Monday, August 23, 2010

Slow Cooked Creamy Lentil & Tomato Soup

This is possibly one of the most delicious soups you will ever eat! It's rich, creamy, a little (or a lot!!) spicy, and is the best winter warmer I know of. My Mum introduced us to this one, and we eat it every winter without fail.

This recipe is perfect for a big 5.5L slow cooker, but you could easily halve it if you have a smaller one, or don't want to make so much. It's perfect to freeze too, so is a great meal for busy mothers like me.



2tbls olive oil
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic crushed
chilli powder or fresh chilli to taste
6 cups beef or chicken stock (I use chicken)
6 cups tomato passata
5 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 1/2 cups cream
salt and pepper if desired

Fry onions in olive oil until golden brown, add garlic and chilli and cook for a minute.

Put them in the slow cooker and add all other ingredients.

Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low.

About 30 minutes, to one hour before serving, stir in cream and replace cover.

Allow it to heat through and serve with crusty bread!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Taking a risk

Some of you may remember that we had our house on the market a little while ago. It was for sale for 60 days and we had a total of 7 people come through! The real estate market in our area is DEAD! So we took it off and decided that we would make do here for a little while longer. That decision lasted about six weeks, and we now have itchy feet again. Really itchy feet!

Maybe it's the gypsy blood, or maybe it's just this niggling little dream that we've both had forever. You see, we see ourselves in the mountains living as self-sustainably as possible. We've tried many times to get up there, but the timing just hasn't been right, and there's always been something that's gotten in our way. Yesterday though we decided that we are way too conservative, and that it's time to take a few risks. Safe risks, but nevertheless, out of our usual comfort zone. We talked all afternoon about ways we could make our dream attainable without having to rely on the sale of the home we are in.

Then last night, this aired on tv, and it sealed the deal for us.

How cool is that!?!? So we are now going to investigate the possibility of renting out our house, and we are going to search for our perfect block of land. We will build a yurt! We love them! They are quirky and a little eccentric. A bit like us really! And the design options they present are endless! It's not something we plan on rushing into though. We still have a bit of renovating to do on our house to get it rentable, and then there is the exciting prospect of researching how to actually build the house!

The dream is to start with a central yurt and gradually add more on to create enough space for everyone and everything. My ultimate dream is to be completely self sufficient in the way we power the home - complete solar for electricity, gas for hot water and cooking, and of course big tanks of gorgeous rain water! How amazing would it be to never receive an electricity bill!

This is a dream that is entirely 'do-able' for us. It is going to take some dedication, some huge leaps of faith and a lot of hard work. But I think we may have finally found a way to have our cake and eat it too.

NB. Edited to add - Sorry about the way the video doesn't quite fit on the page! I can't work out how to fix it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My little getaway...

Here are some photos....

Birthday cake before I left.

My sweet little cabin.

Stunning view of O'Reilly's

The Lodge - overlooking O'Reilly's

The front of the Lodge

What a sunset!

Sunset over Beechmont

The obligatory self-portrait!

Fairy caverns in the rainforest. The Fae were everywhere!

The enveloping canopy. Heavenly!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Birthday Bliss!

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'm going to be 37. Hard to fathom really, being so close to 40. Not that 40 is old these days, but it's a figure that strikes terror into the hearts of some. I don't think I'm afraid of getting old. It's a part of life that we all must face, and truth be told, this next phase is quite exciting. I know who I am now, and while I'm sure the odd demon will need to be slain at some stage, I'm pretty happy with the way my life is plodding along.

Tonight my two best friends are coming over for an Indian feast. It's something we've been meaning to do for some time, and what better reason to do it than to celebrate my birthday! We've got four curries and all the trimmings, a fire pit to toast marshmallows on later in the night, and plenty of music!

Tomorrow though, will be a different kind of celebrating. I decided this year that I wanted to spend my actual birthday away from everyone. Twenty four hours by myself. You wouldn't believe how excited I am about it! I've never spent time 'away' from my family. I've had the odd night at home by myself, but I've never taken myself away to somewhere special. So tomorrow I'm heading up to Binna Burra Lodge . I plan on not doing much at all really. Some reading, some listening to music, some writing, some photography, maybe a bush walk. But mostly I just want to be by myself. To listen to my thoughts and to really feel like me - with no external chatter! I think it's something that everyone should do at some point in their life. It's important to be comfortable with your own company.

I'm really feeling the birthday vibe this year, and maybe it's because I'm only thinking of myself at the moment. Sounds selfish, but if you can't be selfish on your birthday, when can you??