Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happiness is.....sausage rolls for dinner!

The kids are having homemade sausage rolls for dinner - another practice run for our Tuckshop. I have made these many times, the last time being for Wilco’s first birthday and boy were they a hit!

After all, what kid doesn’t love a sausage roll?

And an egg

You’ll need:
Good quality puff pastry
500g minced meat
1 large carrot
1 medium zucchini
1 piece of bread – whizzed into crumbs
2 eggs – 1 for the meat mixture and 1 for the eggy/milky binding stuff
3 tablespoons of grated parmesan
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 sheets puff pastry
A splash of milk
Salt and pepper

How you prepare them;

Preheat your oven to 200c.

Line a baking tray with wax paper.
Grate the carrot, zucchini, onion and garlic – or you can blitz them in a food processor till they are almost mush.

Getting the sausage mixture ready, while frank was doing her homework.
Then take handfuls over a bowl or the sink and squeeze out any excess liquid. Place into your mixing bowl. Next put in your crumbs, cheese, meat and salt and pepper and mix together with your hands.

Step by step...
Now lay out your pastry, lightly flour it and give it a once over with a rolling pin. One sheet of pastry will make 2 extra long sausage rolls which you can cut into – 6 normal size or 18 mini size so times that by 2.  (Problem solver Frank, how many will we have in the end?)
Slice your first piece of pastry down the centre – horizontally, and then place your meat in the centre of that sheet in a sausage shape. Now brush the edges with the eggy mixture and carefully fold one side over, then brush again and finish by folding the other side over. Make sure the pastry has sealed together and then brush with the eggy stuff once more all over.

ready for the oven

Now I cut this into 3 and then put 3 little slits in the top of each, just so the steam can escape (it’s also handy for cutting them up once cooked).
Place on baking sheet and pop in the oven till golden and bubbling.
About 30 min, then let cool for 15 min before serving or you will have many burnt mouths.


Serve with tomato sauce and vegies of choice.

My baby's enjoying their dinner

Our table looked like this tonight:

Max and I – Shin Stew with a drizzle of chilli Olive oil

Mima and Frank – sausage rolls and broccoli

Wilco – Shin stew risotto with mini sausage rolls and broccoli

Mazzy (our dog) – Wilco’s leftover risotto and anything that hit the floor

Can you tell - Frank loved her dinner!

I warmed these up after school the next day - they were I'm told!

To reheat the next day, I cut them up into mini's and popped them into the oven at 150c for about 20min.
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Friday, February 25, 2011

A warming pot of comfort

The Cleanse continues...and the countdown is on to when we see Anthia on Saturday and all things going to plan, we get to introduce a few extra things (brown rice and quinoa, Yay)!
Max is on location this week so he needs something yummy to eat whilst working and me being a really nice girlfriend decided to make him a beef shin stew.

You’ll need:
1 ½ kilo of beef shin — cut into 2cm cubes
2 leeks – washed and chopped finely
4-5 stalks of celery (leaves and all) washed and chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic — crushed
3 medium zucchinis — cut like the carrots (see picture)
4 medium to large carrots — peeled and cut as photo
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon rosemary — fresh and chopped finely
1 tablespoon sage — fresh and chopped finely (about 6 largish leaves)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and pepper

Let the cooking begin:
Get your cooking pot (preferably a le crueset or something similar)
Melt your butter with the oil and sauté your leeks and celery till they begin to pick up a hint of colour. Then add the garlic, bay, sage and rosemary and give it a good stir and cook for a further 5 min…
Step by step...

Then scoop the leeks, celery, garlic and herbs out and set aside in another bowl.
While the pan is super hot add another splash of oil and then throw your meat in. The meat will go mental because the pan is so hot, that’s what you want, this means it will colour really well and be extra delicious.
Once your meat has sealed all over (this just means, browned — no longer raw) pop back in your leeks etc…and stir them together. Oh, and don’t forget to season each step with a little salt and pepper.
Now add the carrots and then put enough water in so the meat and other goodies are well covered. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and check for any scum (those foaming impurities) that might come to the surface and remove with a spoon.
Now put your pot into the oven on 100c (or lower if your fan doesn’t turn off) no fan and leave for 8 hours - 10 hours (I cooked mine when the kids went to bed last night around 8 and pulled it out of the oven this morning at 8)!

And just before I went to bed last night I popped in the zucchini.
So Max and Jemima had a delicious lunch for work and school and we also have dinner tonight - perfect!

Stew and brown rice risotto

Ideally you would serve this with brown rice or quinoa (even pasta would be delicious).
It’s more like a soup than a stew, a warming bowl of comfor - yum!
This served the 2 of us for dinner, lunch for max — twice, lunch for Jemima and I - once and one serve in the freezer for a rainy day. 
So lets say it would serve 8 generously with a grain.
Parmesan cheese on top is a must.
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beetroot Chocolate Brownies

I’m in recipe practice mode for our new tuckshop at school.
I want to make yummy food that is as healthy as possible without being boring.
So this afternoon I decided to make Beetroot Brownie’s. I’ve made many brownies in my years of cooking and always thought they were pretty insane. 
Till today!
My self-set goal was to make a healthy brownie (or at least as healthy as a brownie can be), so I went to one of my favourite cookbooks, by one of my favourite Authors ‘River Cottage everyday' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
He has a brownie recipe in which he uses beetroot. What made me think of this was that I was watching him on t.v and he was making this very brownie, and being on my cleanse I was dreaming of eating it and so I thought, if I can't enjoy one then at least my children and their friends can enjoy them.
But me being me I couldn’t just follow the recipe, I had change it, just a little. 
I wanted to make a recipe the other mum’s(who were on tuckshop duty) could cook easily if need be and it had to be gluten free, as there are many children who have wheat allergies and I wanted to cut the sugar content down too.
you will also need eggs
You will need;
250g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate 70% (2 and a bit blocks)
250g beetroot (2 medium beets)
3 eggs
150g raw sugar
100ml agave
100g brown rice flour
50g Quinoa flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground vanilla powder
a pinch of salt

What your going to have once you've finished

Ok this is how we do it;
Preheat your oven to 180c
Line a baking tray with wax paper ready for when we need it. (my tray measured 30cm x 10cm and it’s about 5cm deep)
Start with boiling your beetroot (I gave them a scrub before putting them in the pot), boil till you can easily insert a knife into the centre. Once they are cooked let them cool then grate them and set aside.

grated beets

Now melt your butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, once the mixture melts and you have stirred it well, take it off the heat and let it cool a little while you get the other things moving, oh and add your 100ml of agave and give it a stir.

Chocolate and egg mix

In my pride and joy (my Kitchen Aid) I whisked 3 eggs with the 150g sugar till light and fluffy. Then slowly poured in the chocolate mixture and kept whisking till it was all combined.

step by step folding in
Measure out your flours, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
Then as Hugh says, with a metal spoon fold in the flour mixture (I sifted this in to the bowl) carefully, so it’s all just combined. Then add the grated beetroot and again carefully fold it in.

Now get your baking tin and pour the mixture in and spread evenly, pop into your pre-heated oven and cook for 20-30 min depending on your oven (check after 20 min, it should look like my photo and when you stick a knife in it will come out clean).

Leave to cool slightly before de-moulding, then slice into squares and eat warm (amazing) or cold (equally amazing).

I, of course, being on my cleanse could not indulge (but I did have a tiny corner just to check I wasn’t poisoning the children) and can I just say, best brownies I have ever made (handsdown)! Frank and her friend Pea inhaled them (of course none the wiser of what was in them). 
Then I took some to my next door neighbour and her son (I told her what was in them but not Alex, and he gave me a 9 ½ out of 10), then I took some to Pea’s mum, (can you tell, I just needed to get them out of the house fast!) Then Mima and Wilco got them for dessert. Mima, I knew would love them and Wilco loved them so much that he couldn’t talk because his mouth was crammed with brownie, he couldn’t get it in fast enough.

So this recipe is a winner with the kids and the adults, a definite for our new tuckshop.
Enjoy! x

Mouth watering

By the way I got my new camera...can you tell? If you want to in-large my photos just click on them. x
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I’ve been a little slack with my posting this week, but I’d like to just put it out there that Max and I are cleansing. This may sound weird to some of you, but we do it 4 times a year and as torturess as it sounds, we always feel much better after doing it!
Anyway we started on Monday and are finally through the worst of it (sugar cravings, no energy etc..). Because I am unable to eat certain things, I have spent the last 6 days focusing on what to cook day to day.
The things I will try to cook this week are;
Páte – which I have never attempted — but LOVE. (my mum used to make it when we were little)
Summer vegetable soup
And stewed apples with berries (you'd be amazed how good this tastes when your not allowed anything sweet)
Oh and stock.
I’ve also been without camera this week as Max has been working, but I’m happy to say I am getting my own camera. Fingers crossed it will arrives this week — so excited!!

Anyway we can eat pesto on our cleanse, not with pasta but with chicken or fish so I thought why not? Simple, I know, but we like simple!
I have 2 variations on pesto and here they are;

Traditional-(my traditional)
1 large bunch of basil washed and de-leaved
1 handful of toasted pine nuts
1 cup full of finely grated parmesan
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of agave
1 garlic clove – minced
salt and pepper
enough good extra virgin olive oil to combine


My other version;
1 bunch of rocket (from our garden)
½  bunch of basil (the same as above)
1 handful of almonds (for our cleanse we soak our almonds over night then dry them out in a very low oven, for 24hours)
1 cup of best quality organic parmesan (I use a buffalo milk parmesan) finely grated
A squeeze of lemon
1 – 2 cloves of garlic (I love garlic so I use 2)
A teaspoon of agave (but only after week two of our cleanse)
Salt and pepper
And lastly Nolans Road extra virgin olive oil

 How I make it;

Pop the leaves into a whizzer (food processor)
Then add the nuts and garlic and then blitz,
Add lemon, agave, salt and pepper (not to much you can adjust once finished)
Then the cheese and oil
Whizz till it is paste consistency

This is what it looks like before the oil

Store 1/2 in a jar, covered well with olive oil and then pop the other 1/2 into Pyrex container and freeze.

This is delicious spread on toast with sliced tomato, mixed with pasta and a spoonful of ricotta or pasta with green beans and potato and then mix in the pesto (I think this is called ‘pesto alla Genovese’?) both are great for school lunch boxes, mixed through an omelette with goats cheese or a dollop in a bowl of vegetable soup mmmm…

This is the perfect consistency
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The house is quiet....

il migliore 
                                                  A moment of quiet,
Music lessons done.
Birthday party done.
 Sleeping baby. 
Time for a cup of tea and something sweet. Toffee Apples too die for, washed down with the most divine French tea I have ever tasted.

Thanks Marls - Heaven!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Friday, February 11, 2011

My biggest baby is home!


After 3 day’s at school camp all I want to do is pick mima up, bring her home, get her cosy and feed her a delicious comforting meal.
And as I forgot to ask her what she wanted before she left, it was up to frank and I to come up with something special!
What do I usually make her when she comes home from camp? Frank suggests “Lasagne” as this is hand’s down one of Mima’s most favourite meal. 
Lasagne it is!
Depending on what’s in season, I have 4 variations on my lasagne:
1.      Traditional meat with béchamel
2.      Meat with spinach and ricotta
3.      Spinach and ricotta — and sometimes a little roasted pumpkin
4.      And last but not least, my most popular  - roast pumpkin, roast beetroot, spinach and ricotta.
So today after school, I will pop into my local (organic store) and see if they have any beetroot.
I always have Bolognese in my freezer and frozen organic spinach, so worst case scenario is the meat one, but Mima’s favourite is the beetroot, so fingers crossed.
And for the record this version doesn’t taste like its full of vegies. I once made it for Jemima and Frank’s whole school (200 kids)! And every child ate it. It is pink inside and is very pleasing on the eye and your tummy.
The roast vegies before and after
*Went to the farmer’s market and got beetroot, but they were quite large, so I only used 2 and I peeled them.
I started to prep the lasagne at 12.30, it’s now 1.45 and I’ve finished the roasting of the veg (they are cooling on the table snug under a tea towel) and the red sauce.
Snug as a bug 
I forgot the spinach (which I thought I had in my freezer), so I’ll have to pick some up after school.
You will need:
2 box’s of organic lasagne sheets or 2 packets of fresh lasagne sheets (I always grab an extra just incase).

325g Ricotta – give or take a couple of grams, mine just happens to be that much. I use the Bio-Dynamic Mungalli Creek whole milk ricotta
200g Frozen spinach – thawed in a pan with a little butter on low heat

¼ pumpkin; cut into large chunks, skin and all. Seasoned and drizzled and popped on a lined baking tray along with the beets and roasted in the oven on 180c until caramelised and soft. Once cooked, it will be very easy to scrape all the pumpkin flesh of the skins — and then you can eat the skins with a little sea salt.
4 small beetroots peeled or scrubbed and then cut into smaller wedges, as these take longer to cook than the pumpkin.
Cheese for the top – I’m divided, I think ordinary cheese mixed with good parmesan is fine for the top, but Jemima is a cheese connoisseur and always wants Buffalo mozzarella. So that is what it will be today! 
plus a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Red sauce

1 bottle of passata
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 onion cut in half
1 large carrot, also cut in half
1 bay leaf
A few basil leaves
In olive oil — about 3 tablespoons, fry off your onion, garlic and carrot on a medium heat, until they start to get a little colour. Season with pepper and salt.
Being careful, add your tomatoes and passata — stand back as it may spit.
Season again and bring the heat down to the lowest and simmer for about 30min (there should only be a blip — if you know what I mean) oh and pop in your bay and basil. (my sauce was ready in 45min)
This is just how I make my sauce. Of course would prefer to have my very own Nonna cooking it for me, but unfortunately, no can do!
*Remove onion and carrot before using, then use the carrot with pasta for baby's dinner.
(onion and carrot purely for flavouring the sauce)

Back to the lasagne-

Béchamel sauce:
I used Delia’s basic white sauce and added nutmeg.
the making of the filling
The beetroot/pumpkin mixture:
In a whizzer blend the pumpkin, beetroot, spinach and ricotta and a handful of Parmesan cheese, until it is a smooth-ish paste — oh and don’t forget to season. Set aside in a bowl.
OK let’s get assembling…
Preheat your oven to 180c
Get your baking dish and it goes like this:
1.A little béchamel and red sauce down the bottom of the baking dish to coat it. Then we start layering.
2.Pasta sheets, layer evenly
3.Then a ladle of red sauce, sprinkle parmesan cheese (just a little)
4.Pasta again
5.Sauce again
6.Pasta again
7.Your beet / pumpkin mix — use half the mixture and spread evenly.
8.Pasta again
9.Sauce again
10.Pasta again
11.Your beet / pumpkin mix — use half the mixture and spread evenly.
12.Pasta again
Into the oven....and out
Then finally the rest of the béchamel plus the last little bit of sauce, dotted all over the top and then finish with your cheese of choice.
Cover with wax paper and foil and bake in the oven for 30mins covered. Then check your pasta is cooked and rip the paper off and let the top turn brown and bubbling (it will need to cook for a further 15 – 20min depending on your oven).
I am going to have one happy 11 year old tomorrow  — well here’s hoping!!
Serve with salad or as Jemima prefers, cut up raw vegies.
To make this recipe gluten free, just swap wheat pasta for a quinoa or rice lasagne sheet's and swap béchamel for a little cream instead.

In the end with these ingredients, I have made one small Cannelloni PLUS 1 large Lasagne. The Cannelloni was eaten on Mima's return and served 2 or 3. The Lasagne was enough to feed 8 easily (eaten tonight by jemima's friend Layla and her familyand us)!
I even had enough sauce left  for 1 pizza, popped in the freezer.
It is really worth ago - even Frank commented on how good it smelt and her words not mine “one day far away, I might try it”. I’m happy with that!

Dinner last night at our house went like this:
Welcome home dinner for Mima – cannelloni with raw vegies
Frank – Pan fried John Dory with crispy pink (princess) potatoes and raw vegies

Wilco – Crispy pink potatoes with the leftover stock from the night before cooked with wilco’s favourite, carrots and rice to make a kind of risotto. It was delicious.
Max and me — the left over cold cannelloni from jemima’s dinner and wilco’s leftover risotto.

Tonight we all had Lasagne - except for frank who had a toasted cheese sandwich with vegies.

It’s always busy in my kitchen.....

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps