French Onion Soup

It’s well & truly soup season here on our mountain top!

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French Onion Soup is one of those super easy retro classics that every home cook should have up their sleeve.

Start by peeling a couple of large onions & cutting into thick slices.

Heat up a generous knob of butter in a stock pot & chuck the onions in with a teaspoon of sugar (I use raw sugar). Stir that until the onions are nicely translucent, they should be golden but not darkened in colour.

Throw in a dessertspoon of plain flour & cook that off before gradually pouring in 2 litres of chicken stock. Season it well with salt & white pepper.

Whack the lid on & cook that over a gentle heat for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Then it’s Chompin Time!

Cheese & Bacon Soufflé

Here’s an easy peasy recipe for the kids, and dads, to make this Sunday to WOW mum with more than just burnt toast.

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First, daddy, get that oven cranking to a stonking hot 220c!

Use spray oil to generously grease some pretty ramekins, hint – do this in the sink so that the wee cherubs don’t mess up the entire kitchen! One gratin dish could be substituted as well.

Then, depending on the age & abilities of the kidlets you can divvy up the steps between daddy & offspring as to whatever way floats your boat.

Heat up a glug of oil in a frypan to cook off some diced bacon before plopping into the bottom of the ramekins.

Next, sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese in there too – YUM!

Grab a mixing bowl to whisk together 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons of thickened cream, salt & white pepper until frothy bubbles appear. Hint dads – make sure you have extra eggs as they’re bound to be smashed outside of the bowl 😀

Carefully pour the mixture into the ramekin bowls to just cover the cheese & bacon, they’ll probably be about half full.

Finally, daddy, I shall let you in on the secret trick to get those soufflé’s to rise & shine! Simply run your finger around the edge! Yep, that’s the big technique involved with this show stopper! Wipe your CLEAN finger around the edge of the ramekin from the mixture to the top – this creates a pathway for the soufflé to rise sky high!

Whack that lot in the oven (place them on a baking tray to get them easily in & out) to bake until they’re light & fluffy. Do not open that door! Just keep a watchful wait through the glass – this ain’t perfect on the timing as every dish is different. Plan for about 15 minutes but hey, if they over cook, it’s no drama – simply tell mum you’ve made her quiche & she’ll still be stoked at your culinary prowess.

Mid-Life Crisis!

Is it just me or is everyone faking this whole life thing?

I mean, I never expected to reach the age of 42 & still be absolutely clueless about my direction in life!

Just when we’d made the decision to move to the Gold Coast to be near to our family & friends, life has thrown us, yet again, another plot twist.

Mini-Me has been selected to become a Classical Soloist Ballerina! Now that is EPICALLY huge for her to receive this wonderful opportunity & is a real achievement in reward for all her extra hard work she puts in towards her Professional Ballet career. I know, I know, she’s only 6 but she has known what she’s wanted to do practically since birth! This kid is Born to Ballet!

I simply can’t fathom how focussed & together she is as I’ve always been a total screw up mess my entire life. Yet from the moment she slipped her delicate toes into her first pair of ballet leathers at the ripe old age of 3, she has been destined for greatness.

Now, in Australia, if she was to be focussed on becoming an elite athlete in the sporting arena, nobody would bat an eyelid at us making serious family life choices based on our young child’s career, however, as her talent is in the Arts, people have been less understanding. As a Professional Ballerina, she will be an elite athlete of incredible abilities!

But, back to this whole Mid-Life Crisis thing……

I’ve been quite strongly guided lately to return to writing. I had another blog, a few years back, which was far more successful than this one, which I shut down for various reasons. I had thought about starting another whole new blog, in addition to Food Forage, in order to do this. The problem is that I already struggle with the high demands of my small fam-bam to get the time to even do this one properly! I’m sure you’ve noticed my sporadic posts which is what is to blame for my lack of success here. So, what shall I do in order to write again?

I’ve decided to do these random open diary entries to you, a glimpse into my madness if you like, as my Fam-Bam Files category & see where we go from there.

I’m desperately trying to rediscover who I am now as more than just a wife & mother. I’m sure a lot of you have been here before me! Who I was before Mini-Me came along simply is not who I am anymore. So who am I now?

This is why I believe I’m struggling to make real, deep friendships here in Melbourne. I’m very difficult to get to know as a person, not because of any ‘walls’ as I simply don’t have them, but because I am so extremely open about being so lost. People get confused by my being so very scattered. I’m always into something new every time they turn around & I’m an all or nothing sort of gal! I only have 2 speeds, either completely obsessed or completely uninterested. So yeah, I’m not the easiest of people to be friends with as you never know what I’m up to next! At least I’m never boring.

All I know for sure is that I am being guided to make a return to my writing & also my healing. I am a Seichim Healer but haven’t healed since before Mini-Me was born. I’d also like to reignite my passion for watercolour painting, even though I’ve never actually been any good at that. Plus my chocolate work is calling me louder & louder to create again.

But where, oh where, shall I ever find the time for me?!?!?!?!

Potato Soup

Lusciously creamy hot soup with a flavoursome crunchy surprise,

this is Hubby’s second favourite soup that I make.

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This is hands down so dead set easy to make, you’ll be sure to whip it up all Winter long!

Heat up a good glug of oil in a pot & bung in 3 large spuds, which you’ve peeled & chopped. Pop the lid on & let them do their thing over low heat for 10 minutes.

Next, pour in 1 litre of chicken stock before throwing in 2 bay leaves & bringing to a simmer. Whack the lid back on for another 10 minutes cooking time.

Meanwhile, let’s crack on with the potato chip croutons!

Peel & dice 1 large tattie, heat a good glug of oil in a deep sided frypan, throw in 2 teaspoons of minced garlic along with the diced potato & simply toss those about to cook over a high heat until they’re gorgeously golden – how easy is that?!?!?!

Back to the soup – remove the lid & take out the bay leaves, they’ve done their job, then remove from the heat before adding in 250ml of sour cream. Give that lot a jolly good stir. Now it’s time for good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to make his grand appearance! Whazz that soup up until sumptuously smooth & finally season with salt & ground black pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls & plop the potato chip croutons into the middle.

Fabuliciouz!

Oh, & in case you’re wondering, Hubby’s favourite soup is my Nan’s recipe I use for my Pea & Ham Soup!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Finally, at long last, a Gluten Free cake that is rich, moist, fabuliciouzly tasty & above all else, not crumbly!

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You know, I used to be pretty darn good at making cakes before we knew about my illness with Gluten. I used to take so very much pleasure in my cake baking but since needing to be Gluten Free, I just haven’t had that same passion. I lost my cake mojo. Try as hard as I might, using Gluten Free flour just doesn’t cut it. I tried this recipe, with much trepidation, expecting yet another bitter disappointment, only to be pleasantly surprised with the results this time! This tastes like real cake! HOORAH!

Start by lining a loaf tin with baking paper, remember to use spray oil first to hold it in place.

Measure out 3/4 cup of caster sugar.

Grab a mixing bowl & bung in 280g of dark chocolate along with 160g of softened butter. Pop that over a pan of simmering water to melt gently, then stir in 6 egg yolks & half of that caster sugar. Take it off the heat & set aside to cool.

In a second mixing bowl, beat the 6 egg whites to a soft peak consistency. Now you can opt to get an arm workout if that’s what floats your boat, but I choose to use my electric beaters. Then, ever so gradually, add in the rest of that caster sugar whilst continuing to beat until it’s thick & glossy, just like meringue.

Back to the chocolate mix bowl & gently fold through 1 & 1/2 cups of Almond Meal followed by the meringue mix. Be really careful not to totally knock out all that luscious air you’ve worked so hard to beat in there!

Pour the batter into the loaf tin & bake for an hour in a 160c oven. If you choose to make cupcakes with this batter, as pictured, simply halve the cooking time.

Pumpkin Soup

It takes just THREE humble ingredients to whip up this absolutely fabuliciouz soup!

Yep, you read that right! 

Only 3 Ingredients!

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  1. Butternut Pumpkin
  2. Thickened Cream
  3. Cayenne Pepper

After a fairly intensive weekend of dancing action for Mini-Me with her first competition, I needed to whip something up in a hurry that was both tasty & able to fill our tired tummy’s! This Pumpkin Soup has always been our fam-bam go to staple for just such occasions.

Start by peeling & chopping up 1/2 of a butternut pumpkin before bunging the chunks into a saucepan with a wee bit of water. Pop a lid on & allow that to simmer away slowly over a gentle heat to reduce. Just keep an eye on the liquid so that the pumpkin doesn’t stick or burn as every single one of them will be different in the amount of water they let out during cooking.

When the pumpkin is mushy soft, remove from the heat & mash it all up then grab good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to blitz to a gloriously smooth consistency.

Pour in 300ml of thickened cream, stir to combine & whack back on the heat to gently warm through.

Finally, season with cayenne pepper to however much floats your boat.

Then It’s Chompin Time!

Hasselback Potatoes

Gorgeously crunchy exterior meets lusciously soft interior,

creating what could possibly be described as the best ever roast tatties!

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To make these wee pillows of chippy awesomeness you will first need to crank your oven to a stonking hot 200c so that it gets ready whilst you crack on!

Peel 4 good sized potatoes before cutting them in half lengthways. Bung them, cut side down, on a chopping board before ever so carefully slicing very thin slits the length of each tattie making sure not to cut all the way through, so stop about 2/3 of the way down.

Next, gently melt a couple of tablespoons of butter over low heat. Brush the melted butter onto a baking tray then pop your sliced tatties carefully onto it. Smother the tops of the tatties in more of the melted butter by brushing on with abandonment! Don’t use it all though!

Whack into the oven for 30 minutes to bake, ensuring to brush with the reserved melted butter roughly every 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, into a mixing bowl goes 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese along with 2 tablespoons of whatever crumb floats your boat. Give it a jolly good mix & when the half hour on the tatties is up, evenly sprinkle the mix across them, shake a nice amount of paprika on & whack back in the oven for another 15 minutes to turn golden brown.

Korean Chilli Chicken

Succulent chicken marinated with a fabuliciouz depth of flavour leaving a  wonderfully warm mouth tingle.

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This wee number has absolutely impressed hubby & I with it not just being about blow your head off heat, but rather a real layering effect of flavour.

Grab yourself a bowl & bung in 500g of stir fry chicken strips before seasoning well with salt & ground black pepper.

Next, whack in the juice of a lime & 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of Korean Chilli Paste – this is our new discovery at the local Asian grocer & it’s seriously good stuff!

Make sure you give it all a jolly good mix to coat that chook really well then set aside for half an hour to marinade. The lime juice will start to ‘cook’ the chicken so this is not one to leave for too long.

Get your wok to a stonking hot heat with a wee splash of oil & toss the marinated chicken through to cook.

It’s really that easy!

Easter in Eden

Sometimes all you need is to spend some time in a beautiful place to figure it all out.

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After 5 ever so long years living in exile as somewhat reluctant nomads, it’s finally our time to go home.

Before leaving on our beautiful holiday, we had a knowledge that something BIG was going to happen to accommodate a shift in our mindset.

You know that feeling you get when you just know that something EPIC is about to happen?!?!

Well, as soon as we arrived back on our beloved East Coastline we felt the definite shift in energy as we continued to drive further north. The energy of the East Coast is so much lighter & more gentle than anywhere else in the country we’ve been. It’s what matches our own personal energies which is why we tune so harmoniously to it. It’s home, It’s us, We need to return.

Every day we blissed out with our toes in the sand as we made our

Life Plans so effortlessly, so easily, so carefree.

It all came together in such magical clarity that we simply can’t be wrong.

All of our answers simply fell into our laps as we attuned ourselves completely to the lovely East Coast energy.

We will be actioning our plan over the coming months ahead of moving home to the ever so fabuliciouz Gold Coast & hope you will all enjoy this transition as we share snippets of what will be our final nomad relocation.

Once we’re home, that’s it, we’re done!

Miss Milly has already been SOLD, our camping gear is next followed by miscellaneous items that we no longer require in our lives.

Whilst we will forever treasure this time spent exploring our Nation, we are beyond looking forward to going home to our loved ones, back to our beloved East Coast energy & enjoying our unique Gold Coast Caldera lifestyle again.