A happy surprise in the mail…

Don’t you love receiving happy surprises in the mail? The other day I looked in the mailbox to see staring back at me – a box containing “Handmade Home” by Amanda Blake Soule. I have been loving reading through this book…it has so many little projects and thoughtful words… I’m looking forward to making some of the beautiful things in this book!

Moroccan Harira…

If you need a little something to nourish your body and tastes delicious…try some Moroccan Harira (Classic Lamb, Chickpea and Lentil soup with Cumin)…This soup is traditionally used to break fasts…its a great soup to restore strength to your body which I have been loving lately…

Gather the ingredients and after a bit of chopping and lots of boiling you will have a hearty soup to enjoy :)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
2 small carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 garlic cloves, left whole and smashed
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
450g lean lamb, cut into bite-sized cubes
2-3 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 litre lamb or chicken stock
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes, drained of juice
100g brown, red or green lentils, rinsed
a small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
a small bunch of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into quarters, to garnish

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan. Stir in the onions, celery and carrots and cook until the onions begin to colour. Add the smashed garlic and cumin seeds and toss in the lamb.
Cook until lightly browned. Add the spices, sugar and bay leaves and stir in the tomato puree. Pour in the stock and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 1 hour, until the meat is tender.

Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils to the pan and cook gently for a further 30 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the soup is almost as thick as a stew. Top up with a little water, if necessary, as the lentils will asorb most of it. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add most of the parsley and coriander.

Serve the soupy stew piping hot, sprinkled with the remaining parsely and coriander and with wedges of lemon to squeeze over it and plenty of bread for dipping.

From the wonderful book, Flavours of Morocco – Delicious recipes of North Africa, by Ghillie Basan (2008).

Jill who went up the hill…

Each night at bedtime after reading a story, Dan or I ask Noah who he would like to pray for before going to bed…
Noah’s requests are usually to pray for “Nanna, Pa…Amen” or “Granny, Grandad John…Amen” but tonight was a little different….

Noah requested to pray for “Jill”…

Not knowing who “Jill” was I asked Noah,
“Who is Jill?”

Noah replied with, “Jill who went up the hill!”
I answered, “Like Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water…”
“Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after..”
So Noah prayed for “Jill…Amen” and insisted I pray for Jill too…
I tried my best to hold myself together (only just) and I think God is smiling too:)

-Nothing is too small or insignificant for God…He knows our hearts and delights in us-

If you have a day free go to Paris!

The other night I went with some lovely friends to see the movie “Julie&Julia. It is a fantastic movie about blogging, food and Paris! So many great things… The movie has lots of great snapshots of Paris throughout and it got me thinking about my time in Paris earlier this year…ahhh…if I had a spare day I would go to Paris…

First of all there is the wonderful food and the expensive milk! Here is Noah drinking his $10 glass of milk :)

Then there is the sights….Eiffel tower…art galleries…more food…bookstores…parks…

…and the great fashion…

Early mornings at the beach…

I love getting up early on the weekend and heading to the beach with Dan and Noah. The other Saturday we got up bright and early strapped the surfboard to the roof and we were off…heading to the beach.

There were so many rockpools to explore…

….waves to chase…

… and leaf boats to float…

-Thankyou Lord for the beauty of your creation…when I’m surrounded by beauty I am reminded of You -

Rice paper rolls….

The other night while on the quest to make something really quick and healthy for dinner…
I unearthed a packet of rice paper sheets that were begging to be eaten…

…add a bit of avocado, chicken, carrot, cucumber, rice vermicilli and any other vegies or meat you feel like and….

….the result is a healthy mess but lots of fun making the rolls especially when your two!

Theo and Dini’s Farm…Gengringen, The Netherlands

A few months back when we were in Holland, I had the joy of staying with some relatives Theo and Dini on their dairy farm.

It was such a wonderful experience to meet and stay with family and enjoy the wonders of the little corner of the world that they call home. I loved everything about the farming community surrounding the small village of Gengringen…I loved the flat fields, the yummy dutch food…especially the cheese and chocolate sprinkles for breakfast and dutch meatballs (my favourite!)… the peace and quiet and the wonderful hospitality showered on us by Theo and Dini… Noah particularly loved hanging out in the cow sheds and watching the cows get milked…

…spending time with our dutch family :)

…and a really special experience was going for a bike ride with Dan on a quiet Saturday morning around the surrounding farms…the birds were chirping and we were having the ride of our life!!

A French country picnic….

The banners were hung to herald the milestone birthday of my sister Kim!

This weekend was my sister Kim’s (second from the right) birthday and loving all things French she celebrated with a French country picnic…

The food was delicious…there were quiche’s aplenty, terrine, french sticks, salads, pates, French cheese and wine….

…and to top it off my sister Luana baked the most amazing chocolate mud cake that had 2.5kg of chocolate in it!