Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yay it's cold!

I know I know everyone is probably not very happy that it is pouring with rain and the skies are grey – except me! Our family loves this kind of weather, maybe it’s because I’m from Melbourne, but I am so happy when the sky gets grey and it’s cold and raining, time to start cooking warm and comforting things to eat,
like soup…

I’ve been searching for organic heirloom tomatoes for what seems like a lifetime, no one seems to have them, so I have a collection of whatever organic tomatoes I could get my hands on, to make my tomato soup.
Autumn for me, is the perfect time of year for a warming bowl of soup served with some toasted bread with garlic and oil, for lunch or dinner.
There's nothing better if you ask me...I could live on soup.

I’m not really sure how many tomatoes I ended up with for my soup(see my photo).
But there was a lot. 
Roasting them first will give them a concentrated, delicious sweet flavour.
And it’s so easy, put everything in a baking tray, pop in the oven and leave for 3 hours on a low heat – nothing to it. 
Blend, sieve and serve.

Preheat your oven to 180c, then turn it down to 150c when you put your tray in.
(Always keep an eye out - as all ovens are different, I have a crap oven – with the fan on at 150c it’s more like 180c)

You’ll need roughly:

3kg of tomatoes – mixed varieties – washed and cut in quarters
(Heirloom tomatoes would be unbelievable)

1 small head of garlic – smashed with a knife (skins removed)

2 medium purple onions (skins removed) cut into quarters

2 red or yellow capsicum (optional – I’ve never used them before, but they were delicious) de-seeded and cut up roughly

1 long red chilli (again optional – and not used prior to this batch) cut in half,
remember to de-seed the chilli if you don't like it hot and don't use chilli if your making it for the kidlets.

3 stalks of fresh pungent rosemary

A handful of sage (my favourite)

A good slug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – about ½ cup (remembering this is going to help make the liquid for your soup)

Lots of Salt and pepper – remember tomatoes and salt – match made in heaven!

Also a tablespoon of sugar if your making this in the wrong season and your tomatoes aren’t so special!

Pop it all in your tray and mix well, they place in your preheated oven and forget about it for at least 3 hours.

Once cooked let cool a little then blitz the tomato mixture in a blender or food processor till super smooth. 
Then pass it through a sieve, so there is no bits (stalks and skins). 
Put the tomato soup in a saucepan and check consistency – this makes enough for 8 entrees 6 mains. 
I will freeze half of the soup and the other half I added ½ cup of milk (to thin it out a little) and 100ml cream (or however much you like)and warmed gently on a low heat.

A drizzle of oil, a spoon full of pesto, some hot toasted garlicky, oily bread and you're ready to get cosy and eat!
Mangia, Mangia!!!

*To make the basil oil: 
In a mortar and pestle put a few leaves of basil and 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
work your magic
drizzle in your bowl of soup

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Morning's

Sunday mornings….

It’s Sunday again and this morning as happens on many Sundays, we have extra tummies to feed.
Mima had all her girlfriends from school over for a sleepover last night.
Avocado facials, homemade pizza…too many lollies, finished off with a nightcap of hot chocolate with cinnamon. 
I’m sure there wasn’t any sleep before midnight, but hey you're only 11 once!

So this morning as happens every Sunday, of every week, Max makes his world famous pancakes (crepes) and they are hands down the best pancakes I’ve ever had!
(Actually they are on parr with my Aunty Marika’s, she also makes a mean pancake).

So this morning Max is cooking pancakes for Mima, her friends and Wilco.
Served with a raspberry smoothie (made by me) and toppings of their choice…Nutella, Apricot jam, Maple syrup, Maple & lemon or Lemon & sugar.

I will be writing this as I photograph Max making them, so hopefully I can keep up!
There are few things I can’t cook…or won’t! And this is one!
It’s almost like my brain is programmed to stuff it up – scared that Max will pass the duties on to me.
So I am banned from the kitchen on Sunday morning’s, which suits me just fine – sleep in for me – cleaning the kitchen and making pancakes, Max.

But this morning I had to get up to photograph the master at work and help out with the troops.

His batter will feed a family of 5, 2-3 pancakes per person and a little batter left over for the kids breakfast on Monday morning.

Max’s recipe goes like this:

3 cups of flour (plain organic)

½ teaspoon fine salt

3 large eggs (organic of course)

3 cups of milk (whole or milk of choice)

75g unsalted butter – melted on a low heat – leave to cool

The batter should resemble thin pouring cream – he tells me.

How the batter should look

First he siffs the flour in a bowl with the salt...

Then the eggs go in...

Followed by the milk...

Then the melted butter...

Whisking at each step

Make a mess!

With a little help from Wilco (usually it’s Frank but she’s not home).

He tells me the mixture isn’t runny enough, so he adds 1½ glasses of water.

The master at work
Now he gets his crepe pan to just the right temp – this really just comes with practice. (by the way, we bought him his pan for Christmas, because the master needs the right tools to produce the goods and boy does he produce!)

You’ll have to follow my photo’s now because it all goes so fast and I’m in charge of topping and serving the pancakes.

What I know is he uses a ladle which is his exact measurement for the amount he needs per crepe, he puts a little butter on the hot pan and disperses it with a paper towel around the pan evenly, then laddles on his mixture uses his crepe tool (see above)to spread the batter and waits for the signs that it’s cooked – which is when he moves it about then flips it, all upthey cook for a minute or two.
Then on to the plate…repeat!

(can I just say, you don't need to go and buy that spreader thing he has, just swirl the mixture around your pan - it will work just the same - this is how max has done it for the last 10 years)

Maple & Lemon

The perfect pancake

To accompany the pancakes I made the girls a Raspberry Smoothie, which even my milk and yogurt loathing daughter, Frank, will drink.

Today I made enough for 6 – I used:

4 glasses of whole unhomogenised milk

4 tablespoons of Marrook maple/vanilla whole yogurt

4 tablespoons of honey, agave or maple syrup

2 cups frozen raspberries (or any frozen fruit – measurements don’t need to be exact)

Put it all in a blender and wiz till smooth (my blender broke, so I used a food processor which worked fine)

The girls had 2 glasses each and Wilco had 1.

Max blended a raw egg in the leftover, so he also had a large glass full.

Everyone is now super full and happy, ready for Frank’s first soccer match ever.

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lucky you Juice cleanse

A girlfriend of mine has a juice cleansing business Lucky You Cleanse
She has asked me to come up with a few recipes to go along with her mini juice cleanse. The recipes need to be healthy, vegetarian and easy. Perfect!
I need to come up with two-breakfast option and two dinner options…I did one better than that – I came up with 3 of each!
Heidy’s juices are mainly Organic (when produce allows) and super delicious (I’m not sure it’s very torturous being on one of her cleanses!)She has an incredible juicer that literally presses all the goodness out of her ingredients and leaves all the nutrients, vitamins etc whole...
I’ve been known to stop by her shop to see if there are any leftover juices I can purchase and my kids (especially frank) would happily drink one everyday.

So this was going to be fun and I’m always happy to help out a friend!

BREAKFAST goes like this:

Day 1 - Quinoa Porridge with Fresh Berries (or frozen berries), coconut and agave

You’ll need:

1 ½ cups of quinoa (or roughly half the box about 200g) – soaked over night in filtered water in the fridge, then rinsed well before cooking

3 cups of milk (whole unhomogenised, almond milk, goats milk or even water)

agave to taste – 2 tablespoons

½ teaspoon cinnamon

a few drops of vanilla extract

handful of berries

coconut to garnish

                                                               To cook:

Serves 2 for 2 days.

Pop your rinsed quinoa in your saucepan with the milk, agave, cinnamon and vanilla

Stir well and bring to the boil

Once boiling turn the heat down low and simmer till cooked (around 15min)

To serve put into bowls with a little extra milk and top with berries, coconut and another drizzle of agave.

With the leftover porridge from the morning add a little more milk (about ½ cup) mix well and divide between 2 glasses, cover and pop in the fridge for the next morning – couldn’t be easier than that!

Day 2 – Quinoa Pots with Whole Milk Yogurt, Berries and Coconut – (this is a cold breakfast)

Get your already cold Quinoa glasses out of the fridge, top with yogurt, berries and coconut – eat – Yum!!!

Day 3 – Baked Eggs with Tomato and Goats Cheese – the leftover cheese and tomatoes we’ll use for the frittata.

You’ll need for 1 person:

A small ramekin suitable for the oven

Preheat your oven to 180c

2 eggs

Small handful of baby tomatoes – cut in half

As much or as little fresh curd cheese (max made his own so we used that, but a soft goats curd would be perfect)

1 tablespoon chopped chives

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 small garlic clove

Rub your baking dish with the oil and garlic clove the whole way around

Then pop the dish in the oven to warm up (around 10 min will do)

Carefully take it out with a tea towel – being careful not to burn yourself and place it on the tea towel ready to assemble your ingredients

You’ll need to work fast or your dish will cool down and it won’t work as well

Put your eggs in and then your tomatoes, cheese and chives – season with salt and pepper and put back in the oven for 15 – 20 min

Serve with toasted sourdough bread rubbed with the garlic and drizzled with olive oil

Might I just add that I had two stalks of rainbow chard (spinach) leftover from my frittata and steamed vegies, that would have been delicious in my baked eggs.

But sadly I’d made the baked eggs the day before!

Dinner options are:
Raw Root Vegetable Salad with Coriander, Avocado, Goat’s Cheese and Sesame Seeds

For 2 people I used:

1 large carrot - grated

1 beetroot – peeled and grated

1 small piece of pumpkin (about as much as I used for the steamed vegies – see photo) - grated

(I would have used a small zucchini – grated - but I only bought one and I used it for the steamed vegies and the frittata)

½ an avocado sliced finely in the skin, then scoop it out and squeeze lemon juice over the slices

Goat’s cheese crumbled on top

A sprinkling of sesame seeds

1 handful of coriander – washed well and chopped finely

Mix your salad together and then dress it with the juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil – mix again gently – then eat!

Lightly Steamed Vegie Salad with Ginger and Tamari Dressing:

Will serve 2 generously.

This one is basic, all you need to do is wash and chop your vegies, pop them into a steamer and steam until they cooked (about 10 min).

You can use any vegetable’s you like as long as there is a lot of colour

The dressing is just as simple –

In a glass, grate 2cm piece of ginger

1 teaspoon of agave

2 tablespoons of tamari

juice of ½ a lemon

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Pepper or chilli

Mix well and spoon over steamed vegies (this will make more than you need, so store the rest in a jar in the fridge and use during the week)

Tomato, Spinach and Fresh Curd Cheese Frittata (you could have a slice of this with one of the salads above)

You’ll need:

4 eggs – lightly beaten with salt and pepper

½ zucchini sliced thinly in rounds

½ cup of wilted spinach – chopped

6 cherry tomatoes – chopped in quarters

a lot or a little fresh cheese

chives if you have them – finely chopped (I had run out)

Lets cook:

Wilt your spinach in a pan (see photo) it takes about 1 ½ minutes all up. Set aside

To prep the spinach (I used rainbow chard because it looked the freshest) strip the leaves of the stalks – and wash the leaves thoroughly (keep the stalks to steam).

After your spinach is done, lightly fry your zucchini until they have a hint of colour.
Set aside.

Now clean your skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl around the pan being careful to make sure the pan is coated in the oil (so the frittata doesn’t stick)

Pour your eggs in (the pan should be on a low-ish heat) then start placing your tomatoes, spinach, zucchini and cheese. (I push these down with the back of a spatula).

Turn up the heat a little and cook all up for around 5 min, then place under the grill till it puffs up and is golden a further 2 min.

Eat straight away with either salad!

Your shopping list for the cleanse should look something like this:
A dozen organic eggs
Goat’s cheese or any fresh curd cheese
Organic tomatoes – heirloom if you can get them
Herbs – chives, coriander
Extra virgin olive oil
Sesame seeds or Gomasio(which is sesame seeds with seasalt)
Marrook whole milk yogurt - (Maple & Vanilla)
1 litre whole milk
fresh berries if in season or  frozen berries
Fresh coconut
Good quality sourdough bread

To enlarge my photo's simply click on them once then twice to make them super big - this way you can see the finer details.
Also if you need to ask me where to buy something, I'm happy to recommend organic food sources.
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps