Roasted Vegetable Soup

I first wrote about his soup when I was travelling through France and it is still a family favourite now. I have to spoken to Kelly Higgins-Devine on 612ABC Radio about how easy soups are to prepare and how the roasted vegetables give it that extra delicious taste.

We are half way through our trip now. The thought of it ending fills me with trepidation. I love being here. Paris makes my heart sing.

I have enjoyed the short trips to other places but when we return to our little apartment in St Germain, I am happiest. Even though my apartment in Brisbane has a modern kitchen with many more gadgets, not once have I missed them. It is strange how you want things and then later realise they haven’t really made the impact on your life you thought they would.

The markets are one of the things about Paris that bring me great joy. I know we have markets in Brisbane and they are great, but here there is one within walking distance of most places.  I have bought a “chariot-course”  to carry my purchases. Everyone has one here so you don’t have to be concerned about your image. The weather here means that you can walk there, take your time purchasing anything your heart desires and on the way back I stop with the husba and have a coffee. This is another of my real joys in Paris. No not the coffee, it is pretty terrible most the time, it is people watching while I sit at cafés. I have included some of the wonderful things I have photographed while sitting at the café.




So this week it has turned cooler in Paris some days it is even cold. We have come home after buying way too much at the markets and I have thought, now what am I going to do with all of this.  The answer, a Roasted Vegetable Soup. Easy to make, full of goodness and delicious.

Roasted Vegetable Soup


Any vegetables you have on hand. I used potatoes, leeks, onion, garlic, beans, tomatoes,carrot and sweet potato.

About 4 cups makes enough soup for five.

4 tablespoons of olive oil

dried herbs of your choice, I used parsley and oregano

Salt and Pepper

1 litre of Vegetable Stock

A nice fresh loaf of bread.


Cut and peel all the vegetables and garlic into similar size pieces and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and herbs, salt and pepper. Toss well. Place in an oven on 175 degrees and allow to roast until tender and golden.

Take all the vegetables out of oven and place in a large saucepan. Simmer on a low heat with vegetable stock. When vegetables are really soft mash with a potato masher. If you prefer your soup smooth you can blend it. I don’t have any gadgets like that at the moment.

Serve with a drizzle of oil and a crusty loaf of bread.


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Fresh Produce

(Competition Entry) Greengrocer Story





For those of you who know me well, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that fresh fruit and vegetables are my inspiration. I base my meals on what is in season and I love walking around perusing the produce. When I find a fruit and vegetable shop like SuperFresh at Crows Nest that shares my passion, it is a wonderful experience. I know you can find all sorts of Greengrocers, they range from the very high end ones that display the produce like art and the original ones that have been the same for fifty years. I enjoy visiting all of these but SuperFresh at Crows Nest is within walking distance from where I live when I am in Sydney. Situated in Atchinson Street it has on-site parking and is often busy with customers. The residents from Crows Nest and surrounding areas come from many different cultural backgrounds and SuperFresh stocks all the fruit and vegetables they like to cook with from Bok Choy to Fennel, it’s all on the shelves.

The business is owned by a husband and wife team, Carmelo and Natalie Develi, and they have owned the business for a year and purchased it from Carmelo’s Uncle who had owned it for almost thirty five years. It has been in Italian/Australian hands all that time. When I walk in I often find Carmelo stacking the shelves and talking with customers, lamenting that the last of the figs have been sold. I listen and smile because I am the same and can tell what time of year it is by what’s on the shelves. I always seem to be asking for something before it’s in season and I’m excited to sample this years crop and cook with it. I enjoy buying Borlotti beans, Persimmons, Figs, Fennel, Feijola and all sorts of other produce that you don’t find everywhere. It’s the little things I notice like the cucumber’s have flowers on the end of them and zucchini too. That’s how you know this produce is fresh.




There are lots of young people working behind the counter speaking to each other in Italian. It is almost too good to be true that over one side there is a deli and coffee shop where I can sit and have a coffee before walking back home.


We are very lucky in Australia to enjoy some of the best produce I have ever tasted. Enjoying the simple routine things of life can make everyday so enjoyable and just like Carmelo enjoys working with his produce, I enjoy finding the best I can and cooking with it. I also believe in shopping with the independent greengrocers as much as possible. It’s better practice and better produce as far as I’m concerned. I like to have a personal relationship with my greengrocer and my butcher. Nothing better than walking into the store and being told they have kept something for me, knowing that I would appreciate the quality.



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Easter Cupcakes

Image 3

I do enjoy Easter. I love all the bunnies and flowers and chocolates. I can imagine in the Northern Hemisphere, it would be wonderful to tie all this in with Spring and all the new growth.  Here, we are going into Autumn but it doesn’t really make that much difference as our climate is sub tropical and we really only have a summer and a short winter. I was thinking with all the chocolate being handed over at Easter time it might be a nice change to give something else and this is how I came up with my Easter Cupcakes. You could easily make some of these and give them away too.


I used the Vanilla Cupcake recipe from Magnolia Bakeries and here it is.

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  • Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.
  • With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but don’t over beat.
  • Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  • Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  • Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

    Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients:
  • 1 cup  unsalted butter, softened
  •  4 cups icing sugar mixture
  • 2 – 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • add a couple of drops of the food colouring you want to achieve a pastel colour.
  • Or add 2 cups of cocoa to achieve a chocolate frosting and reduce icing sugar to 2 cups

If you need help with piping the icing, best thing is to go on youtube and watch the lessons. I decorated mine with small easter eggs and other goodies that you can find in baking shops.


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