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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lamb Shank & Vegetable Soup

Another quick but delicious recipe.  It is a full bodied soup that is just wonderful for those cooler winter nights or ideal for a weekend when you want a little more time for you.  I made mine on low in the slow cooker which made it so simple.  Just prepare and press the button. 

Ingredients (serves 6)

4 lamb shanks, french trimmed
3 celery sticks, trimmed, cut into 1cm pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 (about 300g) swede, peeled, cut into 1cm pieces
1 (about 160g) parsnip, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
2 x 420g cans condensed tomato soup
1.5L (6 cups) cold water
1/3 cup loosely packed coarsely chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine lamb shanks, celery, carrot, swede, parsnip, tomato soup and water in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2-1/4 hours or until lamb is tender and falling away from the bone.

Remove from heat and stir in parsley.  Use tongs to remove the bones.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup into bowls and serve with crusty bread, if desired. 

If you can't get the french trimmed shanks use untrimmed but you will find there will be more fat in the soup.  You can let it stand overnight if preferred and then scoup this off.  I serve it with a sliced turkish loaf topped with grated parmesan cheese which has been lightly grilled.  Bon Appetite!

Home made oven-baked muesli - yummo!

Gosh where has the time apologies but life has been a bit hectic, as it is for us all at times.  I haven't made a card in what seems like months; actually bought one the other day for my son's birthday.  I must have enough pretties to make enough cards for family and friends for the next 20 years! LOL ...  I have been spoiling myself with some special purchases from the US to add to my ever growing stash so keep posted...oh how I love to see a parcel on the doorstep when I arrive home.

Spring can't come quick enough for me; the flowers are blooming, birds chirping happily, the air gets warmer, clothing layers can be lessened after being hidden under cozy wool sweaters and jeans for months and months, and there's a certain excitement in the air and of course daylight saving....I just love that extra hour after work. 

I have been wanting to convert more into using homemade cleaning products and to see if they worked as well as the ones I buy with all the chemicals.  I had a go at making my own washing powder - super easy - and yes it does work.  I used vinegar as my softener and the towels were lovely and soft.  Oh how I wish I'd known about this when my children were young - I would have saved thousands!  I got the recipe from 'Down to Earth' which is here  The silver cleaning with the aluminium foil is amazing too.  I also use vinegar in my mop bucket now in place of purchased floor cleaner.  I also would love to have a go at homemade soap, so that's on the list of projects as well.  I've joined a couple of beginner knitting classes at Jellywares on Marshall recently; a great shop to call into and you can always be assured of a warm welcome from the owner Jodie.  I persevered  and made my first hat, for my granddaughter Millie who is presently holidaying in NZ with her parents.  I'll add some photos when they arrive home.  The pattern came from the book at the side of my blog called Baby Beanies and was a great one to start with first.

Anyway enough rambling on....I have a couple of  favourite recipes to share with you because I have been feeling guilty about neglecting my blog.  We enjoy this muesli each morning with a big dollop of vanilla yogurt.  It is delicious and very filling. We have been eating it for a few months now and still look forward to its scrumptious taste and knowing that we are eating a bowl full of healthy goodness.

Basic Recipe:  Makes 5-1/2 cups

1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
1/3 cup orange juice
2 cups traditional rolled oats
1/2 cup bran cereal
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

**I triple the recipe, add almonds, flax seeds (linseed) and two or three extra cups of oats.  This makes three large jars which store very well and gives us a good supply for a couple of months.  I don't always put in the orange rind but when I do you can taste a hint of citrus flavour.


Preheat oven to 200 deg C/180 deg C fan forced.  Line a large, shallow baking dish with baking paper.  Place honey, orange rind and orange juice in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until honey has melted.

Combine oats, cereal, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds in a large bowl.  Add honey mixture.  Toss to combine.  Spread mixture into prepared dish.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crisp.  Cool on tray.  Add sultanas and apricots.  Stir to combine.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

If you are looking for a healthy and filling breaky I urge you to give this a try and adapt it to your own tastes. We love nuts so it suits us. It takes a little bit of time initially but is worth it.  I use a pair of metal salad spoon/fork to toss it when baking so I get an even colour.  If you like your muesli a little soft don't cook it for very long - if you like it crunchy like me then cook for a little longer.  Try a bit as you are cooking.  After a few tries you will know exactly how long to cook it.   I have two large bowls - one filled with the pre-cooked muesli and the other to tip the cooked muesli in so I can reuse the tray for the next batch.  Your house will smell of hone for a day or so once you have made it.

Enjoy and I'd love to know what you think!  I have found a similar recipe that you make into a muesli bar so when time permits will have a go at this also.