Getting Saucy – Part 1 Tomato Soup/Passata


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Every year I purchase a large box of tomatoes.  From this box of tomatoes, I make a years supply of tomato sauce and tomato soup.  I set aside a day (usually planning in advance as there is nothing worse than cooking tomatoes on a 35 degree day).  I then chop, stir, freeze and bottle until around 10pm at night.  It is so satisfying to sit down when it’s all done, with a freezer stocked for the winter ahead, and bottles on the shelf filled with deliciousness.

Yesterday, was the day. 23 degrees. Perfect cooking weather.

First up,  tomato soup.

This soup recipe is the same recipe that my mum uses.  It’s called a soup, and it can be used as one, but I use it as a passata.  Making homemade pizza’s? This makes the best tomato base. Putting together a casserole? Add the meat, tomato soup, veggies and you’re done. Need to make a pasta bake? Add a tin of tuna, the soup, corn and pasta, stir through, sprinkle with cheese and bake.  Change the meat & veg. Will still be great.  Making vegetable soup? You know, the empty the fridge soup that you throw everything into?  Add half the stock as per usual, and then top it up with some of this soup.  Delicious.  I rarely use it on its own as a soup….if you do, make sure you dilute it by half (just add some water).  Otherwise, it’s too strong!

This recipe makes a big pot of soup. I use a stock pot.  Once it’s cooked, I then freeze the soup into portions, large ones for casseroles and soups, small ones for pizza night. You can halve this recipe if you don’t have much freezer space or even quarter it.  Whatever works for you.

Tomato Soup

14 pound of tomatoes, chopped (this is around 6.3kg)

7 large onions

2 cups sugar

7 cloves

8 stalks celery (1/2 bunch)

12 springs parsley

3 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. pepper


2014-03-17 12.34.45Chop all your tomatoes and get them into your pot.  I let them start cooking so they can cook down a bit before I add the next ingredients…otherwise it gets a little squishy!

2014-03-17 13.14.30Chop and add your onions.  The soup will be blended at the end, so you don’t need to chop too finely

2014-03-17 13.19.09Add celery, parsley and cloves to the pot with salt and pepper

Cook until the ingredients are soft.

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Blend. (I just put the stick mixer in, and whizz it all up…turning the heat off first!)

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Melt 250g butter and mix with 8 tbs plain flour.  Pour into blended mixture.  Turn heat on and bring to boil, simmer until mixture thickens (approx. 10 mins)

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Allow to cool and then package up to put into the freezer.  As you can see I use a variety of pans and containers to give me the size and shape of package I want.  Once they are frozen I take the bags of soup out of the trays and containers.  Then so I can find them in my freezer (I have a chest freezer) I put them all into one large bag so that when I’m looking for my soup they’re all together.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how to make my tomato sauce….are you up for it?  It’s a bit of a cheat recipe, but works beautifully and tastes delicious.  Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never buy sauce again.

See you then!






Jam Donut Cupcakes – #sundaybakingsunday


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Jam donuts. There’s nothing quite like them is there?

When we were kids, mum used to take us to the Queen Victoria Market during the school holidays.  We’d line up at the donut van to get our bag of donuts, then walk slowly up and down the aisles, munching carefully (the jam was always hot!), perusing the stalls, trying to work out how best to spend our pocket money.  Such good fun.

I came across this recipe for jam donut cupcakes on the Lifestyled website.  Paula has a terrific blog/website with fashion, food and home wares all covered.  It’s definitely worth a look!  The original jam donut recipe came from Not Quite Nigella.   If you’re a foodie and have never seen Lorraine’s blog/website…best you hop over there immediately.  I use the recipe off the Lifestyled website. Today I made a minor adjustment.  In half the cupcakes I used jam, in the other half, I used Nutella

So, after mixing all the ingredients.  No big mixers required, just a spoon.

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Put some mixture into each of the patty pans. Place a teaspoon of jam (or Nutella) in each, then cover with the remaining batter.

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Bake for 20 minutes.

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When they come out of the oven, melt some butter and paint it over the tops.

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Then roll the cupcakes in cinnamon sugar.

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Serve warm or cold. Makes 12

No frying, no fussing.  A quick, easy recipe that tastes fabulous.  It’s also a winner at a cake stall or fete.  Oh…and even though the kids were quite happy with the Nutella version….the jam is still the best.

We made a batch recently and took them to a park.  The youngest still talks about going to the pirate ship park and eating jam donut cupcakes.  Childhood memories in the making!

Finally…a finished project!



I had every intention of showing something that I was making each week when I started this blog.  So…that’s going well then….

However, I finally finished something..woohoo!

I purchased a ball of 12 ply multi coloured wool a while ago.  As you can see, I started making a larger blanket.  I then ran out of wool, so a Plan B was required.  I then made lots of smaller squares.  The rationale behind this was that I would find a contrast wool to pull it all together.  2014-02-12 14.26.58

That proved impossible for a few weeks, until a recent visit to Spotlight, where I came upon these.  Perfect!

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So I joined my squares using the method from here.  If you ever want to learn how to crochet granny squares, Pip is your lady.  Her tutorials are fabulous.

I ended up only used the teal colour (the wool band called it Jade) for all the joining, and for when I went around the boarder a few times.  When making the quick trip back to Spotlight to pick up a little more Jade wool, I came across this orange.  A lap around the edge just made it all pop!

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It’s not my usual colour scheme, but I like it.  Because the wool is 12ply, it’s quite heavy, so will be perfect as the weather gets cooler.  It measures 80cm x 90cm.  Perfect for a small person. Or perhaps a lap blanket for a bigger person.

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I haven’t put anything in my Made It shop for ages, but I think I’ll put this in over the weekend.  If you’d like to purchase it directly, you can send me an email at  I’ve found some more of the multi coloured wool so I’m going to make a big blanket for Miss 9 out of that…hopefully she’ll let this one go if I trade her for the new one!

Have you been making anything lately?  Share it with me???

A cup of tea with me



I’m so glad you could pop around for a cup of tea with me!  This post is all about celebrating with my classmates our graduation from our Blog with Pip course.  It was a fabulous course, and I learnt heaps (especially on the technical side…because, quite frankly, I had no idea!).   Pip is such a generous teacher with her knowledge and time. She’s super supportive.  So if you are even just a little bit interested in her May Blog with Pip course.  Just do it, you won’t regret it.

The course for me was a kick-start for the year.  It’s a bit of a big year, as for the first time in 12 years, all my kids (there are 3) are at school.  It’s a little bit yippee, and a little bit boohoo.  Yippee because I can start tackling the projects I’ve been wanting to start/finish for ages, and boohoo as it’s been a long time since I haven’t had anyone at home with me (and all my babies have grown up…when did that happen?).  It’s good, but a little weird as well!.

So, what’s my space all about?  Well hopefully it reflects me and my home, a happy, warm and welcoming place.  I love to cook, especially bake, in fact, can I offer you a Milo biscuit or piece of banana bread that we made the other day? I also enjoy anything to do with wool and fabric, so knitting, crocheting, stitching and sewing…there’s a bit of that going on as well.  But really, it’s just a reflection on my life.  I’m a country girl, living in the city, raising 3 kids with a hardworking hubby. To round out the family, we have a grouchy 15 year old cat and a naughty, but oh so cute 1 year old golden retriever.  Let’s just say, there’s always something happening around here!

I hope you come back, as I’d love to get to know you…this chat is feeling very one sided! Thanks so much for coming by, but on your way out, make sure you check out the other graduates from my class.  They’re an inspiring, creative, awesome bunch of people and I’m so happy that they’ve also become friends.


#sundaybakingsunday on a Monday


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Did you have a lovely weekend?  We did!  If you were lucky enough to enjoy a long weekend like us, isn’t it amazing what a difference that extra day makes?!

However, that extra day, does throw the weekly routine out of kilter, so instead of baking on Sunday to get ready for a week of lunchboxes, we baked on Monday instead.

On the menu was banana bread (as we had a couple of sad looking bananas in the fruit bowl) and some biscuits.

The banana bread recipe came from a trusty source – The Australian Women’s Weekly.  Miss 9 got The AWW Cooking School For Kids for Christmas.  It has some terrific recipes.  The recipe for the banana bread was quick and easy.  No electrical equipment required, just some wooden spoon action.  I had a piece for afternoon tea, and it was pretty good!

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I also wanted to do a big batch of biscuits to fill up the biscuit tin.  So I turned to the experts…The CWA (the Country Women’s Association of Victoria, to be precise!).  In their biscuit section they had a recipe for Biscuits by the Dozen.  Perfect.   They had different variations, one of which was to add malt.  I didn’t have malt, but I did have Milo, so I made Milo biscuits!

Milo Biscuits

120g butter

2 eggs

250g sugar

250g S.R. Flour

1 tbsp. Milo

I softened the butter then added the sugar.  Beat it until creamy.  Add the eggs, then add the flour and milo.  The mixture is quite soft, so if you wanted to, you could add a bit extra flour…I didn’t, but I probably would next time.

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Using teaspoons, I placed spoonful’s on trays lined with baking sheets/paper.  Put them in a 180 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Cool for 5 mins on the trays before transferring to wire racks.  The mixture made 40 biscuits.

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They’re chewy biscuits, and the milo flavour is there…but I could be tempted to put a little extra milo in next time.

The kids think they’re excellent.  So it’s a winner!

You can play along with #sundaybakingsunday on Instagram as well.  Check out the lovely lady who started it all over here.  If you’re looking for something to feed the family this week, her pasta bake could be just the thing!

See ya!


Ideas for the long weekend


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Hello poppets!

The Labour Day long weekend is upon us and the weather is going to be AWESOME here in Melbourne. So lets find some good things to do!


It’s Moomba’s 6oth birthday!  All the old favourites are back, a parade on Monday at 11am down St Kilda Road and the Birdman Rally at noon on Sunday (who remembers watching this on the TV as a kid???). There’s a dedicated Kids Zone and fireworks at 9.30pm each night from Saturday until Monday.  Of course the Moomba Masters water skiing will be happening on the Yarra.  You can find out more details at the Moomba Festival website here.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

The Festival is in full swing here in Melbourne, and in various parts of Victoria.  You can find all that is happening this weekend here


Super Saturday – Horse Racing at Flemington

Going to the races in Autumn is great.  If you’ve never been, this is the perfect opportunity to dip your toe in the water, fewer people, cheaper entry and great racing. If you’ve got kids and you’ve never taken them because of the crowds and/or cost, now is the time (entry for kids is free!).   At Flemington tomorrow there’s Group 1 racing for those who are keen, AND, they’re is running a Grazing Trail and Cellar door.  Something for everyone.  Details here


Summer Arts Long Weekend

Showing in the Hellenic Museum garden, you can check out a selection of contemporary visual and performing arts from Australian and international artists. There’s theatre, comedy, music, and a family program of free events.  It’s a look into contemporary Greek culture today. More info here.


French Film Festival

If we can’t go to Paris for the weekend, this may be the next best thing!  You can find the festival program here .


Nothing above taking your fancy?  How about packing a picnic, grabbing the family and some friends and heading to a local park or perhaps the Botanical Gardens?  Perhaps a drive to the Yarra Valley for some wine tastings could be good, or maybe a bike ride along the bay or the Yarra may be more your thing.  You could head into the city and check out one of our fantastic galleries, or perhaps head to your local cinema and catch up on some movies.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, I hope you have a terrific one!


On a Wednesday….


Today is looking a little like this!

I took the fourth child for a walk

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Then home to clean this and the ensuite.  Master 5 must’ve been in here with his eyes closed this morning…there was more on the floor than in the toilet (it was not pretty!)

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Master 12 comes home from camp this afternoon.  Washed all his linen yesterday, so today made his bed, ready for him to crawl into it.

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Out to run some errands.  First to a favourite..

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I love Spotlight.  Finally managed to find a border colour for these squares!

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And maybe picked up some other things…

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Then onto Woolies to pick up things for dinner….

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And these.  Am now going to be crowned best mum in the world when the kids get home and see these (not the flowers, they’re mine!)…..

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Onto library.  I love the library…

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And now that all the shopping has been put away, the washing is hung out and all is in order.  I’ve got an hour before school pick up.  You’ll find me on the couch with these…

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How are you spending your Wednesday?  I hope it’s been a good one!




Monday Things




Hope you had a lovely weekend.  We did.  It was busy with kids sport and home jobs and all the other things that seem to take over the weekend.

Hubby and I managed a date night on Saturday night.  We headed into the city to The Immersery. It’s a pop up restaurant/bar as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. You can find all the details here.  It was so good to get out of the  house!

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Yesterday we went for a family bike ride along the bay.  It was the first bike ride where everyone has ridden their own bike.  I would’ve taken a photo, however I was to busy yelling at Mister 5 to stay to the LEFT of the bike track!

I also played along with I Give You the Verb’s #sundaybakingsunday.  This apple crumble was delicious!

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There were so many things I wanted to achieve today… but someone is conspiring against me to make it difficult!  Master 12 headed off to camp, forgot he needed to take a back pack, so I had to do the mad dash home to grab one before the bus left.  I  got called up to school to check Miss 9’s wrist.  She took a tumble from the monkey bars and wrenched it.  Thankfully no trip to the emergency department required.  I finally managed to put the washing on the line at 2.30pm, only to find my hoodie on the ground when we got home from school pick up.  Someone think’s it’s a game to pull things off the line.

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It’s a recent habit…one that needs to be broken very quickly!  Any ideas on how to stop a dog from pulling washing off the line?

So it’s 4pm and I’m about to start my day…..

2014-03-03 16.04.13Hope you have a great week!

A Birthday Boy and a 3 Minute Plain (Vanilla) Cake


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My eldest turned 12 last weekend.  When did that happen?  He’s growing so tall, nearly as tall as me.  I can see glimpses of the teenager that is not far away…I am so not ready!  He’s in Grade 6, the final year of primary school. My baby who made me a mum.  I love him so very much.

His birthday was Sunday, so the whole weekend turned into a birthday extravaganza.  I made 7 cakes over the course of the weekend.  Ridiculous!

Cake 1

My 3 minute plain cake (recipe below) with chocolate icing for cricket on Saturday morning.  I had to laugh when we arrived at cricket, the youngest had snuck open the cake tin when the team went back out to field and eaten the icing off the remaining pieces of cake. His sister arriving later from netball was most unimpressed!

Cakes 2 & 3

The birthday party was Saturday night.  He invited his class mates and a few cricket mates.  The indoor skate park provided a party room and I hired some professionals for 1/2 an hour to show them some tricks and how to ride the ramps properly (so worth while). Chips, lollies, pizza from the local pizza shop, lots and lots of water. Easiest party ever.

The cake was all about his beloved Carlton Football Club.  It was a layer cake, using the 3 minute plain cake, one layer dyed blue and the other left white.  To make the logo, I printed a copy of the logo out onto a piece of paper and then placed a piece of baking paper over the top.  I then melted white chocolate, added the food dye and then moulded the chocolate over the baking paper to for the logo.  Once it was set I peeled it off the baking paper and placed it onto the cake.  The chocolate didn’t like the dye and it went all clumpy.  I ended up pushing the chocolate with my fingers to form the logo (you an see where my fingers have pressed the chocolate into shape!).  The birthday boy loved it, and that’s all that matters!

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Cakes 4 & 5

For his actual birthday on Sunday we made a cricket bat cake.  His other sporting love.  The cake came from the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake book that mum used when we were kids.  An oldie, but such a goodie! The 3 minute plain cake (2 batches) was rolled out yet again.  I usually use plain (vanilla) cakes for birthday cakes as there is usually so much going on with the icing and decorations, that  having a plain cake underneath balances it out a little.  The handle was grated chocolate.  Note to self, if doing this again, don’t put the candles on this section. It went everywhere!

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Cakes 6 & 7

Our school loves you taking in something to share with the class when it’s your birthday.  I did suggest a packet of Freddo frogs, but no, he wanted cake. Just to keep things interesting, I made two chocolate cakes, chocolate icing and 100’s & 1000’s.  Having to do 30 cupcakes was beyond me at that point.  I’ll share the chocolate cake recipe with you another time.  It’s just as easy as the 3 minute plain cake recipe below!

I will be quite happy not to see another cake for a while.  However if  you’d like to have a go at my 3 minute plain cake recipe, here it is!

3 Minute Plain (Vanilla) Cake


115g butter, melted

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract


Combine all ingredients in one bowl (I melt my butter in my mixing bowl in the microwave, then add the rest of the ingredients). Beat for 3 minutes until pale and fluffy.  Place mixture in a prepared 20cm tin (grease and line base with baking paper).  Bake for 25 – 35 mins at 180 degrees until cooked.  Test with a skewer if you are not sure (push skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s done!).  My oven is quite hot so my cakes are usually done between 25 & 30 mins.

Ice with whatever you’d like.  Our standard icing is icing sugar with a tablespoon or two of cocoa.  Add water to get the right consistency and then spread over the cake.  Sprinkle with 100’s & 1000’s, coconut or whatever you like (or nothing!).

Happy baking!