra yoghurt. Or use hummus instead of both the yoghurt and tahini. For more ideas to use tahini see here.

more veg – the guys from Honey & Co serve their kofta on a bed of roast veg including onion, eggplant and capsicum (bell peppers). They toss in some cooked white beans as well.

no coriander / cilantro – flat leaf parsley or mint will work. Or use baby spinach or other salad leaves. A shaved cabbage salad would also be a lovely accompaniment.

short on time – skip rolling the beef into meatballs and just brown in a pan with the carraway seeds and serve the spiced beef on top of the tahini yoghurt sauce.

Enjoy!

With love,
Jules x

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Beef & Carraway Meatballs with Tahini Yoghurt-2

Beef & Carraway Kofta recipe here

Today I have a little confession for you…

Even though I write cook books, have two food blogs and have an online cooking school, I didn’t start out being a confident cook.

And I certainly wasn’t good at meal planning…

When I first got into cooking I was in my early 20s, living in Sydney, working in my first job as a Food Scientist developing new snack products for Kellogg.

I used to spend hours pouring over magazines and cookbooks deciding what to make and compiling lengthy shopping lists.

Then I’d head off all over town. To my favourite veggie shop or the farmers market. To my butcher, the deli, sometimes to Chinatown and a stop at the supermarket for staples.

It took hours.

While I enjoyed these excursions, they weren’t without their frustrations.

There would often be one or two ingredients that were sold out or I just couldn’t find. Since I didn’t have a clue about ingredient substitution, I’d have to go to multiple stores trying to find what I was missing.

It took a lot of time.

It also cost a lot of money.

Slowly, over the years, I got better at the whole process. As my cooking confidence grew, I started knowing which ingredients I could skip or substitute. My food bills came down and my ingredient waste decreased.

The biggest game changer came when I was living in the beautiful Barossa Valley, Australia’s equivalent of Napa.

As a young wine maker, most of my waking hours were spent in the winery. I no longer had time to plan my meals in advance or much time for cooking.

The highlight of my week was the Saturday morning Barossa farmers market.

I’d grab a coffee. Then I’d wander around tasting, chatting to the farmers and buying whatever took my fancy. I wouldn’t have had time to make a list so I’d just buy what looked good.

When I got home, I’d figure out what to cook based on my market bounty.

Sometimes I’d consult my cookbooks. But often I’d just make things up. I started really cooking from the heart and cooking with the seasons.

It was incredibly liberating.

And better yet, I was able to feed myself really delicious, healthy meals that took a fraction of the time.

I came to realize that just as we can all learn to cook with a recipe, we can also learn to cook without them.

It’s easier than you think, if you have the right guidance. I’ll be going into much more detail on how you to can become someone who cooks without recipes the week after next.

But now it’s time to talk about the biggest mistake most people make when it comes to meal planning…

What is the most common meal planning mistake?

Basically, it’s following the traditional meal planning method.

You know, deciding what to cook in advance and then building your shopping list around that plan.

This approach causes problems for many reasons:

1. Time
First, it takes a lot of time to plan in advance. Trawling through recipes and writing detailed shopping lists.

2. Lack of Freedom
Having a set list means you aren’t free to choose what looks best (or cheapest!) when you’re shopping.

3. Lack of Flexibility
They also lack the flexibility to cope with the changes that naturally come up with modern life.

How do you avoid this mistake?

You just need to learn how to ‘reverse’ the process.

It may sound scary, but in practice it’s a liberating approach to meal planning. And it’s actually much quicker and easier than traditional meal plans.

I’ll be sharing you my Easy 3-Step Framework for avoiding this meal planning mistake next week. It’s all about how you can learn to shop first and then cook based on the ingredients you have in the house.

What it would be like if you didn’t have to plan ahead?

How would it impact your time? Your health? Your waistline? Your energy levels?

Imagine coming home after a long day and cooking dinners you truly enjoy without repeating the same dishes over and over.

Imagine not buying a bunch of ingredients that ultimately go to waste because your schedule changed.

Imagine revolutionizing how you cook and growing your kitchen confidence!

If you’re an experienced cook, imagine avoiding the trap of taking on weeknight meals which are too complicated for your schedule and energy levels at the end of a long day.

Imagine being able to listen to what your body needs, rather than what your meal plan says.

Imagine not following recipes to a ‘T’ anymore – being able to substitute ingredients based on what you have.

Imagine wasting far less food.

Imagine being able to look in fridge and pull together a healthy meal with ease.

Sound too good to be true?

This isn’t a crazy dream.

Next week I’ll show you how to turn these dreams into reality. I’m going to give you a clear, 3-step framework to help you stop making the biggest meal planning mistake and reverse your meal plan.

Stay tuned!

Before I go I’d like to share my vision with you…

I want to live in a world where eating healthy, home made food is the norm. Where most people are able to just walk into the kitchen and throw something delicious together.

Where cooking dinner is seen as a joy and a privilege not another chore at the end of a stressful day.

With love,
Jules x

ps. I’d love to hear from you!

How would your life change if you were able to reverse YOUR meal plan? Let me know in the comments below.

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lemon tahini sauce

A few weeks back, I was talking with the group I’m coaching and the topic turned to sauce.

Specifically, how a good sauce can really make all the difference to your cooking.

In fact, I’d be willing to go as so far as to say that after learning to season properly, having a few super tasty sauces in your repertoire is the easiest way to take you cooking from ‘OK’ to ‘ah-maz-ing’.

I’m serious.

So today I’m going to share my 10 favourite ‘secret weapon’ sauces that really make a difference to my cooking.

Enjoy!

10 ‘Secret Weapon’ Sauces to Lift Your Cooking Game

1. Roast Cauliflower Hummus
There are few things more versatile, delicious or healthy than this Middle Eastern-inspired sauce. I’m currently in love with this Roast Cauliflower adaptation but if you’re a purist you can’t go wrong with a good classic chickpea based hummus which is quicker and easier to make.

2. Home Made Mayonnaise
After mastering the art of making mayonnaise in the food processor, without it splitting, mayo consumption has definitely increased in my house. I use it on an almost daily basis with poached eggs, to add substance to a lunch time salad or as a sauce for meat or fish. Dangerously addictive.

3. Cashew Nut Sauce
Inspired by the Turkish sauce, ‘tarator’. Similar to hummus but a little more complex with the lovely nutty flavour. Traditionally served with fish but lovely anywhere you need a creamy, nutty sauce with a bit of a kick. I often make it with other nuts as well. If I’m feeling flush I’ll use pine nuts but it’s also wonderful with roasted hazelnuts or almonds.

4. Marco’s Chilli Oil
I pretty much always have a bottle of chilli oil in the pantry. Great for adding instant heat to dishes in need of a little help, or when you’ve purposely left the chilli out to please tiny-people taste buds. It’s also a wonderful sauce in its own right to serve with chicken, pan fried halloumi, drizzled over soups or even a simple pasta with fresh rocket (arugula). My Irishman love it with his morning eggs and avocado.

5. Tahini Yoghurt Sauce.
If I don’t have time to make hummus or roast cauliflower hummus mentioned above, then I whip up a bowl of this dream. Basically just combine equal parts Greek or home made yoghurt with tahini. Season with salt and a splash of lemon. Sometimes I add finely smashed garlic but if I’m really short on time, I don’t bother. Use it any where you’d normally use hummus. Especially good as a sauce for fish.

I’m also currently in love with this slightly more complex Tahini Miso Turmeric sauce but it requires blending so I only make a batch when I have more time.

6. Yoghurt Sauce
When I’m really pushed for time, this sauce is a savour. Basically take some good quality full fat yoghurt or Greek yoghurt and season generously with salt and pepper. And your sauce is ready. If you want to fancy it up you can stir in chopped herbs, grated cucumber or zucchini or a little garlic.

But really the ‘plain Jane’ version is always a winner. If I’m in the mood for something a little richer I mix equal parts yoghurt and mayonnaise. So good!

7. Sicilian Nut Pesto
A wonderful dairy-free pesto that’s my go-to when I’m lucky enough to have masses of fresh basil in the garden. Every year before the first frosts I make a gigantic batch of this pesto and freeze it in ziplock bags to dip into during the dark Winter months. Wonderful drizzled on soups, tossed through roast veg or cooked pasta (or both), to make green eggs or slathered on some Broccoli Bread Toast.

8. Ginger Spring Onion Sauce
A Chinese classic that’s fabulous with chicken. I had forgotten about this punchy fresh sauce until I was doing some research for this post. Thank heavens I have a blog to remind me of my past favourites!

9. Beetroot ‘Pesto’
I just LOVE this sauce especially in the Winter when fresh basil is hard to come by but beets are abundant. Although if you’re a purist about these matters, you’d best skip on to the next sauce. Basically the idea is to replace the fresh basil leaves in pesto with cooked beetroot. Just heavenly. Would win the award for the ‘prettiest sauce’.

10. Miso Harissa Ketchup
A combination of classic ingredients from two very different cuisines – Japanese and Moroccan. Normally I’m not a fan of ‘fusion’ cooking but I make an exception for this richly complex sauce. Since being Low Carb this Miso Harissa Ketchup is now my go-to when I want a healthier (and way more tasty!) take on ketchup. It’s also amazing toss on roast veggies, especially roast cauliflower.

What about you?

Are you a sauce convert? Say YES or NO in the comments below…

With love,
Jules x

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Can’t see the quick poll? Click here.

Thank you!
Jules

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Tahini Miso Turmeric Sauce-3

This morning when Fergal and I were putting away the groceries and there were 3 jars of tahini he said I was a ‘tahini monster’.

He has a point. I do love tahini. After mayonnaise, tahini based sauces are my next go-to.

So when I spotted the ‘TMT sauce’ in Sarah Wilson’s book ‘Simplicious’. I had to make my own. It’s really good. There’s the creamy nuttiness from the tahini, the salty / savoury umami complexity from the miso and the fresh vaguely ‘curry’ flavour from the turmeric.

And it’s super versatile!

I’ve mainly used it on veggies like the raw kale pictured above and it’s amazing with my Super Tender Broccoli or with Poached Eggs. I also imagine it would be lovely with chicken fish, or even a juicy steak. It really is that versatile.

Tahini and miso paste are easily found in most supermarkets in Australia. But if they’re new ingredients to you, they’re both worth tracking down (although if I had to choose between them I use tahini more than miso).

They both keep for ages in the pantry.

More ideas for Miso Paste

Here are 7 Delicious Ways to Use Miso Paste.

More Ideas for Tahini

Most people start using this sesame seed paste to make Hummus. But it’s also really lovely in my Roast Cauliflower Hummus if you prefer a Lower Carb option. I also love it in this salad dressing, as a sauce for salmon, drizzled over stuffed sweet potatoes, in a stir fry, to jazz up good old ‘avo on toast‘ and in this heavenly Tahini Yoghurt Sauce.

What about you?

Are you a miso and / or tahini fan? Are they easy to find in your neck of the woods? Let me know in the comments below.
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Tahini Miso Turmeric Sauce

Tahini Miso Turmeric Sauce

If you like tahini, I can’t recommend this sauce enough. If something were to happen and I couldn’t eat mayo again, this would be my new go-to condiment. Like I said above, it’s really versatile, you won’t have any problems finding uses for it!

makes more than 1 cup
takes 10 minutes

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons miso paste
1cm chunk fresh Turmeric or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)

1. Place tahini, water, miso and turmeric (if using) in a bottle or blender. Using a stick blender or your regular blender / food processor puree until smooth. You can mix by hand but it’s hard to get the miso completely emulsified so your sauce will be a little lumpy.

2. Taste and season if needed, although I find the miso provides enough salt. Keeps in the fridge for weeks. Will thicken a little over time and if you’re using fresh turmeric the colour will intensify over time too.

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Variations

no miso – replace with soy sauce and decrease the water slightly so the sauce isn’t too runny. This soy version is pretty good but given the choice I’ll take miso every time.

garlicky – feel free to add 1-3 cloves garlic. I prefer it without but that’s just me.

no tahini – try blending the miso and turmeic into your favourite mayonnaise instead. Use 1 cup mayo to replace the tahini and water.

lemony – you could add a little lemon juice but I find the turmeric adds enough freshness without needing the extra acid.

Enjoy!

With love,
Jules xoxo

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Amazing Orange & Almond Birthday Cake_-3

Is it just me, or have you ever had the feeling you’re being stalked? By a cake?

At the risk of sounding a little ‘cray cray’, I’m going to put it out there and say this cake has been following me.

First at a friend’s dinner party in the form of little individual cakes with poached oranges on top. And then just a few days later it turned up at our Tuesday morning playgroup.

I’m not suspicious but I do take coincidences seriously. Especially coincidences involving cake.

And since I’ve been getting really lovely oranges from the farmers market this Winter, I figured the universe was telling me to make an Orange & Almond Cake for my Birthday treat this year.

If you’re new to Stonesoup, I have a tradition to share a special Birthday Cake recipe.

So to celebrate my birthday on Friday…

The Birthday Cake!

This year it’s my ‘stalker’ Orange and Almond Cake which is an adaptation of Claudia Rodens classic gluten-free cake using boiled oranges to add flavour and keep everything lovely and moist. It’s a really beautiful cake.

If you’d like more Birthday Cake inspiration here are some from recent years:

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Amazing Orange & Almond Birthday Cake_-2

Amazing Orange & Almond Birthday Cake

I love love love this cake. It’s fresh and zesty from the orange and super super moist. That being said, my small boys weren’t into it at all. I think they can sense when there isn’t any sugar.

It did feel a little blasphemous messing around with Claudia Roden’s classic recipe. But a diabetic girl has to do what she has to do. And so I experimented until I finally found a sugar-free / stevia based cake I was happy with.

The secret was to add butter, of course (shouldn’t I know by now that the secret is always to add butter). But if you’re not into stevia, you don’t need to miss out. Just skip down to the ‘real sugar variation’ Claudia has you covered.

enough for 8
takes 3 hours

2 oranges (450g / 1lb)
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 eggs
250g (9oz) almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pure stevia powder

1. Place whole oranges in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and simmer, covered for 90 minutes. Drain and cool a little.

2. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line a round 24cm (9in) spring form pan.

3. Chop oranges in half and remove any seeds. Puree oranges in your food processor, until you have a nice smooth paste. Chop butter and add to the food processor. Puree until well combined.

4. Add eggs and puree again until smooth. Add almond meal, baking powder and stevia and stir until just combined.

5. Scoop mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spoon.

6. Bake on the middle shelf for 30-40 minutes or until cake feels slightly springy and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

7. Cool in the tin.

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Variations

real sugar / no stevia – replace butter with 250g (9oz) caster sugar and skip the stevia. May take much longer to bake (Claudia’s recipe is for an hour).

no food processor – you might get away with a stick blender but you really need something to puree the oranges.

oranges with seeds – make sure you remove before and discard before pureeing.

large oranges – if your oranges weigh more than 450g (1lb), weigh your puree and discard any excess.

different citrus – can imagine blood oranges would be lovely. And will have to try it with cumquats next time the fruit on my tree is ripe.

nut-free – you should be able to use flour instead of the almond meal, you might want to replace it with some flour and some extra butter to make sure the cake doesn’t dry out. And test for doneness earlier than expected.

egg-free – unless your an experienced egg-substituter, I wouldn’t try it with this cake.

With lots of Birthday love,
Jules
xoxo

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Yummy Spiced Tomato Soup-3

The first time I made this soup I got the shock of my life.

Finbar, my 18-month-old and staunch carb-lover actually let out a long appreciative ‘yuuummm’ from his side of the dining table after his first mouth full.

I had served soup for the boys before adding the harissa, on the off chance they would eat it. Fergal, my 4-year-old kept true to form and proclaimed it to be ‘yucky’.

Regardless of the mixed reactions with my family members, this is one of my favourite soups at the moment. I just love the creamy richness from the coconut cream and the spice from the harissa.

As my Irishman said – ‘It reminds me of butter chicken curry in soup form’.

Yummy Spiced Tomato Soup-2

Yuuummy Spiced Tomato Soup

The best part is that this simple soup is made with ingredients that keep in your pantry for months (if not years) so it’s a great little recipe to have in your ’emergency meal’ arsenal.

enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes

2 onions
1 jar tomato passata / tomato puree (700mL / 3 cups)
1 can coconut cream
2 tablespoons harissa (optional)
2 handfuls hazelnuts, roasted

1. Heat a little oil in a medium saucepan. Dice onion and add to the pot. Cover and cook on a medium heat, stirring every few minutes until the onion is soft but not browned. About 10 minutes.

2. When the onion is soft, add the passata / puree (not concentrated tomato paste) and coconut cream. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.

3. Remove from the heat and puree using a stick blender or regular blender. Add harissa. Taste and season with salt, pepper and more harissa if needed.

4. To serve, divide between two bowls and top with roasted hazelnuts.

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Variations

no harissa – Harissa is a Moroccan spice paste that’s pretty much chilli and carraway seeds. I usually buy mine from my supermaket but most good delis will stock it too. Feel free to skip it (the little ones will be happy) or use fresh chopped chilli, Marco’s Chilli Oil or your favourite hot sauce instead.

curry spice – add 2-3 teaspoons curry powder or garam masala when the onion is soft and skip the harissa.

no coconut cream – replace with unsweetened coconut milk and add some more hazelnuts to make it more substantial. Or use whipping cream instead.

different tomato – You could use your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce instead. Or use 2 cans tomatoes (diced) and simmer for longer to reduce down before pureeing.

chunky – skip the pureeing.

more veg – add diced carrot and celery with the onion.

short on time – skip the onion (or add a teaspoon onion powder).

more substantial / carb lovers – add in cooked chickpeas, white beans or black beans. Or serve with warm flat bread or tortillas. Cooked noodles would also work.

small-person friendly – skip the harissa (or add after you’ve served the children) and serve with a side or plain buttered pasta for any skeptical 4-year-olds.

carnivore – simmer diced chicken in the soup after pureeing until just cooked through.

nut-free – replace hazelnuts with warm cooked chickpeas or croutons. Or drizzle some chilli oil on top.

With love,
Jules
xoxo

ps. Have any tasty one pot recipes you’re loving at the moment?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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Soy & Honey Tofu with Sweet Potato Noodles
Honey & Soy Tofu with Sweet Potato ‘Noodles’ recipe HERE.

If anyone were to ask me what’s my biggest struggle with food and cooking at the moment, I have a very clear answer.

Getting small boys to eat vegetables.

And while we’re very much still on a journey, there’s one piece of advice my friend Elizabeth shared that’s really helped take the stress out of family meal times.

Here it is in a nutshell…

How to Get Your Kid to Eat

As a parent it’s our job to put age appropriate food on the table at appropriate times.

As a child it’s their job to decide what they eat. And how much.

Since embracing this philosophy, it’s made meal times soo much easier.

I no longer feel responsible for getting the boys to eat anything. I can’t tell you how this simple change in mindset takes the pressure off all of us.

Sure there are some days where I worry that they’re going to starve. Or get seriously malnourished.

But so far, so good.

If you’d like to go deeper with this, I recommend checking out the book ‘How to Get Your Kid to Eat (but not too much)‘ by Ellyn Sutter. It covers different ages and stages but the essential philosophy is the same as what I’ve shared here. So don’t feel like you need to read the book to try it out.

What about you?

Are family meal times less than ideal in your house? Or are you going to make me jealous with your little broccoli lover? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

With love,
Jules x

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Soy & Honey Tofu with Sweet Potato Noodles-2

Honey & Soy Tofu with Sweet Potato ‘Noodles’

Sweet potato is one of the few vegetables (side from potatoes) that my boys love. Needless to say, I’m always trying to come up with new ways to use the sweet spud.

While chopping into chip shapes and roasting in coconut oil is my go-to move, these spiralized ‘noodles’ are a close second. They do take a little more active time to prepare, but I’ve found little fingers love getting the spiralizer out. And they only take 10 minutes in the oven so they’re pretty quick.

I was surprised how much they both love tofu. It’s a great staple to have in the fridge for when you need some last minute protein. My favourite ways to use tofu are in an easy tofu scramble, as a tasty ragu, these tofu ‘steaks’ or pan fried and given a flavour boost with some honey and soy like in the recipe below.

Make sure you buy firm tofu (rather than silken) and organic so there’s less likelihood of the soy being genetically modified.

enough for: 2-3 children
takes: 20 minutes

1 medium sweet potato
1/2 pack firm tofu (about 175g / 6oz)
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small bunch coriander (cilantro)

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Scrub sweet potato and spiralize into medium ‘noodles’.

2. Place noodles on an oven proof baking tray. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Bake for 10 minutes or until ‘noodles’ are tender and cooked through.

3. Meanwhile slice tofu into 3 bricks about 1cm (1/3in) thick. Pan fry on a medium high heat with a little oil until golden brown on both sides.

4. Mix honey and soy sauce in a medium bowl. When the tofu is cooked, chop into bite sized chunks and toss in the honey and soy sauce.

5. To serve, divide warm sweet potato between 2-3 bowls. Top with tofu and sauce and coriander leaves (if using).

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Variations

extra crunch – serve with roast cashews or sesame seeds.

green-free – skip the coriander or replace with cashews or sesame seeds.

soy-free – replace with chicken thigh or breast fillets and adjust cooking time as needed.

carb-lovers – toss in cooked noodles or spaghetti with the sweet potato. Or serve everything with steamed rice.

low carb – replace sweet potato with 2 medium zucchini. And consider the chicken instead of the tofu. For more low carb ideas, see my other website Deliciously Diabetic. If you’re keeping things super low carb use a pinch of stevia instead of the honey.

no spiralizer – chop the sweet potato into shoestring fingers and increase the cooking time until they are tender (about 20 minutes depending on your knife skills). If you’re thinking about investing in a spiralizer, you might enjoy this article: Do You Need A Spiralizer?

other veg – carrots are also good.

sweeter – feel free to increase the honey.

gluten-free – use tamari or other gluten-free soy sauce.

different sauces – oyster or hoisin sauce can be used instead of the honey and soy.

more grown-up – toss in a little grated ginger and/or finely chopped garlic with the soy. And chopped green onions add lovely colour to the noodles. A few finely chopped red chillies wouldn’t go astray either. Or serve with Marco’s Chilli Oil.

Enjoy!

With love,
Jules x

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Roast Onions-2

When someone subscribes to the weekly Stonesoup email newsletter, I ask a couple of questions so I can get to know my new readers better.

One of them is how they discovered my blog. Every now and then I get an email saying they were looking for soup recipes and that for a blog called StoneSOUP, there weren’t as many soups as they would expect.

I take my reader feedback very seriously. So this year I’ve been on a mission to make more soup.

My plan is pretty simple. Monday night has become ‘soup night’.

It’s been brilliant for many reasons. Of course I’ve been making loads more soup. But it’s also made meal planning easier. Now I love Mondays!

But before we get into this week’s soup recipe (which is a total winner), I have a quick favour to ask.

I’m toying with the idea of making some changes to the focus of Stonesoup but before I do anything rash, I’d love to get your input.

So I’ve created a quick survey.

To share your thoughts go to:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCJGSTJ

It would mean so much to me to get your input to guide the direction of Stonesoup.

With love and thanks!
Jules
xoxo

ps. If you need more reasons to start upping your own soup intake, you might enjoy 7 Surprising Reasons to Eat More Soup.

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No-Cry Roast Onion Soup-2

No-Cry Roast Onion Soup

I did toy with the idea of calling this soup ‘Aussie Onion Soup’, as opposed to the French variety. But the idea of roasting the onions first so you’re avoiding all the pain and tears involved in slicing your onions is just too brilliant (if I do say so myself) not to allude to it in the title.

Beef stock is traditionally used with French onion soup but I prefer the milder flavour of a chicken stock here. Of course vegetarians are welcome to use vegetable stock.

enough for: 2
takes about 60 minutes

4 red onions
1/2 cup white wine OR 1-2 tablespoons sherry or wine vinegar
3 cups stock
grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Cut the onions in half lengthwise. Remove any papery skins that are easy to discard but don’t worry about peeling.

2. Place onions cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle generously with oil and roast until well browned and soft – about 45 minutes.

3. When the onions are soft allow to cool for a few minutes before slipping them out of their skins. Slice cooked onion and place in a medium saucepan.

4. Add wine or vinegar and simmer for a few minutes before adding the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

5. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve in deep bowls with parmesan grated over.

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Variations

different onions – use whatever onions you like. I prefer red for their sweeter flavour and because they look so pretty.

short on time – peel and slice onions and cook on the stove top with lots of butter or oil on a medium heat until soft. Then proceed as per the recipe.

herby – some thyme or rosemary can be lovely.

hot! – serve with a good drizzle of Marco’s Chilli Oil. OR add some chopped red chilli with the stock.

carb-lovers – toss in some cooked pasta, croutons or cooked beans or lentils.

more traditional – melt some cheese on slices of sourdough toast and float these on top before serving.

more veg – feel free to wilt in some greens jsut before serving. Fine ribbons of kale are lovely as is baby spinach.

dairy-free – replace parmesan with grated brazil nuts or roast pine nuts.

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Avo on Toast with Smashed Olives & Tahini-3

Do you ever feel confused by nutrition? I know.

Even though I’ve studied nutrition at university as part of my Food Science degree, I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed. When I read the latest study comparing different diets it can be a bit much. Low fat, paleo, vegetarian, LCHF, plant based, low carb?!

What’s a girl to eat?

When I start to feel that overwhelm I come back to some simple principles to guide my eating:

  • Eat real food (adapted from Michael Pollan)
  • Eat lots of veggies (adapted from Michael Pollan)
  • Watch the carbs (not adapted from Michael Pollan!)
  • Experiment with what works for you.

Since being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and then Type 2, I’ve found that for me, eating Low Carb with a generous dose of healthy fat works best.

Of course that may not be what works for you! We truly are all different and it’s so important to find the approach that is best for your situation.

3 Reasons I LOVE Eating Low Carb

1. Low Carb is Delicious!
As a huge huge food lover, there is no way I could stick to a Low Carb lifestyle if it didn’t taste amazing. The pleasure of food is a non-negotiable in my world.

Luckily I’ve discovered that it’s super easy to really enjoy Low Carb food, especially when you include all the delicious, flavour-carrying fats. I never feel deprived.

2. Low Carb Keeps My Blood Sugar Stable
I still test my fasting blood sugar every morning and it’s easy to tell when I’ve let the carbs creep in (hello whole bottle of Proscecco!). But a day of Low Carb eating easily puts the old glucose back on track.

3. Low Carb Helps Manage my Weight.
Apart from the year I spent backpacking around the world and living on beer and bread, I’ve never been really overweight. But I have always struggled with a bulge around my waistline.

When I started eating Low Carb and my body shape stopped being a constant struggle. Maintaining a healthy weight became so much easier.

I really noticed this with my pregnancies. For my first I wasn’t diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and I gained 20kg (40lb). With my second I really focused on eating Low Carb and monitoring my blood sugar after every meal and guess what? I only gained 15kg (30lb) even though I was exercising less.

Are you looking for EASY Low Carb recipes?

DD Free eCookbook 3D cover

Then check out my NEW website, Deliciously Diabetic!

Make sure you don’t miss the FREE eCookbook with 24 EASY Low Carb recipes!

Grab your FREE copy at:
https://www.deliciously-diabetic.com/

Enjoy!
Jules xoxo
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Avo on Toast with Smashed Olives & Tahini

Avo on Toast with Smashed Olives & Tahini

We Australians love to abbreviate everything. In case you’re wondering ‘avo’ is actually avocado. While there aren’t many things I miss being Low Carb, ‘Avo on Toast’ was one of them. So happy to have found a Low Carb bread that means I can enjoy my avocado AND keep my blood sugar happy. Of course you’re welcome to use whatever bread you prefer.

You don’t really need a recipe for this idea but the contrast of the salty piquant olives with the creamy avo and tahini really takes this to the next level!

enough for: 2
takes: 10 minutes

1 slice broccoli bread
1 small avocado or 1/2 large
squeeze lime
4-5 kalamata olives, smashed
2 tablespoons tahini

1. Toast your bread.

2. Halve avocado and scoop flesh onto the toast. Smash roughly with a fork to cover the surface. Sprinkle generously with black pepper and some sea salt flakes (remembering your olives will add salt too).

3. Squeeze over lime. Smash olives with the side of your knife and remove stones. Scatter smashed olives over the avo and drizzle over tahini.

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Variations

more simple – just use avocado and lime with lashings of black pepper.

no tahini – just skip it or try sprinkling with dukkah, roast pine nuts or sesame seeds instead.

carb-lovers – use your favourite bread. True carb lovers might like to spread their toppings over 2 slices!

another fave avo on toast topping – sprinkle with Shicimi Togarashi.

no avo – replace with regular hummus or my Low Carb Roast Cauliflower Hummus and skip the tahini.

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Dukkah

Do you go through phases with your cooking? Are there dishes you make all the time until you move on to the next shiny (I mean delicious) new thing?

I’m totally guilty too.

While I like (and it’s my job!) to keep coming up with new ideas, sometimes there’s a downside to always exploring new flavour sensations.

Sometimes I forget about things I really love to eat.

Which has pretty much been the story of me and dukkah for the past 4 years.

Luckily, this story has a happy ending in that we were reunited a few months ago. And now I can’t get enough!

What is Dukkah?

Dukkah is originally an Egyptian blend of spices, seeds and nuts that is served with olive oil and bread for dipping.

But it’s so much more than just a dip! Dukkah adds lovely crunch and a flavour explosion where ever you use it. And it keeps in the pantry for months!

10 Tasty Things to do with Dukkah

1. With Eggs
My most frequent use for dukkah is to sprinkle on my poached eggs (see below for my current obsession). But it’s also awesome on scrambled or fried. The spices and crunchiness makes a heavenly contrast to rich creamy yolks.

2. With Soft Cheese
Dukkah is amazing with all soft cheese especially a creamy fresh goats cheese, labneh or ricotta. It’s also good with feta but you need to watch you don’t get too much salt from the dukkah and feta combo.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can roll cubes or scoops of the cheese in a dukkah crust.

3. With Yoghurt
When I snack, I love to reach for some home made natural yoghurt. If there’s dukkah in the house I love to sprinkle some on top to take it to the next level.

4. On Salads
Just sprinkle on before serving so you get maximum crunch. The sesame seeds and hazelnuts in the dukkah are a quick way to make your salad more substantial and filling.

5. On Soups
Especially good to add flavour and texture to creamy vegetable soups like my:

6. On Vegetables
Where do I begin! So many ideas! Here are some fave vegetable recipes that would benefit from some Dukkah treatment:

7. As a Crust for Poultry, Meat or Fish
This isn’t something I do often because I worry about burning the nuts. But if you’re up for a technical challenge, you’ll be rewarded with succulent meat / fish and a flavour-packed crunchy crust.

8. On Cooked Poultry, Meat or Fish
Dukkah works with most protein. I especially like to sprinkle it on post-cooking. Will liven up good old halloumi or tofu too!

9. On Avocado
If you’re looking for a way to jazz up your avo on toast, you definitely need to make some dukkah! Avocado and dukkah are friends wherever they find themselves though, so don’t feel like you need to be a toast eater to enjoy the experience. If you’d like to try a Low Carb Avo & Dukkah on Toast I highly recommend my Broccoli Bread.

10. With Fruit
This one takes a little more finesse to get right, so only use a little bit (you can always add more!). I like the earthy cumin and citrussy coriander to enhance the flavours of more subtle fruit like cooked apples, quince or pears. But can imagine it working with strawberries or blueberries as well.

As you can see, I pretty much use my dukkah everywhere. Well, at least anywhere I’d normally add black pepper.

Which reminds me, I need to make more dukkah!

With love,
Jules x

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Poached Eggs with Mushrooms & Dukkah

Buttery Mushrooms with Poached Eggs & Dukkah

This breakfast / lunch / dinner is all about some of my favourite things. Poached eggs! Buttery, garlicky mushrooms! Crunchy nutty, dukkah! And some leaves for greeness. It’s soo soo good.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to make the dukkah, see the ‘no dukkah’ variations below. I’ve just used large button mushrooms in the photo but pretty much any mushroom will work cooked this way.

enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes

4 tablespoons butter
500g (1lb) mushrooms, sliced if large
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 poached eggs
6-8 tablespoons dukkah (recipe below)
salad leaves to serve

1. Heat a large frying pan on a medium high heat. Add butter and allow to melt and coat the bottom of the pan before adding the mushies and garlic. Cook, stirring every few minutes until the mushrooms are well browned and tender. If the butter starts to burn, turn the heat down.

2. Taste and season mushrooms with salt, remembering the dukkah is going to add some salt too.

3. Divide mushies between two plates. Top with poached eggs. Sprinkle dukkah over and pop the salad leaves on the side.

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Variations

no dukkah – you really need to sort that out! But in the mean time, the eggs and mushies are amazing with a dollop of home made mayonnaise or just sprinkle over some roasted nuts or seeds to give you that extra flavour and crunch.

carb lovers – pile everything on hot buttered sourdough toast. Or serve with warm flat bread.

different veg – pretty much any roast or pan fried veg will work with the egg and dukkah treatment. I especially love roast broccoli, cauliflower or brussels sprouts.

egg-free – replace poached eggs with some soft cheese. And add a handful roast hazelnuts or almonds for extra substance.

Dukkah

Dukkah

Dukkah is originally an Egyptian blend of spices and nuts that is served with olive oil and bread for dipping. It’s an excellent starter because it can be easily made well in advance. But as you can see from my list above, there are so many more ways to use this flavour and texture explosion! Trust me, you won’t have any problems using it up. The dukkah will keep for a few months in an airtight container in the pantry.

makes: about 2 cups
takes: 15 minutes

300g (10oz) roasted & peeled hazelnuts
100g (3oz) sesame seeds
60g (2oz) ground coriander
60g (2oz) ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1. In a food processor, blend nuts until you have a chunky meal. Or coarsely chop by hand.

2. Stir in sesame seeds, coriander, cumin & salt. Taste and season with extra salt if needed.

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Variations

to roast the hazelnuts – I usually cheat and buy pre-roasted and peeled because peeling hazelnuts is a pain! Sometimes I pop them in the oven for 5 minutes (200C / 400F) to freshen up before making my dukkah. To roast from scratch pop on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden brown and tasty. It’s usually somewhere around the 12 minute mark but may take 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Make sure you set your timer because there’s nothing worse than wasting burnt nuts.

nut free dukkah – replace hazelnuts with a mix of seeds such as sunflower, lindeeds (flax) and pepitas.

different nuts – replace the hazelnuts with roasted almonds, macadamias or cashews or a mixture of your fave nuts.

budget – replace some or all of the hazelnuts with fine bread crumbs.

With love,
Jules
xoxo
www.thestonesoup.com

PS. Want to win a copy of my print book ‘5-Ingredients 10-Minutes?

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I really want to hear from you!
What do you like about Stonesoup? Do you have any ideas to make it better? What would you like to see more of?
Let me know in the comments below.

The winner for this month is Daryle in VT.

A new winner will be chosen early Sept.

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