Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

The most amazing chocolate chip cookies recipe (easy to make, no mixer required, and no butter or eggs, either!)

For years, I’ve been searching for my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. I want outrageously delicious bakery-style chocolate chip cookies that completely capture my attention upon first bite. I want a chewy middle, barely crisp edges, complex flavor, and rich chocolate chips.

I want all of that in a cookie recipe that’s easy to make. No mixer required. No creaming of softened-but-not-too-soft butter. No chilling the dough for 24 hours. I don’t have the patience for any of that. Sometimes a girl just needs a cookie!

chocolate chip cookie ingredients

I’m saying all of this because I’ve found the cookie recipe of my dreams. These chocolate chip cookies are the best homemade chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. They are so delicious and supremely easy to make. The dough needs a very reasonable 30-minute chill in the refrigerator, and let me tell you, they’re worth the brief wait.

Also amazing? These cookies are (shockingly) vegan. That’s right, there’s no butter or eggs in this recipe, but you’d never guess it. Instead of butter, these cookies use melted coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, or a neutral-flavored oil like avocado oil. The eggs are simply omitted with no downsides.

Continue to the recipe…

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8 Best Cookbooks for 2017

smoky-roast-mushroom-bowls-recipe

Smoky Roast Mushroom Bowls recipe here.
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Apart from a nice glass / bottle of wine, my vices are modest. In truth, my biggest addiction is books.

Especially cookbooks.

This year I decided to stop buying magazines and put my money into new cookbooks instead. Definitely a good decision and one I’m planning to continue into the new year.

My 8 Best Cookbooks for 2017

1. Supernormal
by Andrew McConnell
When you’re in the mood for making some Chinese-ish food this is the book for you. Have been loving using the book to inspire some Saturday date night feasting with my Irishman. Definitely not simple but definitely delicious!

2. Honey & Co : Food from the Middle East
by Itamar Srulovich & Sarit Packer
Have made so many dishes from this book. Wins the award for most cooked from book for 2017 in the Stonesoup kitchen. Love how Middle Eastern food can taste so exotic while using mostly every day ingredients. Worth it for the Lamb Sharwama recipe alone!

3. Breddos Tacos
by Nud Dudhia and Chris Witney
I’ve discovered a source of Australian tacos made using an ‘authentic’ Mexican recipe so have had many great ‘taco’ nights inspired by fab little book. The recipes are generally complex but worth it for a weekend feast! The Breddos restaurant / shack is high on my list next time I’m in London.

4. Twenty Dinners
by Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor
This was a surprise ‘bowling ball’ (Simpsons reference) birthday present from my Irishman who is a big fan of Taylor’s indie band ‘Grizzly Bear‘. Love the beautiful photographs and simple seasonal menus. A good book for entertaining.

5. Alimentari : Salads and other classics from a little deli that grew
by Paul + Linda Jones
Love the fresh simple recipes from this Melbourne deli with both Italian and Middle Eastern heritage. This re-ispired me to get into making dukkah and putting it on everything. If you get it, make sure you make the Farro & Pesto Salad. Soo good!

6. Made in India : Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
by Meera Sodha
My all-time favourite Indian cookbook. Ever since I worked as a waitress in an Indian restaurant during my university days I’ve loved Indian food. Until this book my Indian home cooking was a bit hit and miss. Have loved everything I’ve made from this book – ‘all winners’ as a friend of mine said.

7. Real Food by Mike : Seasonal Wholefood Recipes for Wellbeing
by Mike McEnearney
Every time I go to Sydney I’m still devastated that Mike closed his Rosebery restaurant. Luckly his cookbooks let me experience the joy of Mike’s food from the comfort of my own little kitchen.

8. Dishing Up the Dirt:
Simple Recipes for Cooking Through the Seasons

by Andrea Bemis
Hands down my favourite food blog at the moment. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking my way through this beautiful book of creative ways to serve vegetables. Bemis is a vegetable farmer, fellow beet-lover and girl after my own heart.

My Christmas Cookbook Wish List

Just in case a certain Irishman happens to be reading this 😉

Cornersmith : Salads and Pickles : Vegetables with More Taste & Less Waste
by Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler
Loved the first book from the Sydney Cornersmith cafe and can’t wait to dig in to this next edition. Especially love the idea of vegetables with more taste and less waste – girls after my own heart.

The Christmas Chronicles : Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Midwinter
by Nigel Slater
Long term readers of Stonesoup will know that Nigel Slater (aka ‘St Nigel’) is one of my all time favourite food writers. This is going to be an early Christmas gift to myself. Loved the December entries of all the ‘Kitchen Diaries’ books and looking forward to using this to get into the festive spirit. Especially exciting this year because we’re having a Northern Hemisphere Christmas with my Irishmans family.

The Food of Morocco
by Paula Wolfert
As you may have guessed by now I have a big thing for Middle Eastern and North African food. This classic Moroccan cooking bible has been on my wishlist for a while now. Hoping Santa decides to pick up a copy for me this year!

Your Best 2017 Cookbooks?

I’m always on the lookout for new cookbooks. If you have any favourites please let me know in the comments below!

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

ps. Looking for a Simple Cookbook gift idea?

Then check out my print book ‘5-Ingredients 10-Minutes‘.

It’s as simple as cooking can get without sacrificing flavour or resorting to processed ingredients.

More details at:
www.5ingredients10minutes.com/

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links so if you buy you’ll be supporting Stonesoup in a small way too. Thank you!

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Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Here's a brunch-worthy meal that you can serve for dinner, too! This goat cheese polenta recipe is full of vegetables.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This recipe is one that we had to cut from my cookbook due to space constraints, but it’s too good to keep from you. It was inspired by two delicious experiences with polenta, or grits, if you’d rather. They’re basically the same thing.

The first was a polenta bowl at a farm-to-table restaurant in Omaha called Kitchen Table. My bowl looked pretty similar to what you see here, but with a poached egg. The second was at my cousin’s wedding shower, where I found grits generously swirled with cheddar cheese, green chilis and melted butter.

ingredients

This combination is a homemade version of Kitchen Table’s bowl with Southwestern influences inspired by my cousin’s grits. I cooked the polenta with bell pepper and stirred in some salsa verde to amp up the flavor. Then I stirred in just one tablespoon of butter and folded in crumbled goat cheese, making the polenta ultra creamy.

This is a versatile recipe that you can adjust to work with any vegetables in your drawer. I roasted my vegetables for maximum flavor, but you could choose to steam or sauté them instead. You can also play around with the cheese (cheddar or Parmesan would be great), and you can prepare your eggs however you’d like. Lightly sautéed greens would be nice, too.

Continue to the recipe…

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2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Cookie and Kate's annual holiday gift guide! Find gifts your family and friends will love for years to come. #giftguide

Cue the Christmas music: Holiday season is here! While everything’s on sale, I’m sharing my annual holiday gift guide. I personally own (or have successfully gifted) each of the items below, and I can vouch that they are all great products.

I’ve added an asterisk (*) next to items under $25. For even more ideas, check out my kitchen essentials, as well as last year’s holiday gift guide.

The links below are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase through my links (at no cost to you, of course). Thank you for supporting Cookie and Kate. Let’s get to the gifts!

Continue to the recipe…

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Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Roasted sweet potato enchiladas with salsa verde sauce! #vegetarian

Quick! I’m sharing these enchiladas with you as a suggestion for a post-Thanksgiving meal this weekend (don’t forget, I have lots of vegetarian Thanksgiving options here).

The enchiladas are stuffed with creamy, hearty sweet potato, plus black beans, feta cheese, and spices. The sauce is super easy—just grab some mild salsa verde at the store. Or, you can go the extra mile and make your own.

ingredients

Most restaurant enchiladas are so cheesy that I leave with a belly ache, but not these. They are delicious, satisfying and leftovers taste even better the next day. If you want to make a vegetarian dinner and hear, “I don’t even miss the meat,” these enchiladas are for you.

This recipe is actually one that I shared back in 2011, but it was missing some key instructions, like how to roast the sweet potato. So, I revisited it and tweaked it a bit, and they’re better than ever.

Continue to the recipe…

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20 Best Foods to Improve Your Gut Health

sarahs-indian-kimchi-recipe

Sarah’s Indian Kimchi recipe here.
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A few months ago I had a big Saturday night out on the town. No, I didn’t go to any fancy wine bars. No, I didn’t check out the latest hot restaurant.

I went to see a scientist speak.

What can I say. As a girl with two science degrees (food science and wine science), there’s no escaping my inner nerd.

The ‘scientist’ in question was Dr Michael Mosley, one of my favourite authors and documentary makers. He spoke about his latest book ‘The Clever Guts Diet – How to revolutionize your body from the inside out.’

I was in heaven!

20 Best Foods to Improve Your Gut Health

GENERAL GUT-HEALTH FOODS

1. Fruit & Vegetables
Bring on the fiber! More on this below.

2. Olive oil
Olive oil is wonderful for reducing inflammation everywhere including the gut. Plus including more fat from oil means you’re less likely to reach for processed sugar and carbs.

3. Oily fish
Great for your gut for the same reason anti-inflammatory reason as olive oil.

4. Cocoa
The best news is that chocolate is good for you! The flavanoids and polyphenols (types of antioxidants) found in cocoa powder and dark chocolate are loved by your gut bacteria too. Win win!

5. Red Wine
Of course too much alcohol will quickly decimate your gut microflora. But 1-2 glasses of red wine can actually be helpful.

6. Spices
Turmeric is the best because not only is it an anti-inflammatory, it can also protect the wall of the intestine by inhibiting the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Ginger is another anti-inflammatory.

FIBER-RICH FOODS – INULIN
Inulin is a special type of fiber that our gut bacteria thrive on.

7. Onions, leeks & garlic
Some of the best sources of inulin. Now you know why so many recipes begin with ‘soften an onion’.

8. Witlof or endive
Great for adding inulin to your salads

9. Dandelion Greens
Not something I’ve tried myself but keen to check them out!

10. Jerusalem Artichoke
Have a reputation for causing gas. All that inulin means happy gut bacteria which means you-know-what.

11. Asparagus
One of my favourite veggies! Bring on the Spring.

12. Bananas
Contain moderate amounts of inulin and resistant starch (see below). I avoid them because they’re not Low Carb.

FIBER-RICH FOODS – RESISTANT STARCH
Resistant Starch is another special type of fiber that looks and tastes like starch (hello pasta!) but isn’t able to be digested like normal starch so it passes to the gut to feed our bacteria.

13. Pasta, Potatoes, Rice
By cooking, cooling and reheated these carbs you can convert some of the regular starch into resistant starch and do your gut bacteria a favour. Good news for the carb lovers among us.

FIBER RICH FOODS – OTHER

14. Barley & Oats
Contain another type of soluble fiber called Beta-glucan which as been linked with lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

15. Linseeds (Flax seeds)
Great source of insoluble fiber called cellulose.

16. Apples
Eating apples produces buutyrate which feeds our gut bacteria. They also provide regular insoluble fiber too.

17. Seaweed
Another great general fiber source.

PROBIOTICS
Probiotics contain actual beneficial microbes (especially) bacteria.

18. Cheese
Not all cheese contains live cultures of bacteria. Some that do include blue cheese, feta, gouda, cottage cheese, mozzarella, camembert and brie.

19. Yoghurt
The most famous probiotic. And really fun and easy to make at home.

19. Fermented Vegetables
My favourite sources of probiotics including sauerkraut, kimchi, other fermented veg. A great alternative if you need to avoid dairy

20. Apple Cider Vinegar
Reduces blood sugar spikes by inhibiting one of the digestive enzymes which breaks down sugars.

Are These Foods Good for Everyone?

Unfortunately no. If you suffer from Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), many of these foods can actually increase your symptoms. If this is you, I’d recommend checking out the FODMAPS diet developed by Monash University in Australia.

More Food + Gut Health Resources on Stonesoup

Other Gut Health Resources

Did you enjoy this article?

Or are you more interested in simple recipes? I’d love to hear what you’d like more of. Just leave a comment below.

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details click here.

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Sweet Potato, Kale and Chickpea Soup

This healthy #vegan soup recipe is made with sweet potato, kale, farro and chickpeas!

The holidays are almost here, but I’ve been eating like it’s Thanksgiving for the past few weeks. Food blogger problems! I’m seeking balance in the meals in between recipe testing by filling my belly with my favorite veggie-packed meals.

Case in point: This sweet potato, kale, chickpea and farro soup, which is both impossible to describe using fewer words. I shared this recipe five years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites.

ingredients

I’m counting down the minutes until I can heat up a big bowlful of this soup for lunch. It’s spicy, filling, satisfying, and overflowing with so-called power foods and whole grain goodness. The Thai red curry paste might seem like an unlikely pairing for sweet potatoes, kale and farro, but somehow it just works.

I love this soup because each main ingredient contributes flavor while retaining its texture. The farro stays nice and chewy, the chickpeas don’t turn to mush like lentils might, the sweet potatoes retain their delicate bite, and the kale never wilts into nothingness like spinach tends to do.

Continue to the recipe…

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Sarah’s Indian Kimchi

Indian Kimchi-2

Sarah’s Indian Kimchi

This more unusual kimchi was inspired by this Sarah Wilson recipe. It’s just as easy to make as my Simple Crunchy Kimchi and has the added bonus of being a little bit more exotic in the flavouring department. If you can’t get your hands on daikon (a large Asian radish) just replace it with white cabbage.

This kimchi is lovely as a side to Indian food. It’s also good anywhere you want to add some crunch, a serve of veggies and / or a flavour explosion! I prefer it with the fenugreek seeds because they add a lovely Indian flavour. If you can’t find them it’s great without too!

makes 1 large jar (about 1L / 4 cups)
takes about 30 minutes active time + a few days fermenting
1 daikon
500g (1lb) carrots
3 teaspoons chilli flakes
5cm (2in) piece fresh turmeric, grated
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fine salt

1. Get yourself a clean, dry jar about 1L (4 cups) plus an extra little jar in case you need it.

2. Wash your diakon and carrots. Grate them using your food processor or a box grater and your muscles. Place grated veg in a large bowl.

3. Add chilli flakes, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and salt to the veg. Toss with clean hands and cover with a tea towel. Stand at room temp to allow the salt to soften the veg. I leave it at least an hour but you could leave overnight.

4. Pack diakon carrot mixture into your large jar. I use a combo of clean hands and a spoon. You want to really squash it down to release the juices. If it won’t all fit, put the extra in your backup jar. Leave a little room at the top of each because it will expand as the fermentation happens. Divide leftover juice from the bottom of the bowl between your jars. You want the cabbage to be covered by liquid. If there isn’t enough, top with a little filtered water. Top with lids.

5. Place your jar(s) on a plate to catch any juices that overflow (this happens frequently to me). Stand at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-3 days or longer.

6. Every day open the jar to release any gas. Once I can see evidence of bubbles I usually seal the lids and pop in the fridge. Typically this is on the 3rd day but in winter it might be longer and less in Summer. If you’re not sure, I’d err on the side of putting it in the fridge earlier. If you taste and decide it’s too bland you can always leave it out again to get more funk happening. But once it’s too funky there isn’t much you can do.

7. Keep in the fridge for a few months.

Variations

no daikon – replace with 1/2 large white cabbage.

no turmeric – if you can’t find fresh turmeric, use 1 tablespoon turmeric powder. You can skip it but it give the kimchi it’s beautiful yellow colour.

no mustard seeds – you could substitute whole grain mustard or just skip it.

no fenugreek seeds – Fenugreek seeds are available from good spice suppliers or Indian grocery stores. You can skip it or add 1-2 teaspoons curry powder for some extra spice.

no chilli flakes – you can use any form of chilli you like, dried, powdered or fresh. Just err on the side of not enough spicy heat because you can always add more. And you could skip the chilli if you prefer a milder pickle.

different veg – shaved cabbage, regular radishes, grated beets, grated fennel, chopped bok choy, chopped green onion (scallions / shallots) can all be added.

salt – salt keeps the texture crunchy. So I tend to err on the side of more but you could try less if you needed to. I use finely ground Himalayan rock salt but any salt apart from Iodized salt is great. I’ve read the iodine can hinder growth of the lactic acid bacteria.

Prepare Ahead?

A must! Keeps in the fridge for months.

More Fermented Food + Gut Health Resources on Stonesoup

With love,
Jules x

ps. Tired of deciding what to cook?

Soupstones Square Logo no border

Looking for a weekly meal planning service where someone else comes up with the ideas for what to have for dinner?

Then check out my Soupstones Meal Plans.

For more details click here.

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27 Meatless Thanksgiving Recipes

Find 20 hearty vegetarian recipes for your Thanksgiving table! #vegetarianrecipes

Thanksgiving is almost here, can you believe it? I’m speaking for myself here, but please don’t worry about having a meat-like substitute for us vegetarians, or even a fancy designated entree. I’m happy enjoying a big plate of hearty side dishes (and dessert afterward, of course).

If you’ve been wondering what to serve the vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free eaters at your Thanksgiving table, this roundup is for you. All of the recipes are meatless. The recipes that are also gluten free and/or vegan are labeled accordingly.

I organized the recipes by category (mains, hearty salads, soups and sides), starting with the main events. At the end of the post, you’ll find links to recipes that will round out Thanksgiving Day, including breakfast options, cocktails and desserts. I’m hoping to publish some pie recipes in time for the big day.

For more ideas, check out my full Thanksgiving archives and fall recipe archives. Have a great weekend! I’m working on a big project and can’t wait to share it with you next week.

Continue to the recipe…

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Homemade Bircher Muesli

Bircher muesli (also known as Swiss oatmeal) with homemade applesauce #healthybreakfast

The holidays are closing in on us fast, and my pants are already snug (mashed potatoes, I’m looking at you). I’ve been perfecting this Bircher muesli recipe since I finally figured out how to make overnight oats tasty.

If you are looking for ways to keep your cravings and energy level in check this holiday season (who isn’t?), I hope this Bircher muesli recipe will be a big help. It’s basically overnight oats with fresh apple and applesauce, oats, raisins, nuts and nut butter. It’s a healthy make-ahead breakfast that tastes like a holiday treat.

bircher muesli ingredients

Continue to the recipe…

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