You know that guilty feeling you get when you uncover an ingredient that’s on its last legs?

Well a few weeks ago I had a case of it. Big time.

The ingredient in question was a bunch of bok choy (why is it always a vegetable?).

For almost a week, every time I’d see it lurking in the crisper drawer, I’d think ‘Man, I really need to use that bok choy’.

And promptly forget about it.

Then one day I noticed the outer leaves were starting to turn yellow. Which made me feel guilty enough to take my sorry-looking bok choy out of the fridge.

With dinner already organized, I couldn’t think of a way to use the bok choy then. So I decided to ‘prep it’ so my future self would be able to find it a home before the yellow took over…

It only took a few minutes to wash, discard the incriminating yellowish leaves and finely chop the rest. But the best part? I instantly felt better.

Then I popped my prepped bok choy in the most visible place in the fridge. Done.

And you know what?

The next day I used my bok choy with some canned tuna in a quick salad for lunch. It was delicious, fresh and crunchy. A happy end to the story.

So what is the secret to using that ingredient you’ve been procrastinating about?

There are two basic steps…

1. Prep your ingredient
This can be as simple as washing and chopping a bunch of bok choy. Or more complicated like soaking and cooking a pot of beans. The key is to get your ingredient to a state where it’s ready to be used with minimal effort.

Chefs call this ‘mise en place’. It’s critical for enabling a restaurant to get your meal on the table ASAP.

Of course, this chef ‘trick’ is something that we home cooks can really benefit from as well. Especially when we come home from a long hard day and need to get something delicious and nutritious on the table right when we have no energy left.

2. Make it visible
You can’t ‘decide’ to use an ingredient if you’re not thinking about it. And if you’re anything like me, your probably not going to remember its there unless it’s staring you in the face.

It’s a simple idea but I can’t tell you how much it’s helped me avoid waste!

Now I Have a Favour

I’m going to be going much deeper into all my favourite ways of prepping ingredients so they’re easy to use in my upcoming online cooking class, ‘The Organized Cook’. But before I release the program I want to make sure I have everything covered.

I’d really love to get your input so I’ve created a super quick survey below. It will only take a minute or so and I’d really appreciate your help!

____________

Rainbow Veg

Rainbow Veg

This is really more of an idea than an actual recipe. The possibilities are endless not only for the types of veg you use but how you incorporate them into your cooking. This is without a doubt the number one habit I’ve developed which has helped me eat more veg across all my meals, especially breakfast and lunch.

enough for: 2
takes: 10 minutes

1 carrot, peeled
1 beetroot, scrubbed and peeled
1/4 cauliflower

1. Grate veg using your food processor or a box grater. Toss together. 

2. Use as per one of the suggestions below or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Usage Suggestions

breakfast – serve with poached egg or two and a good dollop of homemade mayo (one of my all time favourite breakkies).

side salad – toss in a little lemon juice and olive oil and season generously. Lovely with BBQ or pan fried fish or chicken.

quick n’ easy lunch – toss in a drained can of tuna, salmon or sardines and serve with lashings of lemon juice.

another lunch salad – make a quick dressing of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts olive oil. Toss in the grated veg and crumble over some marinated or regular feta. Finish with toasted almonds, hazelnuts or pine nuts.

rice / couscous alternative – serve grated raw veg as an alternative to steamed rice or couscous. I just serve my hot curry or Tajine on a bed of the cold raw veg and enjoy the temperature and textural contrast.

Variations

different veg – also good with broccoli but for some reason grated broccoli goes slimy after a couple of days so I only make enough to eat in the next 24hours if I’m using broc. Zucchini or other summer squash are brilliant as is fennel. 

don’t grate – asparagus unless you want asparagus soup!

hand chopped veg – great with capsicum (bell peppers), snow peas, sugarsnap peas, green beans, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, asparagus.

herby – toss in fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, mint or coriander (cilantro).

Big love,
Jules x

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ps. Wanna win a free spot in ‘The Organized Cook’ online program?
To enter just complete the survey above. And don’t forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you’re the lucky winner!

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A few months ago I was really excited about discovering frozen edamame (soy beans) in my local supermarket. So I wrote a blog post about my new love.

As you do.

What really surprised me was the amount of people leaving comments and emails warning that edamame were soy beans which are GM. Something I hadn’t even thought of.

Anyway after doing some investigation, (aka reading the label!) I realised my edamame were from China. So probably were GM. So I decided to stop buying them and made a mental note to write a followup blog post about my thoughts on genetic modification of food…

So here we are!

My Experience with GM Foods

Back when I was studying Food Science in the 90s, ‘Biotechnology’ was a relatively new field. I found it fascinating and elected to take a subject on Food Biotechnology in my final year of university.

So what did I learn?

Firstly that there’s potential for genetic modification to be helpful.

For example, enabling bacteria to produce the ‘rennet’ required for some cheese making rather than getting it from the traditional source of calves stomachs.

But there was also a lot of potential for harm.

To my mind there are 3 main aspects to this…

1. The Testing.
When we go inserting genetic material from one species into another, we’re doing something that cannot happen in nature. The effects can be difficult to predict.

So rigorous testing is really critical to ensuring no unwanted side effects. Which is relatively easy in a tank of bacteria but more difficult when we’re talking about releasing or even trialling GM crops out in nature.

2. The Politics.
The best way to explain this is with an example. Lets look at the humble soy bean.

The genetic manipulation with soy was to make soybeans resistant to a particular herbicide, namely Round-Up.

The ‘benefit’ here is that weeds can easily be controlled in a soy crop by spraying with said herbicide.

Then farmers have to buy their seeds from the same company that sells them the Round-Up.

And they can’t ‘save’ the seeds to use for next years crop. They must buy fresh seeds (and herbicide) every year from the one company and no one else. Sounds like a brilliant marketing strategy to me.

3. Biodiversity.
If everyone is growing genetically identical crops, regardless of whether they’re genetically modified or not, all our proverbial eggs are in the one basket.

Seems a risky move to me.

So Am I Afraid of GM Foods?

Afraid? No. Wary? yes. Pro-labelling? Absolutely.

And do I personally choose to eat GM foods? Yes and No. It depends.

I’m happy to eat parmesan made with GM rennet but ‘Round-Up-Ready Soybeans?’ No thank you Monsanto. I’d rather have frozen Australian broad beans.

What About You?

How do you feel about GM foods?
I’d love to hear in the comments below.

_______

Fish & Fennel

Double Fennel Fish

I have a goal to eat fish at least once a week for dinner this year. And while my Irishman is still pretty fish-phobic, I’ve really been enjoying the change. This ‘double fennel’ dish with fennel seeds as a crust and then fresh fennel as a salad has been one of my favourites this year. I should mention the idea to grind fennel seeds and use them on fish came from a David Tanis recipe I made for the Jules & David Project.

enough for: 2
takes: 15 minutes

2 teaspoons fennel seeds
450g (1lb) fish fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice + 1 lemon, halved
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

1. Grind fennel seeds with a spice or coffee grinder. Or bash with a mortar and pestle. Rub fish with a little oil on both sides and sprinkle over ground fennel and lots of sea salt and pepper.

2. Heat a frying pan large enough to hold the fish in a single layer on a medium high heat. Cook fish for 3-4 minutes on each side or until just cooked through and golden on the outsides.

3. While the fish is cooking combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a salad bowl with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season.

4. Trim and discard fennel stalks then finely slice the bulbs using a mandoline or sharp knife. Toss sliced fennel and parsley leaves in the dressing.

5. Serve fish hot with the fennel salad and half a lemon on the side.

Variations

carnivore – replace fish with pork chops or chicken thigh fillets and adjust the cooking time as needed.

vegetarian – serve fennel salad with marinated feta and roast almonds.

vegan – toss cooked chickpeas or lentils in with the salad and serve with a tahini sauce drizzled over (2 tablespoons each tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and water).

more veg – toss any crunchy salad veg in such as red capsicum (bell peppers), grated carrot, grated beets, sliced snow peas.

carb lovers / more substantial – toss torn rustic sourdough in with the salad or serve with roast or pan fried potatoes or home made fries.

no fennel seeds – just skip it or try coriander or cumin seeds instead. Or serve cooked fish with sumac sprinkled over.

no fennel – my fave alternative is white cabbage or Brussels sprouts but you could use finely sliced snow peas or shaved zucchini.

And if you’re following the Jules & David Project, the latest installment is called menu fifteen: THE BEAN SOUP LUNCH

Big love,
Jules x

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to no longer feel stressed about getting dinner on the table night after night?

Imagine actually looking forward to cooking dinner at the end of the day.

Imagine preparing dinner being a time for you to relax and unwind rather than another chore.

Imagine having your meal planning done for you so you wouldn’t have to think, you could just get cooking.

Imagine how much more often you’d eat a home cooked meal?

And how much better you’d look and feel…

Well I have good new for you!

All this imagining doesn’t have to be left to your dreams. It could be your new reality.

How do I know this?

I know because I’ve had feedback from hundreds of people who have used my done-for-you meal planning service since I started it early last year. Hundreds of people who are finding it much easier (not to mention more fun!) to get dinner ready.

So why am I talking about it today?

Well I’ve added a new feature to Soupstones Meal Plans.

Yes! It just got better.

A few months ago, I signed up for a monthly membership program with Gabby Bernstein that focuses on teaching how to live a happier, more fulfilled life. I’m totally loving it. The best part is the monthly podcast which I download on my phone and listen to when Fergal and I are out walking or when I’m in the garden.

I just love the little monthly audio update where Gabby shares the tools and principles that have helped in her own life along with her personal stories of what she’s exploring.

It’s brilliant for keeping me inspired and motivated.

Which got me thinking…

Inspiration and motivation things that many people struggle with when it comes to getting dinner on the table. And I love trying new things in the kitchen and pretty much always feel inspired when I cook.

Maybe I could include a monthly podcast for the Soupstones Meal Plans members? Soupstones Square Logo NEW

So I asked my existing members and they gave the idea the thumbs up.

I’m happy to announce that from this month I’ll be releasing a new monthly podcast to accompany the meal plans. An extra bonus where I share the tools and stories from my kitchen that help to keep me excited about cooking, even when I’m tired at the end of a long day.

podcast icon

To get all the details, just go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/soupstones/
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Chinkiang Beef-2

Chinese Chinkiang Beef

Inspired by a recipe by Emma Knowles in Australian Gourmet Traveller. Chinkiang vinegar is one of my favourite ingredients at the moment. You’ll probably need to go to an Asian grocery store or search online to find it. If you do make the effort, I also use it in my Kung Pao Chicken. If you can’t be bothered, no probs, just use a cheap balsamic instead.

enough for: 2
takes: 20 minutes

1 onion, peeled & chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
450g (1lb) ground (minced) beef
2-6 fresh chillies, chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked, to serve
steamed rice or cauliflower ‘rice’, to serve

1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add onion and cook over a medium heat until onion is soft but not very browned.

2. Add cumin, fennel and beef. Increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring often until the beef is really well browned.

3. Add the chillies and stir fry for another minute.

4. Remove from the heat and add the soy and vinegar. Taste and season with extra soy and/or vinegar as needed.

5. Serve beef on a bed of rice or cauliflower ‘rice’ with coriander (cilantro) leaves on top.

Variations

5 ingredients – Just use the fennel seeds, beef, chilli, soy and chinkiang vinegar.

no chinkiang vinegar? – replace with balsamic – a cheaper one that isn’t too sweet.

vegetarian / vegan – replace beef with crumbled firm tofu or cooked lentils and consider adding a little more soy and vinegar (best to taste before adding more).

more veg – stir fry chopped broccoli, chinese broccoli, green beans or bok choy in a little oil. Remove from the pan then add back in once the beef is cooked.

no coriander (cilantro) – just skip it or replace with mint or basil.

different meat – lovely with pork or lamb. You could also use beef strips instead of minced meat. And will also work with chicken or turkey.

for cauli rice – just grate raw cauli in the food processor. I usually just serve it cold and let the hot meat warm it but you could stir fry it in the pan.

Big love,
Jules x

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ps. Not sure if a done for you meal plan would work for you?

Soupstones Square Logo NEW

It’s not for everyone but I’ll let you in on a secret…

There are plenty of people who use their membership to just stay inspired and try new things. As part of your membership you get access to every single one of my recipes (from all my classes, books and the blog) all on the one searchable website. And from May you’ll also get a monthly podcast to keep you inspired and motivated.

Here’s what Laurie said about her experience…

“I’m really enjoying this service. I’ve used other online meal planning services in the past. What I really like about this one is the ability to search the catalog for other recipes and mark my favorites. I confess I rarely use more than two of the featured recipes per week but I definitely repeat my favorites and search for other based on the ingredients I have. I like that your recipes rarely call for obscure ingredients. Or, if they do you give other options. Speaking of the options, I do love all the variations you give for each recipe. Especially since my husband has a nut allergy.”
Laurie – Soupstones Meal Plans & Dinner Inspiration Member

Sound good?

For more details ,
go to:

www.thestonesoupshop.com/soupstones/

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Normally I love flying. But late last year I had one of those trips where I started to worry whether we were going to make it.

I’m not sure if it was because I’d had a big night out with the girls in Melbourne, or if it was being at the very back of the plane, or the rough storm we were flying through or a combination of all three.

Fortunately I survived, but the experience did make me think about what I would want to pass on to Fergal if something were to happen to me.

I realised it’s an easy one to answer. I hope my boy inherits my love of books and reading.

The fact that he’s constantly asking me to read the Gruffalo, Spot, Dr Seuss or Thomas the Tank Engine looks like we’re heading in the right direction…

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought I’d do something a bit different to celebrate and share a list of books I hope he reads one day.

10 Books I Hope Fergal Reads One Day

1. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
I love all of Tim Ferriss’ books but this is his first and I think the most helpful. This was the one book that took me from dreaming about starting my own business, to actually quitting my job and doing it. 5 years later I haven’t looked back. Thank you Tim!

2. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
Love, love, love this for inspiring possibilities.

3. May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
I love Gabby’s philosophy that happiness is a choice we can all make.

4. Goals! by Brian Tracy
I’m a big believer in setting goals and this is the best book I’ve read on helping be as effective as possible.

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
An oldie but a goodie.

6. Money, Master the Game by Tony Robbins
One of those topics that isn’t great to talk about but is super important. Of all the personal finances books I’ve read, this is the most comprehensive.

7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Another classic that I re-read every few years.

8. Focus by Leo Babauta
Actually I hope Fergal starts following Leo’s brilliant blog, Zen Habits which introduced me to the principles of minimalism and the joy of living a simple life. But since we’re talking books, I’ve included Leo’s brilliant print book here.

9. Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
The key to getting over procrastination and getting things done. Enough said.

10. The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater
It might surprise you that there is only one cookbook in this list but I feel like there’s enough here on Stonesoup for Fergal to get a sense of my philosophy of cooking. However, in terms of food writing inspiration, I can’t go past my favourite, St. Nigel.

A Mother’s Day Celebration!

3D old cover
I still have mixed feelings about mothers day. Now that I’m a mum, I do enjoy getting spoiled but it’s also a time when I really miss my own mum more than usual.

Over the years I’ve developed a bit of a Mother’s Day tradition on Stonesoup to do something special with my first print book, ‘And the Love if Free‘, which is a collection of my mum’s recipes. And another book I should add to Fergal’s reading list so he can know what his ‘grandmama’ was like.

This year you can get FREE SHIPPING anywhere in the world if you order before 10th May.

For all the details go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/and-the-love-is-free-a-tribute-to-my-mum/

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berry crumbles-3

David’s Berry Crumbles

It’s funny, I always associate crumbles with apple or rhubarb and had never played around with other fruit. But when I made these berry crumbles for one of my ‘Jules & David Project‘ meals, they instantly became my favourite Summer dessert. I know my mum would have adored them which is why I chose to share the recipe today.

enough for: 2
takes: 40 minutes

2 cups berries
100g (2/3 cup) plain (all purpose) flour
50g (1/3 cup) sugar
50g (1/3 cup) grated butter
60g (2/3 cup) almond flakes (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Divide berries between 2 x 1 cup baking dishes or ramekins.

2. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl. Toss in the grated butter and use a fork or your fingers to smash the butter into the flour mixture.

3. When the butter and flour looks like lumpy bread crumbs stir in the almonds (if using). Scatter the mixture to cover the berries leaving it fairly loose.

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown.

5. Serve warm with cream or ice cream or both.

Variations

gluten-free – replace flour with 50g (1/3 cup) each rice flour and chickpea flour or use your favourite GF flour combo.

budget – replace some or all of the berries with finely diced apple.

not berry season – use frozen berries or play around with whatever fruit you have on hand. Stone fruit are lovely – just chop small enough so they will cook at in same time as the topping.

sugar-free – replace sugar with granulated stevia to taste… A few tablespoons should do the trick.

dairy-free / vegan – replace butter with 3-4 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil. Macadamia oil would be perfect.

nut-free – just skip the almonds.

paleo – skip the crumble topping and just scatter almonds over the berries and roast until almonds are golden. Serve with coconut cream or coconut yoghurt.

And if you’re following the Jules & David Project, the latest installment is now available!

Hope you have some lovely plans for Mother’s Day!

Big love,
Jules x

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My husband is Irish. So you probably won’t be surprised that the humble spud is the vegetable that raises the most excitement around here.

Yes, we take our potatoes very seriously.

So much so that GB and I have often talked about writing a book dedicated to all things potato. We’ve come up with a name, ‘Potato Love’ and a rough list of recipes. But that’s as far as we’ve gotten.

As you can imagine, I’m always on the lookout for interesting potato recipes to keep my boys happy.

When I saw these Hasselbacks by Nigel Slater, I knew they were going to be a winner.

Oh boy, are they a winner. Even worthy of our ‘new favourite spud’ title.

And I don’t make such claims lightly…

__

Hassel Back Spuds-3

Hasselback Potatoes

Inspired by my favourite food writer, Nigel Slater. I’m not really sure why they’re called Hasselback but if that’s what St. Nigel calls them, that’s reason enough for me. The thing I really love about them is you get the crisp lovely outer and fluffy middle similar to a classic roast spud but without the hassle of having to boil the spuds first. Maybe they should be renamed hassle-free spuds?

enough for: 2
takes: about an hour

4 or more spuds
4 tablespoons duck fat (melted) or oil
2 sprigs thyme or rosemary (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Scrub potatoes. Finely slice each spud about 2/3 of the way through. Repeat all the way along the spud making the cuts as close together as you can. But don’t stress about it.

2. Place the potatoes with the cut side up in a baking pan. Drizzle over a tablespoon of duck fat or oil on each spud and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

3. Bake for 45 minutes. Spoon some of the hot fat over each potato and add the herbs (if using).

4. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Serve hot.

Variations

which variety of potato? – you can use anything you’d normally roast. I used dutch creams in the picture above. Just try and make sure they’re all about the same size so they cook in the same amount of time.

vegetarian / vegan – don’t use duck fat. Use whatever oil you normally use for roasting spuds.

classic roast spuds – if you don’t like the idea of cutting through the spuds so many times, here’s my tried and tested recipe for the ultimate roast spud.

complete meal – serve anywhere you’d normally serve roast potatoes. Nigel Slater serves his with a whole baked camembert and some jamon. Not such a bad idea!

garlicky – add some whole unpeeled garlic cloves about 1/2 way through cooking.

Video version of the recipe.

What about you?

Got a favourite potato recipe in your house? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Big love,
Jules x

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Is meal planning something you struggle with? Well you’re definitely not alone!

Whenever I talk to Stonesoup readers about their biggest cooking problems, meal planning it always near the top of the list.

Last minute changes in plans and chaotic schedules are some of the most common problems. As is the fact that meal plans often ‘fall apart’ because you don’t ‘feel like’ eating what you’d planned to cook that night.

Then there were the people who struggle to come up with new ideas and feel bored with their current meal routine. And running through all this was the costly problem of wasted ingredients and leftovers going bad and having to be thrown out.

Sound familiar?

What IS the No. 1 Meal Planning Mistake?

In a nutshell, it’s deciding what you’re going to cook in advance and then building your shopping list around that plan.

Having a list of set recipes or dishes is problematic for a number of reasons. First, it takes a lot of time to figure it all out in advance. But the biggest problem is the lack of flexibility to cope with the changes that naturally come up with modern life.

It’s nearly impossible to predict that Wednesday is going to be the coldest February day on record and you’ll be craving a comforting bowl of soup, rather than the cool & light salad you had in the meal plan.

No wonder meal plans tend to get broken.

How Do I Avoid This Mistake?

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

It may sound a little scary, but in practice it’s a really liberating way of approaching meal planning. And it’s actually much quicker and easier than traditional meal planning.

Shopping and cooking this way, based on what looks best, is a skill that anyone can learn which is why I wrote the ‘2-Minute Meal Plan’.

Speaking of which…

2MMP 3D Cover

2 Minute Meal Plan eCookbook

It’s actually been 3 years since I first released the 2-Minute Meal Plan eBook. It’s easily the most unusual book that I’ve ever written in that it’s all about showing you the easiest way to ‘reverse’ your meal plan and cook with the ingredients you have on hand using ‘template recipes’.

This frees you from the constraints of shopping lists and traditional recipes while providing the support you need to get healthy meals on the table with minimum fuss or effort.

For more details go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/2mmp/

_________

Sweet Potato Hummus-2

Sweet Potato Hummus + Lamb Cutlets

Fergal just loves sweet potato so I find myself roasting up a batch pretty much every week. A nice side effect is that we often have roast sweet potato in the fridge which I’m finding makes it way into my cooking more and more! See below for tips for the easiest way to roast sweet potato.

enough for: 2
takes: 15 minutes

1 teaspoon each ground cumin, chilli, coriander & smoked paprika
6-8 lamb cutlets or other chops
250g roast sweet potato
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, peeled
green salad, to serve
big handful cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Combine spices with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Season generously then toss in the lamb cutlets and allow to marinate for as long as you’ve got (if more than an hour cover and refrigerate).

2. For the hummus, whizz sweet potato, tahini, lemon and garlic in a food processor until you have a smooth paste or smash everything together with a fork. Taste and season with salt and maybe extra lemon or tahini.

3. Heat a frying pan or your BBQ on a medium high heat. Add lamb and cook for 3-4 minutes.

4. Turn the lamb and add the tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until you’re happy.

5. To serve divide sweet potato hummus between two plates. Top with lamb and tomatoes and serve salad on the side.

Variations

to roast sweet potato – pop whole sweet potato (scrubbed but not peeled) on a baking tray. Roast in the oven 200C for about 45-60 minutes or until tender.

no roast sweet potato – use a drained can of chickpeas or white beans.

different spices
– if you don’t have all of the spices just use any combo of the above – you want about 4 teaspoons or less. Or just use 1 teaspoon of the chilli.

vegetarian – pan fry the tomatoes with the spiced oil and serve a fried egg or two with the hummus with the spicy tomatoes on top.

vegan – replace lamb with field or portabello mushrooms. Marinate and cook as per the lamb might take a little longer. Sliced eggplant steaks are another great alternative.

not tomato season – skip them or use semi dried tomatoes.

lamb alternatives – try a good old steak, pork chops or even salmon fillets. The spices are also great with good quality sausages.

Big love,
Jules x

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Why I Keep Nail Polish Remover in my Kitchen

April 7, 2015

bit of a crazy title for a cooking blog this week, don’t you think? I know. When I started Stonesoup, I didn’t think nail polish remover was something I’d ever be writing about. But here we are. Another ‘never say never’ moment. So why do I keep nail polish remover in my kitchen? No, I […]

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Stupidly Easy Banana Bread

March 31, 2015

ne afternoon late last year, Fergal and I were out on our daily walk when a car pulled over and stopped in front of us. Given we live on a quite country road, you can imagine this made me a bit wary…. I was relieved when a super fit lady got out of the car. […]

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The ‘Secret’ to Cooking Without Recipes

March 24, 2015

hen I was learning to cook I was a slave to recipes. While it was a good way to start learning different techniques and ingredients, it did have some frustrating limitations. Like what happens when you can’t buy a particular ingredient? And what do you do with that leftover half bunch of herbs? Or jar […]

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How I Meal Plan + Beer & Bangers Recipe

March 17, 2015

he most radical shift in my meal planning process happened at a very specific time in my life. I was working as a young winemaker in the beautiful Barossa Valley. It was vintage, the busiest time of the year, so my life pretty much revolved around working and sleeping. There wasn’t much time for ‘luxuries’ […]

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7 Things I Always Have in the Freezer

March 11, 2015

ecently there was an outbreak of Hepatitis in Australia that stemmed from people eating contaminated frozen berries. Since I’m a bit of a hermit, I wouldn’t have known about the berry recall if it weren’t for my news-savvy Irishman. Fortunately we didn’t have any problem berries in the freezer. Which was unusual but it’s been […]

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A Quick Tour of My Edible Garden…

March 3, 2015

lmost a year ago, my little family made the big leap to life in the country when we bought our tiny farm. As I shared when we first moved in, it’s been a dream of mine for the longest time to have a little house and some land to grow veggies, raise chooks, plant a […]

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7 Delicious Ways to Use Miso Paste

February 24, 2015

on’t you hate it when you buy a new ingredient to use in a recipe only to end up with a big jar of ingredient cluttering your fridge? Me too. I’m a little obsessive about keeping the random jars in my fridge to a minimum… Or at least keeping them ‘quarantined’ in the fridge door. […]

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How to Make Wine Vinegar

February 17, 2015

ave you ever ended up with lots of odds and ends of leftover wine and thought to yourself ‘I really should make some vinegar?’ Well until recently, I hadn’t either. I was happy keeping our little leftovers in the pantry to use in risottos and stews. I think my lack of enthusiasm for home made […]

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2 Surprising Benefits of Using a Meal Plan

February 10, 2015

o I’m going to let you in on a little secret… Before I started Soupstones, my done-for-you meal planning service, I thought there was absolutely no way I would enjoy following a meal plan. You see, I like to think of myself as a ‘free spirit’, someone who hates being told what to do. I […]

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Could A Meal Plan Help YOU Like This?

February 3, 2015

his time last year I did something I wasn’t sure would work. It all started when my friend Caroline was telling me about her experience with one of those weight loss programs that comes with an exercise schedule and detailed meal plans. With her new, more slender figure Caroline was looking amazing. What surprised me […]

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My New Favourite (Frozen) Veg

January 27, 2015

ow that I have a toddler in the house, I’m very well acquainted with the degree of difficulty involved with getting said toddler to eat anything green. Fortunately Fergal loves peas, so I always keep our freezer well stocked. But there are only so many times you can serve up peas each week. So I’ve […]

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A Kung Pao Chicken Story

January 20, 2015

bout this time two years ago my Irishman and I had a lovely holiday in Sydney staying in our friends Walsh Bay apartment with killer views of the Sydney harbour bridge. One night we had an especially delicious dinner at Mr Wong. A seriously great Chinese restaurant in the CBD. To cut a long story […]

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The Jules & David Project

January 13, 2015

ast year I read a great little book by Chris Guillebeau who fulfilled his dream of visiting every country in the world. With the title, ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’, Chris’ latest book is all about quests. It chronicles the adventures of not only Chris’s globe trotting but a heap of other people with quests as […]

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The No. 1 Way to Simplify Any Recipe

January 6, 2015

f you’ve been reading Stonesoup for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in the power of simplicity in all areas of life. But especially in the kitchen. And over Christmas I was reminded of just how complicated most published recipes are. For our Christmas feast I decided to make a […]

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