Steady Days And Soup


While world news continues to be more alarming each day, I feel very grateful that life at home has felt mostly steady and productive. We haven’t changed the world but small things like phone conversations with my parents, homemade pies from a generous friend and my family’s sense of humour and quirks have all made me smile in the last few days.

There has been some neighbourly horse riding that finished with a neighbourly cheese platter and a fire. We are very lucky to have neighbours that are also friends for our whole family.

A friend recently contacted me asking if I could collect her some emu feathers for a basket weaving project. Emus always deposit feathers on our fences so this was an easy request. But, it got me thinking about other bush treasures that I love. Sometimes I pick things up; sometimes I leave them in place. Fallen birds’ nests are my favourite find.

The emu feather hunt also led me to a patch of wildflowers, an old fence post, sleepy lizard bones, a parched kangaroo bone, tiny bits of rusty tin, old china, a yabby claw and scraps of wool. Perhaps my friend will somehow weave some of these things together.

Winter is well and truly here, the mornings are frosty but the days are mostly crisp and sunny. Our morning coffee and hot chocolate routine is non-negotiable. I recently purchased some hot chocolate and marshmallows from Grounded Pleasures to give as gifts, but of course we also had to test it out for ourselves. If you are looking for a fancy little winter treat or gift, do yourself a favour.

In the vegetable garden progress is gradual. Asian greens and kale are winning the growth race at the moment. I don’t think kale will ever be hugely popular on our dinner plates but it looks decorative and the chooks love it. While it is cold I am collecting cow manure and doing lots of digging in preparation for the warmer months.

I have just discovered a lovely podcast by Mickey Robertson from Glenmore House. The episodes follow the seasons and Mickey explains (in her beautiful voice!) where her garden is up to and what she is cooking from it. There are detailed notes and photos to correspond with each episode. This is a valuable resource for anyone who is growing, planning and cooking from home. I can see myself going back to certain episodes as the seasons unfold.

Soup weather is here. I will leave you with this recipe below that can be made with sweet potato or pumpkin. Please serve with a loaf of good bread!

Happy Sunday, friends x

Smoky Sweet Potato Soup
  • 1 smoked pork hock or ham bone around 1kg
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 sticks celery diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 500 g sweet potato or pumpkin peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 50 g small pasta such as risoni
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  • parsley to serve
  1. Place hock and stock in a large pot and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add all vegetables, bay leaves and salt and pepper.  Simmer for around 40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

  2. Carefully remove the bone from the soup and place on a chopping board. Cut off all of the meat from the bone and set it aside.  Discard any excess fat, skin and the bone. 

  3. Remove the bay leaves from the soup and set them aside.  Once the soup is cool enough to handle, process it through a food processor until smooth.

  4. Place soup, bay leaves and chopped meat back into the pot.  Add the pasta and stir to combine.  Simmer gently until the pasta is tender.  Season to taste if necessary.

  5. This soup will benefit from resting in the refrigerator overnight. It will thicken and the flavour will develop further.

  6. Reheat if necessary and serve with extra cracked pepper, shaved Parmesan cheese or chopped parsley.


  1. Reply

    Annie Bartholomaeus

    June 14, 2020

    It is definitely soup weather. I will try that recipe Jane. It sounds good. 1 mm of rain in Broken Hill last night…what a pity it wasn’t more. I love your collection. I found myself picking up some bits of old broken china and a couple of very old rusty figure 8’s of wire….and thought of my mother. How she loved old bits and pieces. Maybe it’s in the genes Jane?

  2. Reply

    Lea Phillips

    June 14, 2020

    Hi Jane,
    Just read your recent article in Creative Countryside, loved it. My husband Rod and I have travelled a bit of the Australian Outback including Broken Hill and surrounds. Amazingly beautiful. Something about the wide open spaces, the scenery, sunsets and rises and of course the people that draws you back time after time.
    I love your recipes and look forward to the blog every time it arrives. Nothing like a cup of tea and a good read. Have my list made out for the soup.
    Thanks Jane. Stay safe. Lea.

  3. Reply


    June 14, 2020

    Oh Jane, it sounds as though life is moving at a lovely pace. And let’s be honest, a day is always brightened by a homemade pie!

    My veg patch is also very slow going, except the self seeded tomatoes, which are growing better now than they did in summer! I’m unsure if they’ll survive winter but for now they sure make my garden look lush. So far we, the family & the chooks, are eating A LOT of silver beet & unlike you guys we love kale so are eagerly awaiting that to be big enough to pick.

    Hope the week ahead is good to you Jane xx

  4. Reply


    June 14, 2020

    I love all your treasures Jane. I keep meaning to start a little collection corner or cabinet of curiosities but alas, too many of my treasures remain in my coat pocket for too long and get a bit bashed about! Thankfully, not soup weather here and (I’ll whisper it because I know it’s nothing like your lack of rain) but we could do with a good rain!

  5. Reply


    June 14, 2020

    A steady routine is a good thing right now.

    That weaving is going to be so beautiful and tactile with all the treasures you’ve found.

    I love those crisp, sunny days of winter and we’ve been talking about whether we’d prefer to do a winter road trip rather than a spring one, which we imagine quite a lot of people might want to do. We had plans for a road trip west and then looping south and back home (with our first visit to Broken Hill in the mix) in the first two weeks of May, but COVID-19 and other disruptions meant the trip was cancelled. We’re thinking of reprising for the last two weeks in July, or maybe August. Hopefully we’ll find treasures along roadsides when we stop to have a cuppa from the Thermos. The hot chocolate does look tempting.