vegetable soup
food, health

Time for Tuscan Bean Soup

The beauty of this soup is that it works with most leftover vegetables. I chop up things I find in the fridge at the Home by the Sea, such as the leftover broccoli stalks or slightly limp-few days old -beans and add them in. The soup will taste just as good, if not better.

The addition of chickpeas adds a lot of fibre to this recipe and balances out the carbs hidden in the pancetta/bacon.

A hearty soup perfect for an easy family dinner.

tomato-parsley-food-cooking-

Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed Olive Oil
  • 2 medium Brown Onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g Speck, or good quality Bacon or Pancetta, coarsely sliced
  • 2 -3 Carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes*

I didn’t have a can of chopped Roma Tomatoes, in the pantry, so I boiled up 8 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped them roughly, then boiling them in a saucepan till soft, [about 8 -10 minutes on medium heat].

  • 1/4 head of Cabbage, shredded coarsely
  • 1- 2 Zucchinis, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Thyme
  • 2 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 small can of Chickpeas, in vinaigrette, rinsed and drained
  • 1 new Potato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 whole Celery stalk with leaves attached
  • Chives, a handful sliced plus some extra for garnishing

Serves 6

Tuscan Bean Soup

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan
  2. Cook onion, celery, garlic, and selected cured meat, such as Pancetta, stirring until onion and celery is soft (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add carrot, undrained tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, potato, thyme, stock, drained chickpeas, water and the whole celery stalk, with leaves attached.
  4. Bring to boil
  5. Simmer uncovered about 30 – 40 minutes [go for a nice walk whilst it is simmering]
  6. Remove the whole celery stalk with leaves
  7. Add finely sliced chives and garnish with a sprinkle prior to serving.
  8. Serve with a crusty bread

If you are a soup lover, you might also like Lemon Broccoli Soup

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fishing park bench australia canals
food, health

Easy Salmon Pie with Cheesy Crust

Salmon is low in fat and high in protein. Not to mention it is a good source of B12, potassium, iron and vitamin D. No wonder the Scandinavians enjoy it.

Making pastry can be a pain but it’s a breeze with this recipe as the kitchen food processor blends and forms a delicious, cheesy pastry shell.

Cooks Notes:

This recipe is substantial and makes a filling pie great for serving the family or group. The pie cuts easily and holding its form brilliantly on the day of cooking as well as the next day for a summer lunch.

Salmon Pie Recipe

Preheat Oven to 180 C (350F)

Cheesy Pastry Crust Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 125 g Butter
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar or firm Cheese (substitutes are fine as long as it isn’t a cheese that melts too much such as mozzarella)
  1. Rub the butter into the flour using a Food Processor but not so much that it turns into a ball (keep it crumbly)
  2. Add the grated cheese and mix through the pastry.
  3. Set aside 1/4 of the mix to reserve for the pie topping
  4. Press the remainder into an 8-9 inch pottery, or glass, pie dish until it covers the base and sides to form the pastry shell.

Filling Ingredients

  • 220 gram (around 8 oz) can cooked Red or Pink Salmon, preferably boneless
  • 3 Eggs
  • 375 grams Sour cream (13 oz)
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Chives
  • 2-3 drops of Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheese (extra)
  1. Drain and flake salmon and combine with the rest of the filling ingredients
  2. Place the combined mix into the pastry shell
  3. Crumb the reserved portion of the pastry crumbs on top
  4. Bake 40 – 50 minutes at 180 C (350 F) or until golden brown on top

Delicious served hot or cold the next day with a green salad.

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animals, environment

Frogs and Reptile Biodiversity in My Local Area

Meet Fred the Frog. He is a Green Tree Frog.

green tree frog australia on chair

Fred and a few of his friends and family have been renting out space in our backyard.

They are very welcome although the dogs are not happy they are our tenants at the Home by the Sea.

The frogs try to get the favourite spot on the edge of the potplant as this helps them catch the moths that frequent our lawn at night, as modelled here by Esmeralda.

australia green tree frog in garden pot

Australian Green Tree Frogs

These frogs have an ability to change the colour of their skin according to the surface they are sitting on. Sometimes bright green, othertimes brown.

Their skin also emits secretions should they be eaten by a predator. The secretions in the skin taste awful and make a predator, such as a dog vomit, and suffer depression for up to 60 minutes.

Schnauzer Dogs sitting at door
Credit: Facebook

Of course, the dogs had to test the theory. The new puppy couldn’t resist picking the frog up in its mouth. As well as the protective secretions, frogs have another defence. They scream, they wail. It is a sound that brings us running to rescue them. But we don’t touch them!

Safety with Frogs

Human TOUCH can burn a frog’s skin if we pick it up with dry hands.

WET YOUR HANDS WHEN HANDLING A FROG.

[And do not touch toads without gloves. They are toxic!]

The vomit has been cleaned up and the depression lasted for a hour. A textbook example of the frog’s skin secretions at work, protecting it from being eaten by predators.

Here is a list of the frogs found in our area. At present we have around 8 -10 in our yard. The recent rains have delighted them.

1.Limnodynastes peronii : Brown-striped Frog 6
2.Limnodynastes terraereginae : Northern Banjo Frog1
3.Litoria caerulea : Green Tree Frog4
4.Litoria fallax : Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog3
5.Litoria gracilenta : Dainty Green Tree Frog4
6.Platyplectrum ornatum : Ornate Burrowing Frog2
7.Pseudophryne major : Large Toadlet4
8.Rhinella marina : Cane Toad5
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animals, environment

Opening a Bee Hotel

purple Pea flowers

One of every three bites of food we eat is derived from plants pollinated by bees. And bees are in trouble worldwide.

Stingless Native bees on a paperbark tree

As pollinators, bees along with other insects play an essential role for our gardens and plants, fertilizing plants so they may begin producing fruit and seeds. Bees are very important because:

  • 70 of the top 100 most popular food crops are pollinated by bees
  • 80% of all flowering plants on earth and pollinated by bees
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pesticides, parasites and climate change are diminishing bee populations worldwide and we can help them.

How?

We can help them with organic gardening practices, planting flowers to attract them and provide them with shelter, so at the Home by the Sea is opening a Bee Hotel.

Someone staying overnight
Stove cooking kitchen design
food

Pavlova – a Perfect Dessert for Celebrations

Traditional Australian Pavlova

The Pavlova recipe I make is an old recipe taken from my trusty Aussie Women’s Weekly Recipe book. *(Page 32 is a tomato veal dish, Peggy!)

This book that was gifted to me in 1979, by my Mother. 41 years later, with its spine tatted and broken, this book continues to reveal recipe secrets I have yet to make.

nostalgic greeting with words Love Mum 1979
My Christmas gift the year after I left home

Pavlova Recipe

Following is the recipe I use, although I don’t use a piping bag to make the edges.

I just dump the meringue mix on to a lined baking sheet and form it into a makeshift circle, by dragging around the edges from base to tip with a broad spatula. It is less fuss, and noone wants too much fuss in the kitchen, when the mercury soars in summertime!

Australian Womens weekly pavlova recipe

Pavlova Cooking Tips

I cook my Pavlova in an oven set on 150 degees C. (300 degrees F.) for around 35 – 40 minutes. Then I will leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.

Once the Pavlova has finished its cooking time, I turn the oven off, and place a wooden spoon in the door to allow some heat to escape, but not all the heat, at once. This extended minimal heat is enough to dry the outer shell of the Pavlova whilst allowing the middle to be all soft and gooey.

It ends up quite rustic looking but leaves a crater or depression in the top into which you can place your fruits, custard or cream, or all three.

Photo by Sandra Filipe on Pexels.com

Celebration Pavlova with Chocolate Dome

This year I decided to make something a little different. Impressive isn’t it? And it is quite simple.

Do you want to know how to make the Chocolate dome for the top?

Find the directions for this variation at my other blog – Something to Ponder About

puppy and girl walking through water fountain by lake newport australia
blogging, photography, writing

Travel Photo

How shall I choose the final photo in this challenge that Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful kindly nominated me to complete?

Shall I choose somewhere closer to home?

Or:

  • my favourite destination – some Nordic ‘hygge/koselig’ location
  • enigmatic Poland
  • wistful Estonia
  • mystical Japan
  • South-East Asia

This is what I decided. One of the most incredible places on earth.

A place you can literally stand between two continents.

And I did.

Once again if you would like to be nominated for this challenge, I would be happy to update this post with your blog url. This is the final post in this challenge.

Happy New Year from a Home by the Sea and Something to Ponder About

photography, writing

Travel Photo 9

In nominating me for this challenge, Ju-Lyn has helped me realise how narrow my travel interests are. I have visited the same countries over five times. You can deduce from this that I am quite in love with them.

I have nominated Ushashita, who kindly volunteered to join the challenge to post ten days of travel photos, no explanation and nominate other bloggers with each post.

Many thanks, Ushashita for accepting.

Sunrise
building

Travel Photo Challenge

Day 3

Norwegian folk museum

I am nominating my fantastic co-host of the Friendly Friday Photography Challenge, Sandy from thesandychronicles to join in with the fun travel photo challenge of posting one travel photo without explanation, or with explanation as I think she prefers that, for ten days.

If Sandy would like to nominate another blogger, that would be fun. I like to discover new blogs, but there is no obligation to do this.

N.B. Sandy – I modify these challenges to suit me. Ten days and nominating ten bloggers is I feel too much. Especially over Christmas. But I do like to participate here and there.

Thanks again Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful

A Home by the Sea

Eat sign
food, health

A Gluten-Free Christmas Menu

You know your own children’s preferences, but when they become adults and bring home partners, you might have to face the prospect that the partners has different dietary preferences that need to be accomodated at festive occasions, like Christmas.

Scandinavian Christmas light

I am rather late in planning this Gluten free Christmas menu and it is not Vegan, nor vegetarian so that is a heads up. But it is highly nutritious.

Entree or Nibbles

First off we have a Prawn, snow pea and Capsicum Entree, I used the following Prawn dish idea but made it a kind of tasting nibbles board, rather than a whole dish. I will add some nice cheeses, home made Knekkerbrød (Norwegian crackers) and nuts to accompany this.

Fresh is best for this opener. Given that all prawns are frozen at the point of capture, fresh is a loose term these days. But we are Australian, so we have to have some kind of shellfish option to start the hot meal.

Christmas food

Mains

Meat

  • Assortment of oven-roasted, gluten-free meats – without stuffing and preferably organic in nature

Roasted Vegetables

  • Potatoes roasted with garlic, thyme and dill
  • Pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrots (all roasted with rosemary sprigs)
  • Onion
  • Choko
  • Red capsicum drizzled with olive oil and roasted lightly

Salads

  • Cauliflower butter beans and Pumpkin Hommus
  • Chickpea Spinach and Eggplant Salad
  • Broccoli, Quinoa and Edamame Vegetables (served warm for the Moth)

Christmas food collage

Dessert

Smashed Pavlova with seasonal stone fruits – there is just a little teaspoon of cornflour in this Pavlova recipe but when there is a coeliac visitor, one has to be extra careful. This is not just Gluten intolerance, but allergy!

  • Gluten-free Option – Chocolate Brownie

For the Moth: Warm Plum Pudding served with custard and ice cream

(not gluten-free)

What kind of different dishes are you cooking this Christmas?

Are you breaking from preparing traditional foods?

Merry Christmas from the Home by the Sea

A Home by the Sea