Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lentils and Rhubarb

It's been a very strange couple of weeks.....
As I watch my daughter's muddle through life I wonder, how can I teach them the things that I am only learning now so that their lives are easier? But I know that all I can do is sit back and watch them find their way because that's the only way we learn about life and friendships.
Only now at 37 (almost 38) can I say I really know who my true friends are.
A true friend is so many things (all of which on a daily basis, I try to drill into my elder daughters very forgiving, impressionable brain).
One in particular that I learnt this week - 'Real friends' do admit when their wrong and apologise.
In the same breath life is giving my girls and I our first taste of what its like to lose someone we love to cancer.
My gorgeous and very special friend has courageously been fighting ovarian cancer, she has fought so very hard but unfortunately for us she is slowly slipping away. 
What I learnt from her beautiful kind gentle and loving self is that she will never be far away from me or any of us that loved her, as much as we will all miss her she will always be in our memory and finely for her and her beautiful stoic parents at peace and that makes me happy. 
If I can be half the women she is I'm doing Ok!
So in celebration of her life and the re-connection with a very special friend - I made soup. Yep, soup and a few other things - because when I'm sad or happy I cook, its good for the soul.
I made a lentil and ham soup whilst catching up and having a laugh, then made my favourite breakfast - Stewed Rhubarb, yogurt with toasted almonds whilst waiting for news about Katrina.
Lentil & Ham Soup
You'll need:
1 large Ham hock - I used one from Churchill's
300g of black beluga lentils
1 large onions
4 cloves of garlic
carrots sliced thinly on the diagonal
2-3 celery stalks chopped finely
1 large sprig of rosemary
5 sage leaves
Olive oil
To garnish:
1 tomato
a handful of parsley
How I made it:
gently fry off the onion, garlic and herbs till the start to colour
Then add the hock,season with pepper and cover with water
Cover the pot and put it in a 180c oven for 1 hour
Then reduce heat to 160c and cook for a further 2 hours - or until the meat falls off the bone and the stock is deliciously fragrant.
Once cooked remove the ham from the bone and set aside.
Strain your broth into another bowl and then clean your pot.
In the clean pot put the lentils, carrot, celery and ham and then pour in the broth.
Cook for 30-45min until the lentils are cooked.
Garnish with fresh tomato, that has been skinned and de-seeded and finely chopped, along with parsley that is also finely chopped and a drizzle of olive oil
A bowl full of nourishment!
Everyone loved it, except that tricky one
she ate this....
balsamic vinegar with extra virgin oil, good bread (to dip into it), blueberries and capsicum
Then the next morning I made these....
Stewed Rhubarb with plain yogurt and toasted Almonds, drizzled with either honey or golden syrup
(which is my preference)
You'll need:
1 bunch of Rhubarb - washed and chopped into chunks
4 tablespoons of honey
1 cinnamon quill
Plain organic whole yogurt
Bio-dynamic almonds 
Golden syrup or honey to drizzle on top 
How it's made:
Boil the kettle, place the almonds in a bowl and cover with the boiled water
Give them 10 min then drain and fill with cold water - the skins should come away very easily
(see my pic below)
In a 180c oven roast the almonds until they are just colouring - don't take your eyes off them or they'll burn.
Cook the rhubarb with the honey and cinnamon on a low heat till bubbling.
Turn the heat off and the residual heat will keep cooking the rhubarb - cool
Then it's assembly time - your rhubarb should be cold now and your almonds room temp.
In a glass put a layer of the tart but sweet rhubarb, then a layer of tangy plain yogurt
topped with almonds cut in half and I like a drizzle of golden syrup - but honey is also good!
And the extra juices from the rhubarb I strained and mixed with water for Wilco - he called it cordial(not that he'd have any idea what cordial is!)

Because of you I am the mother, partner and women that you see today - you may have started out as my agent but you leave me like a mother. Thank you for the 26 years you nurtured me, I will forever be grateful that you were in my life.
Ilove you 
Michi xxx

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps


  1. Katrina would be so proud of you now and your daughters are blessed to have such an incredibly loving and perceptive mother. You won't have anything to fear with them, they will step lightly and confidently through the many challenges they will face. Love you, Marls

  2. I hope so Marls, if not I'll be calling you! love you to xx

  3. Such a beautiful tribute Michi... tears in my eyes x C

  4. Mish you're a beautiful gentle friend to your friend Katrina. And I love you're dedication to her. Thinking of you and sending a 'hand hold' from Melbourne...Another Angel Sleeps.

  5. Beautiful words Mich. Loads of love coming your way from the NK'sxxxx h

  6. I've been a bit of a 'quiet' follower but this is a beautiful post and as always, love the recipes and the photos xxx

  7. Beautifully written Mish.. Sending our Love to you and Katrina's Family.

  8. Beautiful honey.
    Tears of sorrow for the passing of Katrina and tears of joy for her friendship and guidance.
    Love always,
    Sophie X