Mama C’s Spaghetti Bolognese

It’s about time I posted this goodie! There’s isn’t a kid I know that doesn’t like Spaghetti…. however once you try mine I can guarantee you would of spoilt them and they will never like anyone else’s.

Keeping things as authentic as I can, this recipe tasted just like the Bolognese I ate throughout Italy.

My secret is in my own sauce. Don’t go buying jars of it if you can. I make mine in bulk and freeze it up for whenever I need.

Ingredients:

* 1 brown Onion

* 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

* 3 Garlic Cloves finely diced

* 1 cup of my sauce or 2 Tbsp of Tomato Paste

* 3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

* 1 Carrot Grated

* 500g good organic Beef Mince

* 1 whole pack of Italian Spaghetti Pasta (or housemade)

* Good Pinch of Paprika

* Salt and Pepper to taste

* Parmesan Block to grate

* Fresh Parsley

Method:

Cook pasta to your liking.

Fry onion in Olive Oil for 3 minutes until soft.

Add garlic and continue on a medium heat for 2 minutes.

Add carrot for another minute.

Now add your mince, allow to brown. add Rosemary Oil, Paprika, Salt and Pepper.

Once the meat is browned add in one cup of my tomato sauce or if you don’t have any 2 Tbsp of tomato paste.

Allow to simmer to reduce the sauce down. Once it’s reduce ladle about 1- 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water into the sauce.

Continue to simmer for 20 minutes up to 1 hour with the lid on.

Toss some of the sauce through the pasta. Plate up in a huge bowl or platter.

Ladle more Bolognese on top.

Grate cheese and chop Parsley to scatter on top.

A small drizzle of Olive Oil never hurt anyone.

Serve with sourdough and a bottle of your best red!

This meal will serve 10-12 people.

Enjoy

Jennifer X

Real Hummus

Ever wondered why your homemade Hummus didn’t taste like the stuff you eat when dining at a Middle Eastern Restaurant? I’m sure all my Middle Eastern friends who read this will laugh at me… it actually took me about 9 months to test, try and research to finally find the most AUTHENTIC recipe. Honestly!! I would ask anyone I could and they would give me some recipe using canned chickpeas… I mean, there won’t no cans of chickpeas in the old days. I wanted the most original and best recipe I could find.

So here goes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Dried Chickpeas
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2- 2 1/2 Lemons (taste as you go)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp Chilled Water
  • 1/2 tsp Bi Carb Soda

Method:

  1. Soak and cover chickpeas overnight
  2. Boil chickpeas in water with 1/2 tsp bicarb soda until soft
  3. Drain
  4. In a processor add all ingredients. Taste and add a little more of what you desire… could be garlic, cumin, lemon juice.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of Olive Oil, Paprika and flat bread.

Yum.

Jennifer X

Ps: the will give me 3 contains worth. I freeze 2 of them and thaw when needed. I’m our family we go through one a week. So I make a fresh batch every 3 weeks! X

Sausage Rolls (2 Ways)

This is a standard meal in our home. It’s always served with Noah’s famous Greek Salad and plenty of Tomato Ketchup!

500g Organic Beef Mince

3 sheets of Puff Pastry

1 Onion Diced

2 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 Carrot Grated

1 Zucchini Grated

1 Egg (plus one lightly beaten as a wash)

1 tsp Dried Mixed Herbs

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Salt and Pepper

OR

500g Organic Pork Mince

3 Sheets of Puff Pastry

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion Diced

2 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 Carrot Grated

1 Egg

1/4 cup Apple, grated

1 1/2 tsp of Fennel Seeds (smash them down a little)

1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp Dried Thyme leaves

Salt and Pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 190c

Fry onion and garlic in a little olive oil to caramelise. (Add fennel and apple if making Pork Sausage Rolls when almost ready add vinegar, stir in and take off the heat)

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix.

Divide into 3 portions. Place the meat in the middle of the pastry.

Fold pastry gently around the mixture. Secure with egg wash.

Brunch the egg on top and sprinkle with Sesame Seeds.

Cook until lovely and golden.

Enjoy!

Jennifer X

Mama C’s Stuffed Peppers

I’ve said it before, I can’t get enough of Middle Eastern flavours. Each bite feels like I’ve been teleported back in time to an age long ago. And in the beauty of it- these flavours are still used and cooked to this day. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation and special secrets are added along the way. The spices are just as beautiful and vibrant and the flavours never disappoint.

Here’s my own take on Stuffed Capsicums. You can always use Zucchinis or tomatoes. This is one I’ll be passing down to my children and I they no doubt will pass the recipe along to their families too.

Ingredients:

6-8 fresh Capsicums (a variety of colours looks pretty)

500g Organic Beef Mince

1 cup of Basmati and Wild Rice combined.

3 Tbsp Pine Nuts fried in a little butter

3 Tbsp Olive Pil

2 Large Onions finely chopped

4-6 Cloves of Garlic crushed

100 g Fresh Tomatoes crushed or canned (organic is best)

1 Grated Carrot

¼ tsp Tumeric

½ tsp Cumin

1 tsp Paprika

Salt and Pepper

Handful chopped fresh Coriander

Small handful chopped fresh Parsley

½ cup Chicken Broth

Tomato Broth

400g can chopped Tomatoes

2 cups of Chicken Stock (or as much as required to cover the vegetables half way up.)

Dash of Cumin

Dash of Paprika

2 cloves of Garlic crushed

Method:

Preheat oven to 185c

Cook rice according to packet instructions. Rinse. Set aside to cool

Slice the tops of the capsicums off and reserve to use later as a lid

Cut out the inner seeds and white flesh

Char around the outsides of all capsicums giving some nice black bits. (Adds a great flavour)

Heat oil in a pan

Cook onions and garlic

Once they look translucent add your spices and cook through

Add the beef and brown nicely

Season

In a bowl mix the meat mixture with the rice, stock, pine nuts and fresh herbs.

In a deep dish fill each capsicum leaving 1cm for filling to expand then place the capsicum lids on top

Combine tomato broth ingredients and mix well.

Drizzle all over the Capsicums, filling it up to half way. Add some filtered water if you need to.

Cover with foil and cook for 40-50minutes until nice and soft.

Serve with flatbread and garlic dip.

Enjoy

Jennifer X

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

I’ve been kicking myself for the past few years. I can count the amount of times I’ve cooked this dish on one hand. Don’t let that change your mind about trying this recipe. I should of cooked it A WHOLE LOT more! And I intend to. I’m not lying when I say, it’s the best lamb I have EVER tasted! It falls apart, it melts in your mouth and the flavours. My oh my! I’ve really made this dish my own. Don’t be scared to play around with it to create your own special version of this stunning recipe.

Okay, Let’s do this!!

Chemoula Paste

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small brown onion, chopped

1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves

1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons mild paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

Tagine Ingredients

Organic Lamb shoulder (nice and large)

2 Red Onions quartered

2 Fresh quinces quartered

5 Fresh whole figs or 8 dried

Small handful of Apricots

Manuka or Raw Honey

Raw Almonds

Butter for frying

Pomegranate

Method:

Preheat oven to 150c

Blend all Chermoula ingredients in a processor. Cut small incisions all over the lamb. Smother the lamb shoulder in the paste. Allow it to marinate overnight.

Using a large Dutch Oven add a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Brown the onions and quince. Once brown transfer to a plate.

Brown the outside of the lamb all over to seal in the flavours. Place onions, quince, apricots, figs all around the lamb. Fill the oven with filtered water up to 1/3 of the way. Making sure it’s not covering your lamb.

Drizzle with honey all over.

Place in oven and cook for 1 hour.

Take out, baste the lamb in its juices. Add a little more water if it looks dry. (Mine never does, I’m sure you’re on the right track.)

Drizzle a little more honey and cook until your liking.

Take out if the over, keep covered.

Fry a handful of almonds in butter until browned.

Scatter almonds, pomegranate seeds and some parsley and corriander leaves.

Serve with flat bread, Cous Cous and dips.

Enjoy Every Bite!

Jennifer X

Have you thought of everything when preparing for baby?!

Here I am, 38 weeks pregnant with our fifth child! It’s all getting so close now. It’s all so exciting… the kids are buzzing, heck mum and dad are buzzing. I’ve finally set up my birthing area and it feels quiet and cosy. I have my diffuser with oils, candles, towels, soft mats and Bible Verses scattered around my room to provide me with the assurance I need. I look at my birthing space multiple times a day and know soon I will be there. I picture myself in that little area. I can see me breathing through each surge- preparing to welcome our baby. 

I find the more times I prepare for the arrival of each of our children the more prep I do. I add another idea, something to make our lives easier or healthier or manageable. Just little things to keep our family strong while we are in that little newborn bubble of love. And let’s face it. We are a large family. These little tricks done early enough bring about the peace and quiet time I cannot wait for. A time where we just be together, not doing, just being. No distractions, slowing down.

So here it is, my list of ideas provided you’ve already got all the baby essentials and your hospital bag packed. (See here for my baby essential ideas).

The month or two before bub arrives I make litres and litres of broth and chicken stock (if I’m in a hurry). I then create soups, stews, bolognese And lasagnas out of the rich nutritious broth! We pack all these into the freezer in containers. And it lasts us months! Mama gets a break and daddy has the pressure taken off him also. 

I will say here, be kind to yourself and pick recipes (because you are heavily pregnant) that is slow cooker friendly or where you can leave it simmering without watching over it! Summer babies are a little easier with food preparation. We had plenty or fresh salads and BBQS!

So, you’re food is sorted. Let me ask you, when was the last time you changed your bedding? Technically we should be doing it once every two weeks. And we certainly try to. HOWEVER, right about now is a good time to strip the beds and wash them. You want to do this one or two weeks before baby is born. 

Try your best to use low to no toxins in your wash. It can be incredibly harmful for you and your children’s skin. Pick a sunny day to dry them out on the line if you can. Sunshine is a natural steriliser. It kills germs. When you make your new baby’s bassinet/cot up with bedding, don’t make it too early. It becomes a dust catcher. You will know when it’s a good time, do so and then cover it with another sheet. That way the sheet catches the dust and you can wash that easily, not worrying about setting up the bed all over again…. I know, you’re welcome 😉 

I’ve linked the wash I use here. (Check out my gorgeous friends Essential Oil page. Well worth it!). 

My friend, if I can make time to make this simple, pure, clean wash then I know you can. Try it out!

HOLD ON!!!! Before washing those extra clean, soft sheets you need to do something hardly anyone I know does! Clean you washing machine and dryer! Look at your user manual… get it out and read about how to clean these machines. If not, call the manufacturer and ask them to email you a copy. It’s worth it. As for the barrel and where you place your washing detergent this is how I like to clean it. 

  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of bicarbonate Soda
  • 6-10 drops of lemon essential oil 

Then put a small amount of this recipe into where you place the detergent and fabric softener. 

Click the self clean cycle, or your longest cycle. I like to have my water nice and hot also! Easy peasy! Don’t forget to drain out your pipes to clean out that dirty water also. All this takes us 5 minutes! Then we come back 2 hours later to a sparkling and fresh smelling washing machine. 

Ok, we’ve washed the sheets. CHECK. Made the fresh beds up (who am I kidding, I can’t do anything at this stage in pregnancy when it comes to manual labour. Find someone to help you! James makes the beds in our house.) 

We also use these last few weeks to get a check up at the Drs. The whole family goes. We don’t want to pass any little germs onto baby. They go through enough with labour. It’s their time to get strong and chub up!

Besides the food, bedding and doctors we buy those yummy little chocolate worming tablets…. um, no, I’m happy to report we’ve actually never had worms (maybe it’s the homeschoolers environment, not surrounded by tonnes of kids. Ha) but we try to remember to do this at least twice a year. And also one week before baby is born. 

Tick!! That’s another strange thing we do that not many people think about. 

If you have other siblings for baby, think about what you would like them to wear for those first precious photos. Have a place where they are packed away and ready for daddy to dress the kids. That way there’s no confusion and you’re not bombarded with questions right after birth like ‘what do I put the kids in? Is it warm enough? Where’s such and such’s pants?

It’s a good idea to show the kids what they will be wearing too. So they are on board and there’s no tantrums etc. 

We also disinfect everything. I make a simple spray using EDENS GARDEN Guardian and Fighting Five. I also have a spray to cleanse the rooms where I just buy it. I don’t make this one myself. Click here

Have all your vitamins and healthy kits ready to go for when bub arrives. So everyone is building up a strong immunity. We are about to purchase our very first homeopath kit. I’m so excited! And begin to make incredible Elderberry Syrup. I’ll add my recipe to the blog in the next few weeks! I promise it will be easy. 

Now let’s talk mama to be. What will help you most to be ready to endure labour? Exercise, plenty of water, meditation, reading? All these things I believe are vital! Do them! And do them as often as you can.

I’ve been meditating on God’s promises to me through His word. This is strengthening my mind for the road ahead. Drinking lots of water and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea! Giving my body the energy stores it needs. Taking the right tablets for my body, trying to sleep (damn insomnia) and one week before baby girl is due I have my hair booked in, mani, pedi and a lash treatment! (I know!!! I won it with the best in the biz. Genesis of Nellie and Ellie! I keep saying this will be my most glamorous labour haha). But seriously, be ready the way you want and need to be. Talk to your partner about what you need and how he can support you best. Talk about your birth plan and how you would like it to go. They are your biggest support. After all, you are carrying their child 😉 

Talk often as a family and pray together about your life and the new baby. Chat to your children about what you expect from each of them. According to their age and what they can manage. At the moment Noah has the idea baby will be sleeping in his room (at 3am I will be wishing ha ha) and Scarlet thinks she will be wearing her all day when she is playing and schooling. Aquila acts out where she will sit on my bed to rock the bassinet! It’s all soooooo cute! And I adore them with all my heart for thinking like this- and they can do some of those things. Just not to the full extent. Welcome it, explain how important they are in this family and how much you appreciate their help daily and even more once baby arrives. But also remind them, they too are your babies and you love them just as much and want to dote on them also! Allow for those moments too… probably when baby is sleeping!

And that’s it from me… for now! Just a few little extra things you can do to prepare and to be the best for your family. You can feel ready for baby to grow and thrive. 

I would love to know if there is anything out of the box you do to prepare for a new baby? Something no one ever talks or thinks about! 

Here’s to preparing your home now to reap the rewards later. Breath, and be in the moment. In the present, with your whole family.

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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