Nana’s Rustic Bacon and Vegetable Soup Recipe

2016-08-18 18.18.18

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” ~ Julia Child


This was one of the first things I ever learned to cook. My Nana taught me in her little kitchen. I was still so young that Pa had to bring an old wooden crate upstairs for me to stand on so that I could reach the bench and the stove.

Nana called this ‘Mum’s Soup’, and it is one of the easiest, heartiest and most delicious meals I know. It is comfort in a bowl, and it’s also economical. For Nana, who grew up during the Depression, a meal needed to be economical or it was forever off the menu.

There was never any kind of written recipe for this soup. It’s the sort of thing you throw together by eye, with simple kitchen staples. It’s a recipe that is passed from mother to child by word of mouth, and shared hours bent over chopping board or simmering pot.

This takes less than ten minutes prep, and then two hours cooking time. The soup freezes well, and will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for five days.

Serve it on its own, with crusty fresh bread, buttered toast or a big salad.



1 cup of diced bacon or speck (or a ham hock), 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 1 large potato, 2 to three ribs of celery, two litres of water and one to two stock-cubes or teaspoons of stock powder – or use 2 litres of homemade stock or bone broth, 1 cup of dried soup mix (which should contain a mix of things such as pearl barley, lentils and split peas), 2 large bay leaves, olive oil, a 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

*Optional but good – the kernels from a fresh cob of corn, a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley.

**Make sure to have a little extra water on hand in case you need it.

2016-08-18 16.05.48



Set your corn and parsley aside for now. We’ll add them later.

Chop all of the vegetables and bacon into small pieces. It’s fine for your dice to be a bit rough. After all, this is a rustic, homestyle soup.

I have used a piece of speck instead of bacon in this recipe. It’s not quite as salty or as fatty as bacon. But just use whatever you have to hand. Make sure to remove the rind and discard it when you are cutting up the meat.

2016-08-18 16.16.15

Pour a slug of good olive oil into the bottom of your big heavy-bottomed soup pot and place the pan on a medium heat. Throw in all of the vegetables and bacon pieces, and fry off until they have softened, are fragrant, and have coloured up a little. This brown caramelisation makes a big difference to the end flavour.

2016-08-18 16.19.28

Make sure you have picked over your dried soup mix and removed any stones, badly shrivelled items or foreign material that may have found its way into the mix.

Throw your soup mix into the pot and give everything a good stir for another minute or so.


Then add the stock, or water and stock cubes. Chuck your bay leaves in too.

Bring to boil and then take it back to a slow simmer. It won’t look very exciting yet. But that’s okay.

Cook for one and a half to two hours.Stir occasionally.

2016-08-18 16.26.03

About fifteen minutes before you want to serve the soup, slice the kernels of corn off the cob with a sharp knife and finely chop your parsley. Check that all other soup ingredients are soft. If not, let them cook a little longer.

Add the corn and parsley to the soup if you’re using them. If the soup is very thick, add in some extra water. Stir well. Cook for a further ten to fifteen minutes on simmer. The corn will retain a pleasing crunch, adding a lovely texture to the soup.

2016-08-18 18.42.21


If you are using a ham hock, use tongs to carefully lift the hock from the soup pot. Carefully shred the meat off the bone with forks, and add it back into the pot.

Fish out the bay leaves. You’re finished with those.

Serve and enjoy!

2016-08-18 18.17.49

Accidental Angels


“A magpie can be happy or sad: sometimes so happy that he sits on a high, high gum tree and rolls the sunrise around in his throat like beads of pink sunlight; and sometimes so sad that you would expect the tears to drip off his beak.
This magpie was like that.”
~ Colin Thiele


I’ve had a restless night.

Pain. Broken sleep. Fevers.

But I came back into my body after a few hours of snatched sleep, and as I lay there with my eyes closed I heard angels singing.

It pleased me, and I nestled down in the pile of blankets and pillows, listening to their music.

It was only after a long while that I came to realise that it wasn’t angels, but magpies. They were sitting on the powerline just outside my bedroom window, deep in song.

I had no idea what time it was. Only that it was early, and dawn was a mere suggestion in a scrubby sky of low cloud and streaky stars.


Feathered angels.

What a blessed start to my day.

Here are some rather bedraggled magpies who sound a lot like the ones who sang for me…

Monday Morning Oracle Card – 22 August 2016

Deep Knowing Oracle Card - from Wisdom of the Oracle Deck by Colette Baron-Reid

Deep Knowing Oracle Card – from Wisdom of the Oracle Deck by Colette Baron-Reid

“Commandment #1: Believe in yourself. Commandment #2: Get over yourself.”
~ Kristan Higgins

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.”
~ J.K. Rowling


Every Sunday I conduct my own little mini-planning session for my week ahead. My Sunday Session allows me to go into the week ahead with awareness and a plan.

Lately I have been choosing an oracle card for my Year of Me year-long course, to give them a perspective for the energies of the week ahead. It’s a bit like a weather forecast for the coming week, but from a spiritual perspective.

It’s such a good idea that I’ve decided to share that information with you too.

Anyway, let’s get on with it!


Deep Knowing

This week’s card is ‘Deep Knowing’ from the Wisdom of the Oracle Deck.

If you go back and review what I had to say about the energies of August – 2016 you’ll find that this card is delightfully supportive of that energy.


August encourages us to own our own Mastery and to work on deepening our knowledge and skills. Part of that energy is around embracing and understanding what it is that we do well and easily. Or identifying our heart’s calling. With our heart’s calling we may have a passion but need to work on those skills and talents in order to gain mastery. That’s okay. If it’s our calling we will undertake all of that practice and learning, all of the mistakes and the rough and tumble as just a part of the journey. We won’t give up, even when the going is hard, because our heart will call us on and through. A calling is a path or idea that we just can’t quit on.

Please note that not everyone has a dedicated calling. Some people’s life will be larger than a concept of work. So, for those without a calling, choose something you enjoy and are naturally good at. That way the work will mostly be fun and easy. (I say mostly because even dream jobs have suckful aspects. Yes they do!)

The energies this week support you becoming clear about your calling, or about work that can be easy and enjoyable because you have natural talent and flair for that thing.

Everyone has something that comes easily to them, or that they can do well. Often we discount that thing for the very reason that it came easily to us. In August don’t be so quick to talk down or overlook your natural gifts and talents. Is there anything you are ready to teach or share, even if it’s in the most small and humble of ways? (I also know many a person with a calling who uses their natural talent in an easy day-job that supports them while they toil away on their dream. This might need to be something you think about and add into your plan this week. How can I support myself easily while I work on this personal project of mine?)

Today you are you that is truer than true

Image from

How to use the energies of this week!

The energy of this week is all about owning what we are good at. It’s about focusing on that. It’s about creating space for that thing. For making plans. For taking tiny steps. Or big ones. It’s for identifying our knowledge gaps so that we can boost our knowledge and skills in areas where we currently are a bit stuck – or totally clueless – especially where we know our lack of knowledge has been holding us up.

One good way to do this is to have others reflect back to you what they see as your strengths and unique talents. Often it is hard for us to see in ourselves what is obvious to the people around us.

Plan a little time out for some journalling and reflection this week and ask yourself:
– what am I good at?
– what makes me happy when I am doing it?
– what is the thing other people are always asking me for help or advice about?
– what’s holding me up because I don’t know how to do it?
– do I have a dream or project I just can’t give up on?

You’ll be amazed at where all of this might take you.

Once you’ve got your answers, or at least a beginning space, draw up plans to take action. Dreams can never be realised if they stay as thoughts or abstract concepts. This week’s energies are really supporting you to get that clarity and to take those first or next steps.

quote about dreams

Image from

Ghosts In My Kitchen

“If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.”
~ Linda Henley


I made soup yesterday.

It was a simple soup. A humble soup.

It needed to be. I was so sore. So tired. Fevered. But dinner had to be made, and I wasn’t going to eat junk. Or toast again.

I wanted soup.

My hands were automatic. They cut vegetables. They stirred. They lifted the spoon to my mouth so I could taste the seasoning.

A pinch of this.

A sprinkle of that.

Then all left to simmer for a few hours while I lay down to rest again.

Suddenly I was transported back to Nana’s kitchen. This was her recipe. I made it with her so many times. It was nothing that could be written down. Only instructions that could be remembered. That were passed from her mother’s hands to her hands. And then to mine.

Where had it come from before that?

My great-great grandmother, probably.

I found such comfort in that idea. All of those caring hands, all of that wisdom passed one to another in the practical ways of true nurture. I could feel Nana’s hands guiding mine as though I were a tiny child again, back in the days when I would stand on an upturned crate to reach her kitchen bench.

I felt wrapped in the blanket of my Nana’s love. I tasted love in every spoonful of soup.

It restored me to myself, somehow.

And then I slept, long and well.

That kind of food has its own kind of healing magic.

homemade soup

Going Through Some Shi*t Right Now? (Shift, of course!)

“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.”
~ Iyanla Vanzant


Hello, my lovelies.
Are you feeling it? This intense energy?
If you are, then I am glad.
Even though it is rough, and kind of hard to handle.

I’m glad because it means that you’re moving in the right direction.

You see, we’re in the middle of some pretty big shift. You’d have to be pretty stuck to not feel it. And for all of you who are empathic, sensitive or intuitive, this could be a pretty intense ride. The full moon is amplifying it. The heavens and their alignment are amplifying it. The earth in her wisdom is amplifying it – this crazy, crazy-making energy of shift.

As we move to a higher vibration so much of what we have carried within our bodies and our cellular memories, so much of what is encoded in our DNA, and in the deepest recesses of our memories, so many of our old patterns and beliefs, old injuries and illnesses that were anchored deep into our tissue, they are all letting go.

Which may mean that you feel swamped.
Or that shit keeps going down.
Know what I mean?

And it might be making you feel more than a little edgy. Or crazy. Or desperate. Like you’re back down the rabbit hole again, and you’ll never get out. Like things will never, ever be sorted. Like you thought you were done with all of this, and yet here you are again, right in the place you thought you’d left far behind.

I want to remind you that it will pass. Don’t sit in fear with it. Don’t hang onto all of this old stuff or reclaim it by saying ‘This always happens to me.’ Don’t let any of this old stuff define you.

Be brave in witnessing this passing as the old energies move out of your life. Give them up. Let them go. Don’t fight them. Don’t freak yourself out by thinking that this place you’re in right now will never end.

If you’ve ever driven down a dead-end street you’ll know that you have to pass all that same stuff you’ve already travelled by as you head back out onto the open road again.

Face it head on. Cry if you must. And then keep going. Because this is what levelling up is all about. Keep your eyes on where you want to go, rather than the road behind you. Hold onto your dreams.

You’d always intended that this would be the life where you’d clear and let go of all of this. So get to it! I have so much faith in you.


Coffee Trumps Blogging

2016-07-13 13.54.49

“Are you ready?” Klaus asked finally.
“No,” Sunny answered.
“Me neither,” Violet said, “but if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives, Let’s go.”
~ Lemony Snicket


Cafe Dog has had a hard time of it lately.

While I’ve been feeling so poorly there have been no cafe outings. None at all.

I’ve had a string of terrible days, with misery heaped upon misery. Infections. Drugs. Drugs that caused lyme herxing. More misery. Insomnia.

But last night I slept well. I mean really well. And Cafe Dog knew it.

He was bent over me this morning, waiting for me to wake up.

As soon as I cracked an eyelid open he began his happy dance.

“No, mate, we’re not going to the cafe today,” Ben said.

“Yes we are,” I said, getting out of bed. “It’s now or never!”

So I got up and dressed (in clothes closely resembling pyjamas but with a stylish jacket over the top!), and we now seated at our favourite table at our favourite breakfast cafe. The pain is manageable because all my fabulous drugs are doing a great job. I get to have a decent coffee, and Harry gets to say hello to all of his adoring fans. I get to write my blog from my travel laptop as I sip my latte. It’s a mental health win for us all.


Pop-Up Shop Cancellation and Workshops Turned into Webinars

“What would you do if you couldn’t do what you want?’-“Something else.”
~ Marty Rubin


Hi Lovelies,

Just a quick heads-up to let you know that my Pop-Up Shop and Events won’t be going ahead this weekend. I’m home, waiting for surgery, and being as stylish as a girl can be when she’s wearing pyjamas 24/7.

The thing is, I’d put so much work into this weekend that I’m postponing. And they were going to be FABULOUS workshops!!!

So, I’m thinking that I will re-engineer them as webinars or home-study courses (delivered online or to your email), or a combination of both. Because it seems a waste to not use all of this good work. This also means that all of you who weren’t able to make it to Brisbane will now have a chance to participate.

Here is the run-down of what the postponed workshops were all about:

Spiritual Foundations – This one day workshop will cover the practices and tools that can help you to develop a regular spiritual practice and strengthen your intuitive and psychic ability. We will look at the fundamentals of working with crystals, connecting with your guides, simple meditation techniques, using oracle and tarot cards to give yourself or others an intuitive reading, and some foundation metaphysical principles for raising your vibration. These are all the things I used at the beginning of my own journey. I’ll also show you how to move past limiting self-doubt and into a place of connection and flow.

Image from

Image from


Spiritual ‘Business Round Table’ – Did you know that one of my superpowers is business? If  you have a business that you would like to launch or to grow, this might be the workshop for you. In the morning we’ll be looking at defining your product or service, and your target audience. We’ll also look at how to work with your Guides and intuition to really align your business with your natural talents and skills. We’ll examine the practicalities of connecting with your tribe, and how that can look. We’ll learn how to use spiritual energies as well as management skills to set your intention and put your dreams in motion. We’ll look at what business model might suit you best. In the afternoon we’re going to have a ’round table’ where we workshop your biggest problem or idea around your business. I will give EVERY participant attention and advice, so we are keeping these numbers small. You’ll also need to fill out a small survey before the workshop so that I can do some preparation for each of you before the workshop and make my material relevant to your particular needs.


If you’re interested in either of these workshops, please let my wonderful PA Dana know at and she’ll place you on our mailing list. That way we can let you know as soon as I’ve pulled all the details together.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who were looking forward to coming along, but I promise that the courses I offer in place of these workshops will be great!

Much love to you,

Nicole❤ xx