Saturday, 26 July 2014


This recipe is taken from the Quirky Cooking blog and sent to my by my wonderful foodie friend, Julia. It is written for a thermomix, which I don't have, so this is my adaptation. When Julia arrived for coffee, she had just enjoyed a bowl of this soup for breakfast, and I adore Asian soups, so off to my earth garden, to dig up my homegrown turmeric and ginger, pick some fresh chives and shallots, and some coriander, and a chilli. How rewarding! I am such a fan of homemade Asian herbal and spice pastes and they are so easy to do. Fortunately, I had made a huge pot of Chicken Stock the day before so I already had my base.


1 inch fresh ginger
1/2 inch fresh turmeric
1 large clove garlic
fresh coriander or cilantro (to taste)
a few fresh chives or shallots
Coconut oil
1 Litre of home-made chicken stock

For extra nutritional qualities and zing, double the amount of ginger, turmeric, garlic, coriander and chilli (opt.) Whizz it up in your food processor or blender, it smells so good. After whizzing it up, remove half to a bowl, then add it back into the soup after it's finished cooking. That way you will get the benefit of the raw enzymes, and much more flavour!


In a large saucepan, saute the above ingredients gently in a tablespoon of coconut oil, or your choice of oil. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.

Add the following ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

  • 1 tin of coconut cream or milk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp Rapadura
  • a few good splashes of fish sauce
Add in 200-300g leftover cooked chicken or chicken reserved from making your stock. 
Simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and season if required, and if you think the soup needs some extra zing, add the extra minced herbs, garlic, ginger, etc. If not, freeze the extra paste for next time.

Pour soup into bowls, and garnish with fresh cilantro or shallots.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Rosella Jam making is a lesson in chemistry, botany and good time management but is good fun and very rewarding. I think it is the most delicious jam on the planet. Rosella jam is made from the red fleshy calyx surrounding the green seedpods. These pods need to be boiled to extract the valuable pectin, essential for the thickening of the jam. Not all homegrown Rosella fruit ripen at the same time and can be collected gradually and stored in the freezer until you have enough to make a worthwhile quantity of jam.

Separating the seedpod from the calyx can be a time consuming and tricky procedure. Courtesy of a helpful neighbour of mine, we used a modified empty bullet shell to push the seedpod up through the calyx from the base of the fruit in a very simple operation. Quite primitive but very effective. There are many homemade devices that have been used for this operation or you could just use an apple corer. Wear firm fitting gloves when removing the calyx.

Friday, 11 July 2014


Paleo style cooking can be easy  and economical. I have been cooking this dish for years using cabbage, mince and curry powder, even before Paleo became a dietary phenomena promoting a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. It is a family favourite and very easy and nutritious to make. After a successful shopping expedition to Rusty's markets in Cairns, and loaded with fresh produce, I decided that for a change, chopped kale would be a nice addition replacing cabbage, and bringing added colour, texture and nutrition to the dish.

Cabbage is more economical to buy than kale so it might be your preferred choice, and also cabbage brings a certain sweetness to the dish which contrasts nicely with the curry powder. It is a matter of choice depending on what you have on hand and prefer.

In winter, this is an especially comforting meal with that hint of spice and heat the curry powder brings. It also works very well in summer with cooling condiments on the side such as extra mango chutney.

This meal makes five individual serves which are now in the freezer for an easy midweek meal.

For travelling retirees, this is also a meal that is easily cooked with what you have on hand, in a pan on the BBQ.


500g Lean Minced Beef
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 bunch of young kale, chopped, with stalks removed (chop the stalks and microwave them to partly cook) (or subsitute 1/4 cabbage if you wish)
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
Optional: 1 tablespoon mango chutney
Optional: 1 broccoli stalk or cauliflower florets
The more veges the better.

Let's cook:

Heat the oil in a pan and lightly brown the onion and the Minced Beef until cooked.

Add the Curry Powder to the mince, and stir through, and then add the Chicken Stock. Bring to the boil. Add water as necessary if it is drying out.

Add the vegetables and reduce the dish to a simmer. Stir through mango chutney for extra flavour if desired.

When the vegetables are cooked  to the required crisp softness, but not too soft, it is ready to eat.