Le Creuset Giveaway & How to Photograph Food

Soup in Le Creuset 5.5 quart white French oven

Moroccan Butternut, Chickpea and Couscous Stew, page 88

Happy Mother’s Day to to my hard-working mom and all the strong mamas out there! You make the world go around. I’m writing today because there are only two more days until my cookbook, Love Real Food, hits the stores and your mailboxes. I can’t wait!

To thank all of you who have pre-ordered so far, I teamed up with Le Creuset to offer a 5.5-quart Dutch oven ($330 retail value) to one of you lucky ducks! I use my Le Creuset Dutch oven all the time for big batches of pasta, soup, rice and casseroles. I love knowing that it will last forever.

If you have pre-ordered, you can enter here for a chance to win. The winner will get to pick from the colors in their core line—Cerise, Marseille, Flame, Soleil, Palm, Hibiscus, Caribbean or White (pictured above). If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, hop on over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, BAM!, Indigo, Anthropologie or iBooks to get a copy.

Since you seemed to love reading about the recipe development process for the cookbook last week, I wanted to offer the visual effects that I use in my food photos today. I’m using examples from the book so you’ll get some sneak peeks at the recipes, too. (For details about my photography equipment and more, check here.)

You can use these visual effects to your advantage whether you’re snapping pictures with your phone or shooting with a fancy camera. I’d love to see you put them to work. When you get your book, please share your snaps of the recipes in Love Real Food on Instagram with the hashtag #LoveRealFood. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites soon!

Continue to the recipe…

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Fresh Huevos Rancheros

These huevos rancheros are the best! They're a healthy vegetarian recipe that you can make any time of day—breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!

This post is brought to you by Google Home.

Huevos rancheros are the most perfect vegetarian meal. There, I said it. Huevos rancheros (or rancher’s eggs) are a typical breakfast served at Mexican farms, featuring corn tortillas and fried egg topped with plenty of warmed salsa. They’re the answer any time I’m craving extra protein or a super hearty, quick meal. I can’t resist them on a brunch menu, either.

Beans are often a component, and I bulk up my version with lighter “refried” black beans. Then, I coax extra flavor out of my fried eggs by cooking them in a generous drizzle of olive oil, which produces irresistibly crisp edges. When tomatoes are in season, I top my huevos with pico de gallo in addition to salsa, for extra-fresh flavor.


Usually, I whip up huevos rancheros when it’s just me and Cookie at home. This time, we had company in the form of a cool new product called Google Home. I’m always looking to simplify and streamline my life and work, so I was excited when Google asked me to try it out.

Google Home is my new kitchen assistant, basically. It’s a small, sleek speaker that responds with an impressively human-like voice every time I say, “Ok Google,” or “Hey Google.” I can ask Google Home to set a timer (or multiple timers) for me—is it just me, or are your hands always messy when you go to set a timer?

Continue to the recipe…

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How to Make Muesli

Fergals Natural Muesli-2

Back in the Summer, I had a huge ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?’ moment.

We had some friends come to stay for the weekend with their 2-year-old girl Sofia. I love having other children in the house. Mostly because it’s so fun to see how Fergal and Finbar interact with them.

But also because I like to see what other kids will (and won’t) eat. I often get great ideas for new things to try with my boys. Like this muesli.

Anyway, given that I used to design muesli (and other breakfast cereal) for a living back in my old food science days, I lept at the chance to have a crack at making a natural muesli.

Plus it was a great way to get Fergal involved in this new breakfast idea. Of course, the added incentive of sultanas (raisins) didn’t hurt.

Making your own muesli is so much fun.

Plus unlike commercial muesli makers, you can focus all your money on using the best quality and quantity of tasty ingredients. No need to have conversations like, ‘we can only afford 0.005% almonds’. And no need to allocate any of your museli budget for packaging, marketing or distribution.

And you get to make it exactly how you like. Endless possibilities!

With love,
Jules x


Fergal’s Muesli

This is really more of an idea than an actual recipe. I love that each batch is slightly different based on what we have and how heavy handed my ‘kitchen assistant’ is.

I keep my muesli mix separate from the dried fruit because it gives everyone the ability to control their fruit quantity. Plus it avoids the moisture transfer problem of the oats getting soggier and the fruit getting harder during storage. But if it makes life easier, you can store them in the one jar.

Keeps for 6 months+ in the pantry, provided your ingredients aren’t too old.

enough for: as many as you like!
takes: 10 minutes
rolled oats
fruit (optional), to serve
milk or yoghurt, to serve

1. Fill a glass or other large jar about half way with your oats.

2. Add your choice of seeds and nuts, mixing as you go. There’s no wrong way to do this. I generally pop the lid on and shake to mix but a spoon can work as well.

3. Serve your personal muesli in a small bowl with fruit (if using) and milk or yoghurt.

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different oats – I started using quick or instant oats because they’re the easiest for little mouths, but my last batch was using regular (traditional) rolled oats and everyone was still able to eat them. Steel cut oats are the least processed and have the lowest GI but are also the hardest to chew!

different nuts – I usually use almond meal so there’s no choking hazard to worry about, but any whole or chopped nuts will work. I like to be generous with the nuts because they add good fats and some protein and make the muesli even lower GI.

different seeds – linseeds (flax) and sunflower are our favourites. But feel free to add pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and chia if you like. Seeds are awesome because they tend to be less expensive than nuts but still give that satisfying flavour and interesting texture.

different fruit – I make up a dried fruit mix of sultanas (raisins), chopped pitted dates and chopped prunes that we keep in a separate jar and add before serving. Any dried fruit is great but the boys do love their sultanas. Dried apricots and apples make a lovely fancy change. You can also serve with fresh fruit.

wintery – serve with warm milk or use your oat / seed / nut mix to make a porridge (oatmeal).

bircher museli – soak oat mix over night in milk or water. Stir through grated apple and serve with more milk or some yoghurt.

higher fiber – replace some of the oats with oat bran, psyllium husks or other bran. Be generous with the seeds too!

low carb – replace the oats with finely sliced almond flakes or flaked coconut (or a mix of both). Like my paleo Coconut & Almond ‘Cereal’.

extra crunchy – serve with some Chocolate Granola or Peanut Butter Granola.


simple dinners logo

Like to discover my ‘secret’ for actually enjoying getting dinner ready?

Wish it was easier (and more fun) to get dinner on the table night after night? Then have a look at my ‘Simple Dinners’ online cooking program.

For more details go to:




Pre-Order Bonus & How to Write a Cookbook

Love Real Food cookbook arrival

Good morning! I haven’t said this enough, but thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered Love Real Food. You’re setting it up for successful rankings and I really appreciate your faith in my cookbook. I worked so hard on every aspect of the book and I’m just dying for you to get your hands on it.

As a thank you, I’ve compiled a free digital “Companion Guide” to the book. It’s a nine-page, print-friendly PDF (see below). It includes the cheat sheet from the back of the book, in case you would rather print it off than cut out the pages. You’ll also get the full kitchen equipment rundown that we had to cut from the book, and a handy grocery list with checkboxes.

Love Real Food Companion Guide PDF for pre-orders

The Companion Guide is exclusive content for people who pre-order—if you haven’t yet, you can pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, BAM!, Indigo, Anthropologie or iBooks. Once you’ve pre-ordered, get your Companion Guide here.

Enough about that! I’m sharing my recipe development process with you today. If you’re a cookbook collector, aspiring cookbook author or process nerd (hey friend), this post is for you. I stole the idea from Adrianna and Ashlae, so check out their posts for more perspective on the subject. Are you ready?

Continue to the recipe…

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Soup Love

Leek & Kohlrabi Soup with Chilli Oil-2

I‘ve been experimenting with a new habit recently. You see, I’m on a mission to expand my soup repertoire. Especially now the days are shorter and we’re lighting the fire in the evenings.

Yes! Soup season is here! (Sorry Northern Hemisphere readers).

My habit is pretty simple.

I’ve been making soup for dinner at least one night each week. Usually it’s Monday. And usually it’s some sort of vegetable based soup like this fab little low-carb alternative to leek and potato.

I love soup night.

There’s only one pot to clean up. I can easily add bread or cooked pasta to keep my tiny (and big!) carb-lovers happy. And I always feel warm and contented afterwards.

If you need more reasons to start upping your own soup intake, you might enjoy 7 Surprising Reasons to Eat More Soup.

With love,
Jules x

ps. And the winner of the Stonesoup ‘commenter of the month’ prize is Bette.
If you’d like to be in the running to win a free copy of my print book ‘5-Ingredients 10-Minutes‘ all you have to do is leave a comment anywhere on Stonesoup. I’d really love to hear what you think.


Leek & Kohlrabi Soup

If you’ve ever wondered about a low-carb version of the old classic Potato & Leek Soup, look no further! Inspired by the lovely Andrea over at Dishing Up the Dirt, this super comforting soup is like a hug in a bowl. And better yet it isn’t going to weigh you down.

Of course, if you don’t have access to kohlrabi, there are plenty of other options in the variations below.

enough for 2-3
takes 30 minutes
1 onion
2 leeks
2 medium kohlrabi (450g / 1lb)
2 cups stock or water
chilli oil (recipe below), to serve

1. Place a medium saucepan on a medium high heat. Peel and chop onion and add to the pot with a generous glug of olive oil. Cover and start cooking while you slice the white and light green parts of the leeks.

2. Add leeks to the pot. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally until leek and onion are soft.

3. Meanwhile, trim kohlrabi (save tops for another use – you can cook them like chard) and chop into a medium dice.

4. When the onion and leeks are soft, add diced kohlrabi and stock or water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook covered until kohlrabi is tender about 15 minutes.

5. Puree cooked soup with a stick (immersion) blender. Taste and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Serve in bowls with chilli oil passed separately.

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no kohlrabi / different veg – replace with potatoes or sweet potatoes (if you don’t mind the carbs). Good low-carb alternatives are celeriac (celery root), swede (rutabaga), zucchini (grate and don’t puree) or cauliflower.

carb-lovers / more substantial – use potatoes! Or serve with crusty bread and butter or hot buttered toast.

family-friendly – toss in some cooked short pasta and skip the chilli oil for the little ones.

creamy – replace stock / water with a 400mL can unsweetened coconut milk and 1/2 cup water.

thinner soup – I like this quite robust. If you prefer a thinner soup add more water or stock until you’re happy.

no leeks – replace with an extra onion.

loads of leeks – replace onion with an extra 2 leeks.

herby – add a few sprigs of thyme or sage to cook with the onion.


Leek & Kohlrabi Soup with Chilli Oil-4

Marco’s Chilli Oil

For years my favourite chilli oil recipe involved frying fresh chillies and garlic in olive oil. But after reading Marco Cannoras fab little bone broth bible, ‘Brodo’ I’ve found an even easier method that’s just as delicious.

Chilli oil is brilliant for family dinners because it allows the chilli lovers to get their fix and the little ones to enjoy their meal without the cook having to make two separate dinners. We use it on practically everything from burgers to stir fries to our morning eggs and of course on soup!

makes: 1 cup
takes: 5 minutes + 2 hours cooling
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder or cayenne pepper

1. Place oil, chilli flakes and powder or cayenne in a small saucepan. Warm over a medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the chilli flakes start to move around in the pan.

2. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. This allows the heat to transfer to the oil so don’t skip the cooling.

3. Strain the oil to remove chilli flakes and store in a well labelled glass bottle in your pantry (or keep it on the dining table for easy access). Keeps indefinitely.

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smoky – add a teaspoon smoked paprika with the chilli powder / cayenne.

no red chilli flakes – use large dried red chillies and crumble them so you can measure about 2 tablespoons.

milder – skip the cayenne / chilli powder


Wish it was easier to get dinner on the table night after night?

simple dinners logo

Like to discover my ‘secret’ for actually enjoying getting dinner ready? Then have a look at my ‘Simple Dinners’ online cooking program.

For more details go to:



Extra Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable fried rice recipe made with extra veggies and brown rice, for health and flavor bonus points! Get the recipe at cookieandkate.com

I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I’m too old to be telling myself that I can get by on less for productivity’s sake. Au contraire, Kate! Do you see my little white flag of surrender to getting eight hours at night? It’s waving in the breeze, about as slowly as my brain waves today.

I’ve already clicked through the Met Gala gowns (here’s my favorite/sorry for that rabbit hole) and searched for a Kentucky Derby-style fascinator for this weekend. It’s high time that I tell you about this delicious veggie fried rice recipe, huh?


I set out to create a more interesting take on greasy take-out vegetable fried rice. Here it is in full glory, and it’s as flavorful as it is colorful. I used brown rice, naturally, and even threw in a handful of greens, which offer even more health bonus points. (The greens are optional.)

I also played around with a variety of vegetables, and all of them work well as long as they were cut into very small pieces. This is exactly what you should make when you have leftover rice and some random raw vegetables languishing in your refrigerator.

I designed this recipe to work well in a regular skillet (preferably cast iron), since most of us don’t have woks at home. The only tricky part, which really isn’t so difficult, is to cook the eggs, vegetables and rice separately, and combine them all at the end. That way, each component will be cooked just right, and the vegetables and rice will get a chance to develop those delicious golden edges. As always, please let me know how you like it!

Continue to the recipe…

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