Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Found the green Sheep!!

Have you read the book "Where is the Green Sheep?"? It was a favourite of ours when the boys were little. Its a really cute book by Mem Fox and we must have read it a thousand times.

Well...I will have you know that we found the green sheep... on a bottle of wine! Thank goodness. No wonder he was asleep (sorry - you have to read the book).

What's your fave book to read with your kids?


Monday, March 30, 2015

The things you see...

We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary and had a night in the city away from the fellas. Of course, because we love to eat, it was food food food all weekend.

After lunch at Baroque we went for a wander around the Opera House to fill in some time until dinner!

This is what we saw just lying about in the sun right by the harbour, the ferries,.

Yes, that is a seal! We weren't sure if he'd gone awol from the zoo or was just visiting the sights for the day!

Anyway...it was a lovely sight.

Have you seen anything odd?


Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday Alphabet Soupers!

Hope you have some fun planned - thought I would leave you for the week with these super cute little cuddling carrots - have a top weekend!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Getting our Kraut on

During Breakfast Love week, one of the meals featured home-made Radish Kimchi.

Wow - hands down, one of my all time favourites.

Spurred on by a blast of Sugar Quitting a year or so back, an Aunt who found the passion for Kraut plus generalised heath-based reading, our household has embraced the art of home-made fermented veg.

It is now consumed on an (almost) daily basis by Myself and H-for-Husband, and all the boys have tried it at various stages (with varying degrees of success!).

My Better-Half is responsible for the Fermented production line, and here is one of his favourite combos.

Fermented Cabbage and Tuscan Kale with Fennel and Leek.
All veg to be finely sliced/shredded
You will need 2 to 3 rubber seal, "Fido" or mason jars of around 800ml capacity

1 x medium cabbage, or half a large one,
1 x bunch of Tuscan kale
1 x fennel bulb + fennel leaves
1 x leek (white part)
2 tbsp Kosher  or pickling salt
2 tbsp Fennel seeds

Place all ingredients in a large non-reactive container (such as a plastic Tupperware/decor container) together with salt and bruise with a pestle or wooden muddler until liquid starts to form in the bottom of container.

Sterilise jars with boiling water.

Empty and dry jars.

Fill with mixture, pressing down as you go.

Leave atleast 4cm space between the veg and the top of the jar.
DO NOT OVERFILL THE JARS as they can bubble over and leak during the fermentation process.

Make an additional cup of brine.
Mixing .5 tsp salt into 500ml of boiling water, allow to cool.

Top the jars up with the Brine to avoid oxidation of the veg.
(If oxidation occurs, remove the brown layer and submerge veg again.)

Allow 3 days fermentation in cool/dark place before refrigerating and eating.

Your fermented veg will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Further Notes:
Where you can, it is best to use organic veg. 
I am not an only-organic fanatic but just as the fermentation process helps to bring out the goodness, you also want to avoid it drawing out any nasties, so go organic where you can.

The Ferments in the pic above use veggies that we where lucky enough to come by via Hayden's Aunt who has an organic farm in Northern NSW. 
In the pic are Carrots with ginger and pepper corns, Radish Kim chi and Cabbage, Fennel, Tuscan Kale & Leek.

Why Kosher or pickling salt?
Using Table or sea salt can bring a really metallic taste to your ferment.

There are a heap of tips out there on the net and this is just one method/recipe - get in there and have a go......you won't look back!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spinach pie goodness

We have Spinach & Feta pie on the menu tonight, or Spanakopita by it's traditional Greek name.

Stephanie Alexander's "Cook Companion" recipe is my go-to method and it gets totally demolished without a peep every time!

Don't be put off by the list of ingredients - it is well worth the effort.

Stephanie's Spanakopita

1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 to 2 large bunches of silver beet or spinach - trimmed, washed, dried and finely chopped
2 table spoons of mint, finely chopped
2 table spoons of Italian parsley, finely chopped
freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs
125g feta cheese, crumbled
125g ricotta
60g freshly grated percorino, or similar
freshly ground black pepper
120g melted butter
10 sheets Filo Pastry

Preheat oven to 180c

In a large pan or pot, saute onion in oil until softened.

Add spring onion, spinach, herbs and nutmeg and cook, stirring until the spinach is soft and there is no liquid in the pan.

Tip into a colander and allow to cool.

Beat eggs in a large bowl, add cheeses and the cooled spinach mix. Adjust seasoning with pepper.

Brush rectangular baking dish (aprox 28cm x 18cm x 8cm) with melted butter.

Cutting each filo sheet in half, brush sheets with butter and layer in pan.

Spoon in the spinach mixture and top with remaining filo sheets, again, brushing each sheet with melted butter as you go.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and crunchy on top.

Serve warm or cold.

Enjoy! xE

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pinterest Inspo

My pinterest food board has been getting a bit of a top-up of late - with the weather in these parts starting to turn autumnal, mashes, braises and seasonal tarts are all featuring.

I am looking forward to giving this one a go, as well as these, and this amazing looking cake.

So much inspiration out there - get pinning people! xE

Monday, March 23, 2015

Meal planning Monday

Oh hello there Monday and your very good friend, the Working Week - so good to see you again :)

This week, our (dinner) meal plan looks a little like this.....

Pumpkin Soup

Schnitzel with veg

Spinach & Feta pie

Beef Stroganoff with Rice

Home-made Chicken burgers

What have you got on the menu this week?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cheat Chicken Dinner

I found the best thing in the supermarket the other day!!!

It was a package called 'Street Kitchen' and was an 'all in one' to make a yummy Indian Chicken dish.

The pack came with some spices, a garlic and ginger paste and a curry sauce. The thing that I LOVED about it is that were were not a gazillion numbers of artificial this and that on the ingredients list. 

Now the recipe was to make a curry, but I wanted something to toss on the BBQ so I just mixed all the ingredients together (after toasting the spice mix first) and basted the chicken. I let it sit for about 15 minutes then just chucked onto the BBQ.

YUM. So easy and so tasty. I just served it with a basic salad and viola - delicious and healthy, not to mention easy and super fast.

Give it a go....tell me what you think!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Green Soup? What the??

I was doing a bit of a shop in Aldi the other day (I'm a bit intermittent when it comes to my Aldi shops) however they did have some Donna Hay Cookbooks available. There was one there that I didn't have, shock horror, so immediately snapped it up. It was called Fresh and Light.

After having a flick through there was a recipe for "Essential Green Soup" that had kale in it. Now, I havent found much use for kale apart from giving it to the chooks so I was quite intrigued to give it a go - also in my efforts to have a vegetarian meal once a week.

I was also a bit sceptical as to how the youngest would take it if I told him it had kale and tofu in it. So...I just called it green soup, told him a couple of the ingredients. It. Was. A HIT!!!!! All the family loved it, even the tofu hating husband, and there was enough for me for lunch the next day!

I absolutely encourage you to give it a try...let me know what you think!


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 leek, trimmed and sliced2 cloves garlic, sliced400g broccoli, chopped150g kale, roughly chopped100g English spinach, roughly chopped100g silver beet or Swiss chard, roughly chopped 
(Note - I just used 200g of silverbeet from the garden)2 litres chicken or vegetable stock2 teaspoons grated lemon rindsea salt and cracked black pepper300g silken tofu
(note - I also threw in about a cup of frozen peas)

Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add the oil, leek and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until very soft. Add the broccoli, kale, spinach, silver beet (peas!) and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Stir through the lemon rind, salt and pepper. Using a stick blender or a blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add the tofu and blend until smooth.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Breakfast Love - Day 5

Thank-egg -it's-Friday. (boom boom)

Welcome to the last instalment of our Breakfast-Love Week.

This is truly the breakfast of champions....Poached (or anyway way you like it really) egg on toast with homemade radish kimchi.

Happy Friday peeps - enjoy the weekend xxE

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Breakfast Love - Day 4

The Thursday power breakfast.

Poached egg on left-over sushi rice with sprouts, fermented vegies and hot dashi stock.

This will give you an early mark towards the weekend. xE

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Breakfast Love - Day 3

A little twist for a Wednesday!

Bacon & Eggs, alphabet style.

Add a little something extra to your scrambled eggs, with some thinly sliced, sauteed zucchinis and a small dob of mustard (yes, mustard!).

Serve on toast with a side of crispy bacon - about as much yum as you can fit on a plate! xE

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Breakfast Love - Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of Breakfast Love week here at Alphabet Soup.

Today we have that perenial Weekend favourite - French Toast.

Our current version features sour dough, dipped in vanilla laced egg mixture with yogurt, mango, grilled fig and maple syrup.

Yum! xE

Monday, March 9, 2015

Breakfast Love - Day 1

We are big (big!) fans of breakfast in this household.

Quite some time ago, I realised that my kids got off to a better start (and we all had a much smoother morning = got out the door on time) if they had a more "substantial" start to the day. I just noticed that the mornings when cereal was on the menu where more frenetic than those were we had eggs or porridge (for example).

This lead us to a pretty serious early morning breakfast habit.

So I thought this week on Alphabet Soup, we would celebrate breakfast!

Breakfast Love - Day 1

Wholemeal toast, with wilted spinach, a poached egg and flaked smoked trout, with a quick crack of black pepper.

A great little kick-starter, with a heap of flavour, this is a favourite with the littlest (who would happily eat his body weight in smoked trout!).

Happy Monday peeps - see you tomorrow for Day 2 of Breakfast Love xE

Friday, March 6, 2015

Man Steak

When I go shopping for my meat I almost always go to the butcher. They have a great range of cuts of meat and I like supporting them rather than the massive supermarkets. I also know that its fresh as can be and they can cut certain bits for me if I need...not to mention give great advise on how to cook certain cuts.

I recently went to get a steak for Tony and I (the boys were away for the weekend with their dad). When I went to the butcher my eyes almost fell out of my head at the size of one of their steaks - the Bushmans! It was 700g (including the rib bone). Way too big for me.

I bought one for Tony and a small scotch fillet for me.

Just brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and peppered and cook on the BBQ with salad and yummy potato!


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sauso rolls abundance!

Making sausage rolls is a cinch. They are a super great lunch box item, and you know exactly what has gone in them!

I usually make mine a little larger then freeze them raw and cook from frozen the night before for the next day. This time I thought I'd shake it up a little. Use a different mince and pre-cut and bake before freezing. 

I know. Crazy stuff right?

I have to say they got the tick of approval from Tony who is a sausage roll aficionado. Or so he likes to thing.

All I used was:

500g sausage mince (ask your butcher)
500g beef & veal mince
1 carrot finely grated
1 onion very finely chopped then cooked until golden.
Worcestershire sauce
handful finely chopped parsley
Salt & pepper
Puff pastry

Mix everything together well in a bowl. Lay out your pastry and cut in half down the middle. Spread sausages of the mixture onto each half of pastry. Roll and seal at the base. Brush with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you are feeling fancy.

Cook in oven at 190degrees for about 25mins or until golden.

Once cooled I have frozen about 4-6 in individual snap bags for lunches.

Makes a stack! Oh - and got the thumbs up from TJ!

Do you have a good sausage roll recipe?


Monday, March 2, 2015

Lovely cards

Its my wedding anniversary soon. One year! Cant believe how fast its gone.

It is so easy to get bogged down with the day to day happenings of life. Shopping. menu plans, cooking, washing, ironing, running around for kids etc etc etc. I dont think we stop often enough just to breathe and take it all in - how lucky we truly are.

Tony and I don't celebrate Valentines day as such. I really think that as a couple who have been together for a bit, also one with the costs of kids and the like, that I just don't see the point in spending inflated amounts of money for things like flowers. Not when soccer fees, band fees and school fees are due! 

Romance is not dead altogether in our house though as my little Boo did take a chocolate to school for his teach and two of his 'girlfriends'.

I think that a card will do just nicely in many situations. There are so many amazing cards out there now. Some digital and some old fashioned ones that you write in!

So I was noodling about on Etsy, and my were there some funny anti-valentines ones, but I thought Id keep it nice. And local if I could.

I stumbled across Post Love Designs, who are based in Melbourne. I bought a few cards, so I had some up my sleeve for our anniversary as well as Valentines and they arrived super pronto with a hand written thank you note. Its all about the little things! 

So here are a couple that I bought plus the one that I gave him on Valentines (the picture of that one is direct from the source).

So go on - spread a little joy and love with a simple card. 

Do you like cards? Do you know where to get some good ones?