About us

We are two friends, one living in town and one in the country, who love to cook and entertain at home. We share a passion for our gardens and for the easy-going lifestyle of sub-tropical eastern Australia. And, yes, we both have garden ponds teaming with frogs.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Spicy rice and lentil soup...

Rice and lentil soup
A soup for supper - not too heavy, but with enough substance to see you through whatever your dreams should demand of you.

Serves 4 - 6 as a light meal
Time: 10 minutes prep; 30 minutes cooking
You will need: Chopping board and knife; medium saucepan with lid; breakfast cup.

½ breakfast cup dry green or brown lentils
½ cup long grain white rice
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 small cup of any diced mixed vegetables
1 tsp dry mixed spices (such as garam masala, 5-spice, Cajun spice)
or 1 - 2 tsp mild curry paste
4 cups water (or 3 cups water and 1 cup chicken stock)
1 tbs vegetable cooking oil
½ tsp salt or 2 tsp (10ml) fish sauce (see fish sauce tip)
Optional: Diced left-over cooked chicken or roast meat; or 3 - 4 raw chicken wings, cut into segments and with fat pads removed; or small handful cashew nuts/dried shrimp/fresh prawns; or anything else you would like to add.

Vegetables used in the photo above: ½ carrot, finely chopped; 10 cherry tomatoes, ¼ stick celery, shredded rocket and fresh coriander. Try zucchini, beans, broccoli stem, mushrooms - basically anything to hand.

1. Leave lentils in breakfast cup and fill to the brim with boiling water (this step reduces cooking time).
2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat; add diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until transparent.
3. Meanwhile, finely chop selected vegetables.
4. Add spice to onion; stir well. Add rice and stir to coat with oil and spice.
5. Add vegetables, lentils and soaking water, any extras, and 4 cups water &/or stock.
6. Bring to boil; reduce heat to fast simmer; stir well; put the lid on and come back in 30 minutes.


Rice and lentil congee
Same method as recipe above, but use 3 cups water/stock in total, and serve with crunchy greens or fresh shredded wombok to stir through.

Young wombok in the CF's veggie garden
 Recipe by Country Frog, posted by Town Frog

Monday, 12 August 2013

Pumpkin and red pepper soup

Another soup that's easy peasy for this busy week.  Country Frog serves with pappadums - I wouldn't have thought of them but they make perfect sense with the chilli!

Quick and easy.
Serves 4 as a meal with crusty bread
Serves 6 – 8 as a starter
Time: 5 minutes to prepare; 15 minutes to cook
You will need: Cutting board and knife; medium-large saucepan with lid; masher or blender.


750gm – 1kg pumpkin, peeled and roughly cut
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 large red pepper/capsicum, chopped
1 large potato, scrubbed and roughly chopped
3 cups (750 ml) water
½ - 1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh black pepper
1 tbs olive or other oil
Optional: 2 – 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red chilli, diced
10 ml fish sauce instead of salt

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat; add onion and capsicum and cook until onion is just beginning to brown.
2. Add all other ingredients; bring to boil; put the lid on and reduce heat to simmer 10 minutes or until potato is soft.
3. Mash or puree in the pot.

Country Frog Tip: FISH SAUCE
  • Clear Asian fish sauce is an amazingly useful thing to keep in the pantry. It is very cheap and lasts indefinitely because of the high salt content – about 25% salt.
  • Used sparingly, the fish flavor disappears into the background, but adds depth and interest to soups, sauces, stews and stir-fry.
  • In soups, use 1 teaspoon (5ml) instead of ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • 10ml gives the equivalent interest/flavour of about 1 cup commercial chicken or beef stock (at about 100th the price and takes much less space in the cupboard).
Red pepper ripening in the CF's garden

Monday, 5 August 2013

Soups - broccoli and lentil (but not together!)

Even in sub-tropical eastern Australia, August is a cold time of year so Country Frog has gone into hibernation for a few weeks and is doing some writing, last I heard.  Luckily she left some winter warmer recipes which are easy peasy but still feed my whole family. 

A very, very easy winter warmer that can be made in a few minutes and served as a complete meal. Low fat, nutritious and delicious!

Time: 5 minutes preparation; 10 minutes to cook.
Serves 4 as a meal; 6+ as a starter
You will need: Chopping board and knife; medium saucepan; food processor or stick-mixer.

1 large head of broccoli, chopped (including stems and stalk)
1 tsp mild wholegrain (seeded) mustard
1 medium washed potato per person, skin on and roughly chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 cup milk (full cream, low fat or rice bran – but not soy as the taste is too strong)
1 cup water or chicken stock
Salt to taste (start with ¼ teaspoon as mustard is salty)

1. Put all ingredients into saucepan (pan should be large enough so that milk will not boil over); simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the onion is cooked.
2. Take a spoonful of vegetable from the pot and set aside to use as garnish; puree the remaining. If the mix is too thick, add more milk, stock or water and bring soup back to the boil again before serving. Taste for salt and add sparingly.
3. For a complete meal, serve with crusty bread and a slab of crumbly mature cheese. For a starter or light meal, serve with pappadams or toasted flatbread.

Wholesome and hearty, quick and easy – this is a meal in one pot to feed the whole family on a blustery wintry day.

Serves 6 – 8
Time: 10 minutes chopping; 30 minutes cooking.
You will need: Chopping board and sharp knife; large saucepan with lid.

1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 large washed potato, diced
≈ 4 cups other mixed fresh vegetables, diced (or frozen mixed veg)
2/3 cup brown or green lentils
water ( ≈1.5 litres)
½ - 1 tsp salt
1 heaped tsp mild brown curry paste or dry garam masala spice
1 tbs olive or other cooking oil
Great veggies: pumpkin, green capsicum, eggplant.....
1. Heat saucepan over medium heat; add oil and diced onion; cook until becoming translucent.
2. Add curry/spice and cook 30 seconds.
3. Add all vegetables and lentils, plus salt, and enough water to just cover.
4. Bring to boil; put the lid on; turn to low heat and simmer 30 minutes until lentils are soft.
5. Serve with crusty bread.

Veggies with orange and rosemary
Country Frog soup tips:
  • Adding a good amount of diced potato improves the texture of the soup. The potato starch breaks down with boiling and acts as a thickening/binding agent. ½ cup of short grain or Arborio rice works well, also.
  • Soup is the ideal way to use up end-of-week vegetables that have become a little tired-looking. Unless a vegetable is terribly wilted and rundown, it is still a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. Don’t waste food when you can make soup!
  • Add any bits and piece of two or three-day old leftovers to the soup pot. Just be sure the pot comes to a good boil again, and for a few minutes, after adding. (Adding left-overs to a warm pot without re-boiling is not good kitchen practice. Bad bugs breed in warm damp places.)

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