Minestrone Soup

In my household I continuously have an internal debate over how to get a full amount of fruit and veggies into my babies bellies. My take on a Minestrone Soup has been a crowd pleaser in our home and ticks off so many vegetables it has me feeling all the warm and comforting feels as I watch everyone slurp it up!

Olive oil

2 brown onions diced

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

3 celery stalks sliced

2 large carrots diced

1 large sweet potato diced

3 (or 2 large) zucchini’s diced

3 tins of organic crushed tomatoes

A few stalks of kale shredded (or beans, spinach)

2 litres of my vegetable broth

250g peeled button mushrooms

2 400g tins of Cannelloni Beans (washed)

2 sprigs of rosemary roughly chopped

Parmesan cheese to serve

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Fry onions and garlic with Rosemary for 3 minutes.

Add carrots and celery for 3 minutes.

Transfer all ingredients (except beans) into a slow cooker and cook on a slow setting until done.

Too with more filtered water if too thick.

Once done add your washed beans for another 20 minutes.

Serve with Parmesan on top and fresh crusty Sourdough.

Enjoy

Jennifer X

Israeli Pilaf

I’ve been inspired by the flavours of the Middle East for years. I’ve cooked countless Moroccan themed dinner parties and experimented with spices and ways to bring a beautiful meal to the table in a short amount of time.

One of my favourite dishes to bring to the table is an Israeli Pilaf. Every culture in the Middle East serves this dish in their own way. Today I’m giving you a recipe in my own way also…. coming from the ‘Mother of 5, get it done’ recipe! Ha!

What got me feeling good about this recipe was that I could add my housemade Vegetable broth to the dish! Game changer…. I sat there with a winning smirk on my face as my children ate up all it’s goodness.

For the chicken:

1 organic Chicken (save skin and bones to make a broth later).

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Cinnamon

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp parsley

For the Rice:

2 Tbsp olive oil

400g basmati rice (wash and soak for 1 hour)

300g Organic Lamb mince

700g Vegetable or chicken broth (housemade is best)

1 brown onion

3 garlic cloves

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp all spice

Salt and pepper to taste

50g butter

30g blanched almonds

30g pinenuts

1 pomegranate

1 bunch of Coriander

1 bunch of Parsley

500g Greek yoghurt

150ml Veggie broth

2 garlic cloves

After shredding the chicken toss in the cumin and cinnamon. Cover and set aside.

Heat oil in the pan, slice onion and cook until golden. Add in the garlic and spices. Stir for 1 minute.

Add in the mince and allow it to brown.

Place the rice into the pan and coat it in the oil and spices.

Carefully pour the broth in and season.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once cooked allow to stand for a further 15 minutes.

In this time add yoghurt, broth and garlic in a bowl. Mix and set aside.

Place chicken in a pan and reheat quickly with parsley.

Melt butter in the pan. Cook almonds for a few minutes. Add pine nuts and cook until all golden brown.

Assemble rice on a large platter. Place chicken on top.

Then the nuts and melted butter.

Parsley and coriander.

Finally organically throw your pomegranate jewels on top.

Serve with yoghurt drizzled on top and on the side with Lebanese bread.

Enjoy.

Jennifer X

The Best Lasagna You Will Ever Make!

Boy oh boy I sure do love a good lasagna. the classic beef, chicken, vegetarian and one of the most decadent to date was Jamie Oliver’s Duck Lasagna! It was everything warming, silky smooth and the flavours were off the charts good. BUT it takes 4 hours to make! Something I’ve made only twice as a special celabratory meal. In 2010 I had the brilliant opportunity to travel through Italy with my girlfriend. We ate our way around the country for 3 weeks. And my goodness we came rolling home a little wiser on the culinary delights of Italian cooking. So I started cooking the Romans famously known lasagna, however I was still adding the classic Aussie beef. Fast forward a few years later and I met James, he was working with a lovely Italian lady. She invited us over for a party and naturally served us huge lasagna’s. They tasted just like the ones back in Tuscany. Light and delicate. How is a good lasagna supposed to look on a plate? Actually like a hot mess! Not thick and clumpy, not hard. Oozy and once it hits your mouth it’s almost as if you don’t need to even chew. Different parts of Italy make lasagna slightly differently. But in my humble opinion the way I’ve perfected mine is the best (like most nonnas ha!).
If you want the best lasagna you need to make your own lasagna sheets. Now, please don’t be scared! We’ve shown quite a few people how to make pasta now and they are surprised at how simple it really is!

So folks, this is as authentic as an Italian Lasagna can get (except I’m a mother so I add as many vegetables as possible and broth…. I love watching my children chow down on veggies they normally don’t eat).

Ingredients:

  • 800g grass fed, free range any red mince meat. Pork, Veal.
  • 800g grass fed, free range beef mince.
  • 5 Garlic cloves. (only buy fresh garlic thats Australian grown. Why? (Click here and see why…)
  • 2 onions.
  • 2 carrots.
  • 2 zucchini’s.
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • (Now add anything else that might be about to turn or you’ve been dying to feed your kids… eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms etc)
  • 4 cans of Italian crushed Tomatoes (buy the ones from Italy)
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine
  • 2 Tbsp of dried Italian herbs
  • 2 cups of my housemade broth
  • A generous handful of fresh herbs;
    • Basil, Thyme, Rosemary
  • ALTERNATIVELY: If you can’t find any of these fresh herbs or they aren’t in season and a little pricey, you can use your oils.
    • 2 drops of Oregano
    • 2 drops of Basil
    • 2-3 drops of Rosemary
  • 150g Pitted Olives
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Blitz the veggies to almost a pulp except the onion.
  3. Dice the onions.
  4. Add a tablespoon of butter and Olive Oil to a large saucepan. Allow to melt.
  5. Add Onions and cook until transparent. 
  6. Add the crushed garlic, cook for 2 minutes. 
  7. Add the blitzed up veggies and cook until darkened in colour.
  8. Place the meat into the saucepan. Allow to brown. 
  9. Now add the tins of Italian Tomatoes, Broth, Red wine, Fresh Herbs, Dried herbs, Olives and the juice if you are using them. 
  10. Bring to the boil.
  11. Season well.
  12. Bring it back, cover and simmer for 3 hour hours.
  13. Once cooled add a little more fresh herbs so keep it vibrant in colours. 
  14. This is now ready to use for Bolognese or Lasagna. It makes a huge quantity for the freezer.
  15. Bechamél Sauce is the easiest thing in the world to make. Really you can find any easy recipe anywhere. James is a wizz at making the stuff. He says the perfect amount of nutmeg makes for a brilliant lasagna!
  16. To layer the lasagna use any size tray, we like to use lots of the disposable foil trays so it’s portioned perfectly and an easy pre made meal for those who are in need! No washing up necessary. 
  17. What you want to do is begin with a layer of meat sauce, pasta sheet, Béchamel and a good grating of cheddar and Parmesan Reggiano. Layer 3 times and top with the cheeses.
  18. Cook until golden and bubbly on the outside.

* note: this will make you multiple lasagnas. They freeze brilliantly for someone in need of for those busy sports evenings 😉

Jennifer X

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Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup.
I almost don’t want to share this one! It’s my favourite secret weapon. Everyone who’s tried this absolutely LOVES it! The secret to get the nutty flavouring is roast and sautée all ingredients until VERY well browned!

One whole pumpkin (I love Jap) cut up and seasoned well. And lathered in olive oil.

2 onions diced.

2 tablespoons of butter.

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil.

350g of Milk. (Or to your liking).

2 litres of chicken stock.

Nutmeg added to your liking.

Method:
Set oven to 200c.
Cook pumpkin until almost black. Yep! I’m serious.
Meanwhile melt butter and olive oil, add onions and slowly cook with the lid on simmering until dark brown.
Once pumpkin is ready place in large saucepan with the onions, add stock. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer.
Add milk, simmer for a few minutes with a good dash of nutmeg.
Season well.
BLITZ everything, including the skins until smooth and creamy.

*note, you can substitute cows milk for Almond.

* I have a large family so I tend to double this entire recipe to make 6-7 litres. I freeze it in portions. The perfect go to meal!

  • My girlfriend just added a great idea. For a change why not add a Tablespoon of my green curry pasteto create ‘Thai Pumpkin soup.’ – Thanks Loren xx

Jennifer X

Simple Curry Pastes

Alrighty, this is a winner of an idea. You can place the paste in a jar and throw a ribbon around it… or maybe not even go that far. And BOOM, a delicious homemade gift! Or keep it in the fridge for a week to use. Alternatively, this is my favourite. Freeze it up in your ice cube trays! That is the perfect portion to add into the pan to make a fast curry. I have made curry’s a lot more involved and they have been out of this world but for a weeknight meal, who has the time! Below are a few of my top picks. Remember this is a quick meal and perfect for the winter go to’s! I haven’t been able to find any recipe or play on a few that beats Jamie Olivers Red Curry. Look it up and add this to your curry repertoire.

Green Curry Paste

2-4 Large green chillies (the little ones are super hot!).

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 small Brown Onion

1 tbs Garlic

Small Bunch of Coriander leaves including their stalks

2 tsp grated Lime peel

Juice of 1 Lime

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground Coriander

1 tsp ground Cumin

1 tsp Lemongrass

1 tsp peeled Ginger

2 tsp Fish Sauce

1 tsp ground Tumeric

1 tsp oil

Yellow Curry Paste

I once made this paste for friends with 40 dried chillies!!!! Oh my, I nearly died when we cooked with it. So let’s say a few less and you might get the kids on board also.

10 small dried red Chilli’s. Soak chillies in a bowl for 3 minutes.

A good pinch of Salt

4 cloves of Garlic

1 lemongrass stalk. Peel off the outer layer and cut off the hard ends.

3 Shallots

6 inch piece of Ginger, peeled, roughly chopped.

2 tsp of Fish Sauce

2 tbps Curry Powder

1 tbsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp Tumeric

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water.

Blitz Everything, adding a little more oil, salt, juice, chilli to taste. Play around with each recipe and make it your own!

Jennifer X