Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Studio + The School + Koskela + Kitchen by Mike = Heaven

This morning after dropping the kids to school I got a phone call from Max saying that he'd forgotten his cameras(which is not uncommon)and could I bring them to the studio(he is working down at a new studio/homewares/food joint in Roseberry) I'd been desperate to go down and check it out. As it turned out one of Max's assistants raced over to get his cameras(I obviously wasn't fast enough)which was good because I majorly lack navigation skills, so I had someone to follow and hence did not get lost on my way over to that neck of the woods - coming back was a completely different story!
Max was like, "Babe, you've got to check this place out it's amazing"(as he leads me into Koskela, past the catering by Kitchen by Mike)
His parting words being - "Don't spend any money babe!" Ha!, if you don't want me to spend money, why I ask, let me loose in a place like this?

I held it together in the spending department because it was to hard to concentrate on purchasing with Wilco doing wheelies on his scooter around the expensive wares - but I will be back and yes babe, I will spend money!
After trawling through Koskela we ventured into Kitchen by Mike to check out the food sitch.
Wilco found his spot on the front veranda, perched himself on a stool with a view of only a forklift and a scissor lift doing their thing, his lady of the moment 'Victoria' sitting next to him and he was happy - could have sat there all day. 
I'll also have to go back and experience lunch, all I ate was a meringue and some of Max's catering (which was delicious) but what I loved the most was with the way they served their drinks and those emanal plates - I have to have the pie dish set.
Can I just add, I'd even rate the bathrooms(and my kids seem to have an obsession with public toilets) anyone that knows me, knows that I despise all communal bathrooms - but these ones were very easy on the eye and super clean(kids we can hang out here!).
Mrs Megan Morton you have done good, this is one beautiful studio(slash)everything and because your gorgeous daughter just happens to be mates with my gorgeous daughter, I'm going to hit you for trade offs, you can teach my kid about making homey things look nice (or tidy would do)and I can teach your kid to cook?
Megan's in the process of setting up some crazy fun workshops for kids as we speak - I was getting the low down this morning(inside info) will keep you posted.
My kids will be there for sure and maybe there'll be lessons on how to make mess look stylish?
And hopefully Max will shoot there all the time, which will give me an excuse to visit regularly and drop some dough!
And I just remembered Megan is guest blogging over at the Design files - check it out here.

 Max's assistant Victoria kindly snapped these iphone photo's for me, but if you want the full experience go down and have a wonder around.
Photo's taken by Victoria Schommler 

©Michelle Schoeps 2013

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Borlotti Bean and Prawn soup

I forced myself to buy these borlotti beans in the hope that I would find inspiration in something beside making my son shit in the toilet!
 Not that I'm avoiding my own blog, but my 'sweet adorable "ALMOST 3 YEAR OLD" - has me on my feet 24/7 with this F#$%@&! poo training. I'm sick of the sound of my own voice, (me) "Do you need to do poo?", "don't forget we only do poo in the toilet", "If you poo in your pants again I'm calling the police!"(Wilco) "Look at the man driving the digger!" (me) "That man driving the digger does poo's in the toilet, you can only drive a digger if you do poo's in the toilet!" over and over and over, this is our conversation, day in day out - I'm going out of my mind!!!! Really how hard can it be?  
I feel like if I turn my back for a second he's going to drop one and this nightmare they call toilet training is going to go on for the rest of my life! Ah..that feels better, got that off my chest - who needs therapy when you have a blog!
Borlotti bean and Prawn Soup
Kylie at the Organic fruit and veg at Fox studio's applied a little pressure my way so I would take off her hands the beautiful fresh Borlotti beans.
I thought why not - need inspiration, come on Michelle back on the wagon!
Max had bought himself a steak and was already for me to cook it for him when he saw me add prawns to what he thought was just a vegetable and bean soup - after all he's a man, he needs a bit more substance.
I measured nothing - so there are no exact quantities.
but this soup was heaven and so good for you.
Start by de-podding the Borlotti Beans - roughly 2 cups, maybe a little less
I started with some beautiful heirloom tomatoes that were almost turning. I chopped them into chunks and slow roasted them with rosemary, sage, basil, shallots, garlic, a pinch of chilli, salt and olive oil.
At 160c for about an hour - till they have intensified in flavour and are easy to mush up.
I removed the rosemary and then pushed the tomato mixture through a sieve, and was left with to cups of the most Divine tomato soup - set that aside.
I chopped very finely, celery (the heart + 2 stalks)
2 carrots
4 shallots or 2 small purple onions
1/2 a long green chilli and 1/2 a long red chilli (more if you like heat)
2 cups of chicken stock or water
2 cups of tomato puree (the way I made it or passata out of a bottle) - if you don't make it add some garlic and a handful of herbs to the soup when sauteing the veg
2 cups of Borlotti beans - fresh (if using dry ones soak overnight)
1/2 a bunch of something deep green and leafy - I used Cavalo Nero de-stalked and finely chopped
I can't remember the exact quantity of prawns - but they were uncooked, from my favourite fish monger (Barry -  from 'The One That Got Away') and there were lots!
Chives to garnish (and extra chilli for me)
Saute onions first until just catching a little colour, then throw in the other veg
Cook for a further 10 min - then chuck in the beans
Followed by the tomato and stock
Cook either on the stove top on a very, very low heat or in the oven at 170c for about 45min or until beans are cooked
Check seasoning - add salt and pepper
Next put in the cavalo nero, cook for another 10min
Then the prawns for another 5 min
Serve in large bowls garnished with chives
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps
 and recipes unless stated made up by me

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