A Cup of Tea with Me

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What a quiet week it’s been. Hunkering down from the cold (the cold the cold THE COLD) and getting our arts and crafts on (or arse crahts, if you remember our Facebook conversation from a while ago. Four year olds are rad!). We have enough watercolour paintings to walllpaper the entire upstairs level so you could say its been productive.

Also productive in the kitchen, which I’m wont to do anyway but turbo-charged when in my own kitchen after a spell away. Today will be rhubarb and strawberry pie (maybe with custard inside? Maybe Cindy Crawford’s recipe? Who knows, the night is young) and rosemary roasted pumpkin risotto for dinner. The stock is in the crock pot as we speak.

My poor neglected blanket is finally getting a look-in but I’m still only just past half way. This thing is intense! There’s rows of cables that make me want to puke but I carry on, going somewhere rather more pleasant in my head. It will be amazing when it’s done but at the moment, it’s a tight, angry flag of complicated stitches begging to be finished. I’ve decided to forego the fringe edging and just do a simple border. IF I EVER GET THERE.

Totally loving the blossom I’m seeing peeking out and about these days, and they give me hope even though it’s still nowhere near spring, really. I just joined the legions of suburban housewives descending upon Kmart for their current range of surprisingly good-looking homewares and got an outdoor rug and little seat thing  and table to spruce up our winter-neglected balcony in readiness for like, December when it’s actually warm again. We’ve decided to townhouse for another year, so if that’s our only outdoor space, it may as well be pretty. I got one of those strings of cage lights too, I hope they work. Cheap usually means “fall apart next week” which is why I normally avoid it, but hey… a change is as good as a holiday as they say.

That’s it for me today! Back to endless episodes of Nigella, a shamefully large stack of cookbooks that has made its way into my house, and lots more tea to get me through these last weeks. I have a sneak peek of some of The Rabbit Hole‘s new range and as usual, they do not disappoint. I love those girls, they really know how to tea.

What’s new with you guys?


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Spicy Crock Pot Kitchari

Kitchari - the ultimate winter dish!


Like dhal? Yeah, me too. It was one of the first lentil dished I ever ate that didn’t immediately make me cry. Sure, I ate it on bread like a sandwich, but whatever. It tasted good!

My mum was vegetarian for a long time, and as she made her way into vegetarian cooking when I was in my late teens and early 20s, this dhal she made quickly became something I asked for every time I visited. It started my love of pulses, Hare Krishna food, Ayurvedic food, and anything that required spices and simple ingredients. Living in Murwillumbah will also do that to you. Gosh, that really was the birthplace of my tie-dye years.

As I’ve made my way through vegetarian cooking for the last 10 years, I’m the first person to forget that these amazing food combinations exist. But when I look at my pantry full of very type of bean, split pea, and lentil there is, it’s ayurvedic and Hare Krishna recipes I turn to. They are warming, nourishing, and are far more creative than I can come up with on my own!

A little while ago I was looking for some good slow-cooker meals similar to this smoky split pea soup I made a while ago, and I remembered kitchari, the “chicken soup” of the ayurvedic world. It’s what you eat for everything – you’re sick, you’ve been travelling, you’ve been gorging yourself on everything else, or you just need comfort food, that sort of thing. I wanted to make a huge batch of something healthy, spicy and delicious that I could freeze in portions for lunches and this kitchari hit the spot. It’s kind of like dhal, but made with mung beans instead of lentils. As a fun extra, you can sprout the mung beans you don’t use and make the mung bean sprouts we all know and love! Then you know you’ve really hit hippie territory. Remember that time I sprouted lentils? They were fucking delicious.

I’ve adapted from this recipe, and I ate it with a hell of a lot of sriracha. Just perfect for gloomy winter days like this! Eight degrees they say. The middle of the day they say. I’m wondering if I’ll ever thaw out.

Now I did make this in the crock pot, but you can definitely make it in a large pot on the stove as per usual. I’ve done it both ways and it’s just as good either way!

Spicy Crock Pot Kitchari


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup dry green mung beans
  • 3 Cm ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 1 handful coriander leaves and stems, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 Large bay leaves
  • 1 Large stick cinnamon (about 5cm long)
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic (or pinch of asafoetida if you're doing it legit!)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (you can make with water but I like a bit more oomph to the taste)
  • 1 cup diced seasonal vegetables (I used carrot, celery and potato)
  • fresh lime or lemon juice


Step 1
You can do this two ways: the first takes advantage of the slow-cooking bit of the crock pot and add everything together and simmer on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally. This works well.
Step 2
The other way, if you'd like a bit more colour and flavour but is extra work, is to saute the seasonal vegetables and garlic over a medium heat in some ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil until soft and browned. Add a little more ghee or oil and stir fry the spices until they release their scent, about a minute. Add to the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients, and simmer on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
Step 3
This also works well in a dutch oven in the oven, or on the stove top in the biggest pot you have!
Step 4
I like to serve this soupier, rather than a thick dhal, so I add extra water at the end, and also to each serve when reheating. Excellent with extra coriander on top. Yum!
Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Kickass Chicks: Ruth Bruten of Gourmet Girlfriend

As I sit here watching my kid eat the 875th Vegemite sandwich for the week (no strawberry or mandarine on the side thanks mum), I’m excited to have Ruth on the blog today as she’s helped me no end with the thought of getting good food into unwilling children.

Ruth is a mum of 5 boys, and is an absolute machine in the kitchen. She blogs at Gourmet Girlfriend where she shares recipes, music, and family tales. Every post is like sitting at her kitchen bench with a cup of coffee and a good piece of cake while having a chat – which I’ve literally done, so I can say so with authority!

Those of you who know her will be nodding your head – especially those of you with small children who eat like birds. Ruth is so warm and reassuring, quirky and colourful, and it brightens up my world just knowing she’s in it. She’s been there, done that, and told us all not to worry about it!

As much as I always wanted a large family, I feel good with my two girls. But Ruth is one of the only people who will really make me stop and think… can I add a few more? ;-)


Who are you? 

I’m Ruth. Sometimes GG. Sometimes Mum.

What do you do?

I blog at Gourmet Girlfriend where I share recipes and thoughts on my world as a mum of five boys.  I run my own small business –  teaching cooking classes , making Gourmet Goodie bags, and I have some other things to add to the mix in 2015!

Why do you do it?

I do it because it is important for me to be ‘me’. Whilst my job as mum always comes first- I see one of the very most important jobs I can do as a Mum is to teach my children how important it is to invest in yourself.

Why is good food so important to you?

Good food is important to me because I believe in people and our planet –  and by eating good food we are doing both of those things a very big favour.   The health of ourselves is tightly meshed with the health of our planet. The two are inseparable & I think they deserve our attention for the sake our children.

Are there times where you think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?

Every. Single. Day.

What was it like when your kids were small and you wanted to get nourishing food on the table?  

It was stressful – like it is for every single parent out there.  Only a couple of days ago a good friend was asking for advice about her picky toddler and how to handle her fussy eating. I sent to to a post I wrote right back at the start of my blogging days. It is still my most visited & referred to post. Essentially it is about letting go of the stress & focussing on the time together at the table.

(Ps here is the post! and this post “What Really Happens at Our Dinner Table” is the one I love and I know it’s helped a few of you. Weet-Bix for dinner FTW!)

Have there been rough patches where you doubted yourself? What did you do?

I doubt myself every day. I wear the Crown of Self doubt. Well maybe it is more like a PomPom garland of self doubt…….  It is always people around me that I admire (like you!) that make me feel better by telling me it is normal and to keep on keeping on.

How do you make creating good food work with your family and your lifestyle?  

For me it is a way of life.  It is my life. We shop together as a family- mostly at Farmers Markets. It is an unquestionably delightful way to gather the sustenance that gives us so much joy.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up at 5.30 to exercise and shower before waking my biggest kids at 6.30 to get them off to high school. We sit and eat breakfast together before they head off. Round two starts after they have left with the littlies getting up at about 7.30 to get ready for school at 8.45.

I work from my home office from 10-2 every day- sometimes longer. During that time I may be writing recipes, designing recipe cards, packaging orders, writing blog posts, designing or delivering classes. Then I pick up the littles at school at 3 and bring them home. I often have to travel across town to manage the high school lives of the big kids. I am often not home until 7pm. Then we have dinner. Then bed time for the littles and organisational stuff for the bigs before they go to bed about 9.  Somewhere in amongst all of this I cook and clean and do the laundry (sort of!) . Then I collapse in a heap in my bed & read for a while before I go to sleep. I’m tired just writing this schedule!

Would you recommend having five kids to others?


What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

No kid ever grew up and looked back on their childhood saying  “My childhood was so happy because I grew up in a clean house”.

Vegemite or peanut butter?

Vegemite – I’m a Salt hound.

Thanks Ruth!


Mo Wyse and Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli
Cath Young of My Bearded Pigeon
Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella
Cate Bolt of Foundation 18 and Pretty Fkn Embroidery
Kelley Sheenan of Peppermint Magazine

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Vegetarian “Chicken” Pot Pie

A vegetarian favourite of an old classic - "chicken" pot pie. Rich and creamy, as you'd expect! on theveggiemama.com

It has been comfort food here out the wazoo as I revel in my own kitchen again, and try to keep the winter cold from creeping into our bones. This week we’ve had foccacia, victoria sponge, eccles cakes, vegan mock tuna, and the day I got home from overseas I made cheddar biscuits, homemade ranch, a pot of spicy black beans, brown rice, and quinoa salad. I’m guessing food is my love language.

I’ve also been in the pie game lately, and while I work on perfecting my pastry (almost there!), I’ve been known to cheat and chuck everything in a tin with some frozen puff pastry on top. I ain’t complaining, see?

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Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

A Cup of Tea with Me


There’s frost on the grass, Triple M on the radio, and the sound of trams trundling past – there is no doubt about where I am on this Thursday morning! It is so good to be home.

Sure I’m wearing a handmade poncho on top of an entire winter outfit, I have socks inside my slippers, and can often be found sitting on the stairs because it’s the warmest part of the house, but it’s home.

Speaking of which, I saw this the other day:

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Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

The working mum dilemma

I think I’m in Portland now. I don’t know, I’m writing this from the past. I’m going to assume I am and republish this post from back when I only had one kid and obviously more time in the day to worry about DA FUTURE.

The future is here, kid. And it’s better than you imagined.


Things have been ramping up in real life lately as I prepare to take my first steps on the journey to my PhD. I love my job, and being an academic is something I’ve always dreamed of – even though it took me a long time to get here and I chose probably the most roundabout, man-shortcut path.

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Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Desert Island Discs – my castaway kitchen tunes

The wait is over! I’m back today! But not for long. 8am Tomorrow sees me do the Melbourne-Sydney-LA-Portland gauntlet so I’ll be away from here a bit longer. I think. 

Today’s gem is brought to you by pregnancy insomnia and this beautiful photo of somewhere in the Whitsundays I took during my last trip there. Have you ever been? Also, have you travelled solo with a baby? That post makes me so nostalgic.

As does this one. I don’t miss being fat in the middle of the night, not being able to roll over, and having to pee every 15 minutes which doesn’t matter because you’re sleeping upright thanks to heartburn anyway. Don’t miss that at all. But I do miss these songs – some of which I haven’t heard since this post went live four years and one week ago. 

What would be your choices?whitsundays-helicopter-6-1

When I had some crazy insomnia in my latter stages of pregnancy, I was too big, fat and lazy to get out of bed and be useful. It was 4am, I was over-tired, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I’ve heard of people getting up and cleaning, baking, organising baby clothes – not me. I chose to lay there with my eyes closed and have something that required minimal effort to entertain me.

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Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!
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