Do you love soup? I most certainly do, however my hubby is not a fan of soups so a lot of the time, I will have a soup for breakfast and or lunch, sometimes I make a really thick & chunky soup & I tell my hubby it’s a “casserole” 🙂
Soups were a regular occurrence in our household growing up & Mum used to make us the most delicious lamb, barley & vegetable soup. My guilty pleasure was a tinned tomato soup served with cracked pepper, crumbled feta & fresh basil leaves! Now I just make my own tomato soup from fresh tomatoes, it only takes about 10 mins in the Thermomix & is so delicious! Anyway because winter is normally the best time to enjoy soups & I wanted to share some of my favourite recipes, to give you some inspiration & ideas.
Obviously start with the best fresh ingredients you can get, making your own stock will give you the best flavour or using some stock paste that you make in the Thermomix. You can make veggie, chicken or beef stock paste very easily, these recipes come with your Thermomix and are so handy to have in your fridge or freezer to give a flavour boost to any soup or casserole. They have a lot of salt in them to help preserve them & to bring out the flavour of your dish. The Thermomix is so perfect for making soups, everything in the one bowl, the chopping, sautéing, cooking, stirring & then pureeing.
Quirky Cooking’s Coconut Lemon Chicken Soup This is my go to soup is anyone is feeling slightly unwell, so quick easy & nourishing & I always love squeezing lemon juice into most of my soups too! (Plus I’m so excited that Jo Whitton from Quirky Cooking loved my photo of her soup so much she bought it to use on her website!) The other very popular soup recipe by Jo is her Creamy Chicken & Brown Rice Soup, put this on your winter cooking list if it isn’t already!
George Calombaris’ Pumpkin Soup with Virtual Bacon Dust from In the Mix Cookbook by Dani Valent. This is my favourite Pumpkin Soup recipe by far, so creamy & delicious. I even leave the skin on my butternut pumpkin because the Thermomix is so awesome at blending it all up. The Virtual bacon dust is made from toasted & caramelised sesame seeds with brown sugar & Japanese stock powder (dashi) I also made it replacing the dashi with dried porcini mushrooms & it was still just as yummy.
For an awesome roasted pumpkin flavour. I also love roasting a pumpkin whole along with some sweet potato, onion & garlic still in their skins. Once they have cooked you can remove the skins if you wish & then add some of your favourite stock & maybe some cream or coconut cream, once you have cooked it all then puree till smooth.
Peter Gilmore’s Cauliflower Soup from In the Mix 2 Cookbook, in the book it is served with seared scallops & fresh truffle, but it is still absolutely amazing even with out the scallops & truffle. Even just using some truffle oil & or truffle salt if you have it, will take it to the next level.
My beetroot soup recipe is coming soon, I use fresh beetroot, fennel & cabbage and serve it with homemade yoghurt & horseradish with a bit of smoked salmon if you want to make it a bit fancy for guests.
I love the smoky spicy flavour of chorizo & any recipe that has it is as an ingredient is always so delicious – This is the Mexican Black Bean & Chorizo Soup another awesome recipe by Jo Whitton from Quirky Cooking.
Another chorizo soup I love is with chunks of chorizo, kale & sweet potato YUM!
In my minestrone soup, I use as much veggies from the garden as I can, I loosely use Jamie Oliver’s recipe (I leave out the pasta) & it’s delicious with or with out some parmesan cheese on top!
Spicy Moroccan Lentil Soup – This recipe is in the cookbook that comes with your Thermomix so quick easy & tasty!
The pea soup from The Devil of a Cookbook is also amazing & speaking of peas – how good is a pea & ham soup too?!
Soups are hearty, healthy, nourishing & soul warming, they can be a little bit posh or simple & quick. The main thing is they taste so good, like anything you make from scratch!! Happy Thermomixing Everyone 🙂
Do you love quinces? I most certainly do, what’s not to love? The gorgeous deep ruby pink colour they turn into when cooked is just amazing – I always make quince paste, I absolutely love it with cheese. Last year I had to test a quince paste recipe & made it about 10 times I’m sure! I gave it away to friends mostly but did discover a batch only about a month ago that I had forgotten about in the fridge. For me I can’t bring myself to buy quinces, my neighbour has a tree & they are happy for me to use them. Last year one of my customers gave me a massive bucket of them off her tree & another friend of a friend invited me to help myself to their tree. My Mum’s neighbour also has a huge tree & she is happy to share her produce with us too. So now I have my quince suppliers sorted I have to create & sample awesome quince recipes.
The year before last I created quince curd with my friend Erica & quince relish that are amazing recipes even if I do say so myself. The relish served with homemade sausage rolls just lifts the whole dish to something really special. My friend Charlie recommends her quince jelly recipe.
Steamed quinces for a cake
So this year I had decided to boycott making quince paste & wanted to try some different quince recipes. I roasted some & ate them just like that with no sugar or anything YUM! I also tried an amazing recipe from the MasterChef at home cookbook for a quince crumble cake with ginger chilli syrup & basil cream. I would definitely make it again but may need to share it with someone – I was the only one in our household that ate it!
Thermomix poached quinces with ginger chilli & vanilla for the crumble cake.
I made an amazing vanilla bean panna cotta with a quince syrup have a look on my instagram for the video of the wobble. – when I was trying to make the syrup I accidentally made a paste that I am going make into a Maggie Beer style swirled quince ice cream 😀
I also made Michelle Crawford’s Quince & Walnut cake.
When I went to Ellies for the 2nd part of her cookbook photo shoot I stopped into sea soul studio to borrow some of her amazing ceramics & she also had some quinces to give away from her amazing garden. So that night at Ellies after all the seafood cooking was complete we made Ellie’s quince paste recipe so we could give Sarah some when I returned her ceramics. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried Ellie’s quince paste recipe before now you don’t need to peel or core the quinces – I wanted to use Fiona Hoskins recipe with a bit less sugar too. Ellie even said that making quince paste in the thermomix was one of the things that made her want to buy a Thermomix.
Some points to remember when making quince paste the timing will be very different depending on your quinces. They will have different pectin levels, I added lemons for this reason & the fact that they taste so good. You have to go by site waiting until the deep ruby colour is achieved.
So in the morning we still had more quinces so I decided to make another batch & we had run out of sugar so we decided to use honey from our “styling honeycomb” instead. It didn’t end up setting as well but it was very tasty.
Of course when I got home I just had to make another batch of quince paste for myself & we actually used it for our studio photo shoot at TAFE. I also made herbed lavosh from the Devil of a Cookbook. We served the quince paste with King Island blue cheese covered in ash OMG it was such a good combo a new favourite for me. Also perfect with Bangor sparkling wine.
Another invitation to go to the Tasman Peninsula again this year & an excuse to instaspam without judgement & all for free!! I only found out about this event the day before it was on & was lucky enough to get a space. I’m so grateful to Hobart & Beyond for organising this event, I am already looking forward to the next one.
We met at 8.15am on (Mother’s Day) with an 8.30am departure from Brooke St Pier, our destination Port Arthur Historic Site, with photo opportunities all along the way. It was quite a challenge being on a moving boat to get perfect pictures but it is great practice & what a beautiful day. 60 instagramers in one spot watch out, we were all given a sticker with our name & instagram account name so we could network throughout the day. Some people had their phones, others had their cameras of all shapes & sizes. We were armed with our hastags: #tasmanmeet #hobartandbeyond #discovertasmania #tasmania #seeaustralia
The Iron Pot Lighthouse
Complete with dolphins – hard to catch a good shot of them though!
I’ve been wanting to go to Shipstern Bluff for years, a popular but dangerous surfing spot – unfortunately the waves today were not so big, but what an amazing spot!
No surfers at Shipstern Bluff today
What a gorgeous rugged coastline
Cape Raoul is so stunning!!
Cape Raoul seals were so gorgeous to watch – some even got into the water for a swim while we were there.
We all took quite a few photos but needed a bit more time to get around to everywhere -it’s on the list to come back to again soon. We jumped on a bus to our next stop.
Something that I am more used to photographing – although not with 59 others around trying to do the same thing – it was a bit difficult. This was the most amazing Lunch at Post Arthur Lavender – all local seafood & delicious cheese – including lavender cheese & we also had Tasmanian wine. So grateful for this amazing feast.
I love this place & I will be coming back again for sure to try more of their delicious food – lavender ice-cream, lavender scones almost everything has it on their menu & it is such a beautiful spot to relax.
Now for an hour at the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo
We made some new friends & got to feed them too!
Last stop was the Tessellated Pavement & nearby Lufra Hotel for afternoon tea.
I have been so lucky to go to the Tessellated Pavements quite a few times in the last few weeks so this was not so exciting for me as it was for some of the other photographers. It is such a beautiful place still so I wandered down to enjoy the scene of the pavement covered with people (only the week before Ellie & I had the place to ourselves setting up & shooting our sunrise breakfast, a cover shot for Ellie’s Seafood Everyday Cookbook)
Then tired & full we left for our hour long bus ride home back to Hobart – it had just started to rain as we boarded the bus – perfect Tasmanian timing!
WOW What an extraordinary day packed full of adventure, I can’t wait to go back to the Tasman Peninsula to finish my photography, exploring & taste testing. This is certainly a Mother’s Day to remember.
Yes Ellie & I did it again – another sunrise breakfast at the Tessellated Pavement, but more on that later.
What do you say when your chef friend asks you to come & cook, wash up & taste the food for her 2 day photo shoot for her Seafood Everyday Cookbook – YES PLEASE! (And as a bonus I actually got paid to do it too!! I told Ellie I would have done it for free because it was so much fun, not to mention absolutely delicious!)
Day 1: Sunday 1st May – Job 1 purchase some ingredients on the way down to Ellie’s place at Eaglehawk Neck. When I woke up bright & early there was the most amazing sunrise & then as I started to drive into the city I heard thunder, saw lightning & then it bucketed down with rain! I was hoping the light would still be ok for Ellie’s photos today. I had nothing to fear as when I arrived at Ellie’s at about 9.30am she had already started some of the prep – her dining table was covered with lots of crockery, cloths & cutlery. She had a table by the window set up with backgrounds reflectors & her camera on the tripod. She had already cooked a crayfish for a couple of the recipes later on in the day. I was asked to make & prep some of the recipes so Elli’e could just finish them off before taking her photos for the book & then I got to taste them all!! I was so busy trying to cook, eat & wash up (she doesn’t have a dishwasher) that I didn’t get a chance to take many of my own photos – I did get some quick shots on my iPhone before I consumed them, so I could use them on our designated instagram breaks throughout the day, to make all my friends super jealous!!
Surprise Potato Bake
Thermomix Hollandaise Sauce
1 of the many oyster recipes
Crayfish with Hollandaise Sauce
Fresh pasta for 4 different recipes
On the first day we completed 19 recipes – which included about 6 different styles of oysters YUM! I was in my element because I could use Ellie’s 2 Thermomix for certain elements of the recipes too. I learnt so many tips and ideas form Ellie over the 2 days. You won’t believe the first dish I had to prep was risotto (or otherwise know as “Hot Wet Rice” & yes we showed the Katering show video of the two Kate’s making risotto to Ellie’s hubby at the end of day 2 & we all had a good laugh).
I used the Thermomix for fresh pasta dough & left it to rest, Ellie had already made the bread dough in the Thermie before I arrived & then I learnt how to shape it for a cob loaf & 2 baguettes – we let it proof again & then baked in the oven. It’ s a bit of a blur but I will try to remember everything the best I can – octopus salad with peas & feta was amazing! I also had another salad with fish, risotto & feta balls with octopus, salmon & bacon pancakes – so good!! I made Ellie’s awesome potato & sweet potato surprise bake. (I’m drooling in my mouth as i remember tasting all these amazing dishes). A cauliflower puree was another element for one of the dishes that was easy to make in the Thermomix, as well as onion jam & beetroot relish – Ellie wanted a grated texture for the beetroot relish & took great delight in the fact I had to use a grater to hand grate the beetroot by hand instead of using the Thermomix. I also made pastry in the Thermomix too.
Dish of the day was hard to choose but I have to say the crayfish topped with Thermomix hollandaise was so special, plus it looked amazing too!
Guess what we had for dinner that night? Yes leftovers!! I couldn’t believe I could fit anything in!! After dinner we looked at the days photos & they looked amazing they even made me hungry looking at them!! I rolled out the pasta dough & cooked it ready for 4 different pasta dishes we would shoot tomorrow. I also made the steamed Dill & Feta Omelette with Smoked Salmon recipe we were taking to the Tessellated Pavement in the morning for Ellie to get the cover photo for her cookbook. We had learnt a lot form our previous breakfast at the Tessellated Pavement, to take a little with us as possible. So we packed 1 picnic basket of things & worked out how we were going to style it. We had an early night so we would be fresh in the morning for our big photo shoot.
Day 2: Monday 2nd May, after I woke up multiple times in the early morning it was time to officially wake up at 5.45am. We had a quick cuppa & grabbed our food, Tasmanian sparkling wine & picnic basket of props to arrive at the Tessellated Pavement about 6.30, after setting up in one spot we moved to another spot so we could get more of the pavement into the shot. We got so many amazing photos, Ellie was quick to post a picture to instagram of our sunrise breakfast picnic hoping she could get over 100 likes. Check out Ellie’s Instagram account to have a look. We had the whole place to ourselves & after a few adjustments we had it just right to shoot away for about 1/2 an hour or so. It was so exciting, relaxing & peaceful. I could not wipe the smile off my face.
After packing up, I had to drink the wine in the glasses, because we couldn’t waste such good quality Tasmanian sparkling wine & Ellie couldn’t drink because she had to have her A game on for the rest of the days big photo shoot. Anyway just as I was downing the last of the wine in the glass a lady & her dog walked past, she smiled asking if we were celebrating?! After all it was only just after 7am on a Monday morning!! Too funny!
A very quick look at the mornings photos on the computer & Ellie confirmed she had got her cover photo – It looks amazing!!
Anyway back to work, first things first, more breakfast!! We hadn’t eaten the omelette we took to the morning shoot & had brought it back home with us so take some more photos with the most amazing breakfast you will ever have – Salmon rashers with French toast & maple syrup, so amazing!!
After breakfast was photographed & then eaten it was time to get onto the 13 more recipes for the day including all the mussel recipes. We also had Ellie’s 2 youngest children helping us today so I added child entertainer to my list of jobs, it was so much fun & we all wore our special aprons too! Yes I had the job of making sure the bottle of sparkling wine didn’t get wasted & so I had a matching wine to my seafood tasting today until just after lunchtime 🙂 I got to make a spicy seafood laksa & we made another crayfish recipe too, oh & some yummy squid pasta, just to mention a few of the days recipes.
The cooking, eating, washing up & photos continued for the rest of the day & we finished about 4pm. We had multiple instagram checking breaks as we saw Ellie’s likes for her photo sky rocket through the day. Then we all went for a walk to the beach which was just what we needed after 2 epic days.
I stayed for dinner to help Ellie & her family eat some of the days delicious leftovers – we had another mini leftover degustation for dinner as the fridge was very full!! I don’t think I will ever need to eat again – well maybe not till breakfast anyway!
Oh wow, I thought I was in heaven, having a 2 day seafood degustation with a total of 34 dishes, I feel so grateful to have been given this amazing experience. I loved hearing stories Ellie shared with me about her restaurant days where she was the chef & owner at the Mussel Boys in Tarana, quite a few of the recipes from her restaurant are in the cookbook too. Also Ellie’s Instagram photo from the morning was shared by “Australia” on Instagram on got over 46,000 likes!!
Even if I had not had this awesome experience I would still be rushing out to buy this cookbook the recipes are amazing & the photos look sensational – much better than these ones I took on my iPhone 🙂 The Seafood Everyday Cookbook will hopefully be available to purchase in Dec 2016. Congrats Ellie on an outstandingly awesome job! I love your work! (I think I am still in a food coma)