Sunday, 3 May 2015

Autumn, lamb vegetable and barley soup,  garden talk and  antique-ing!

Autumn has well and truly arrived.  My favourite time of the year.  The Southern Highlands has put on a magnificent show this year.  The streets are awash with Maples and others in shades of burgundy, orange, yellow and gold.   I took the photo above on an early morning walk.  If you look carefully you will see the statue of Mary Poppins in a local park!

The cold weather has inspired  me to cook hearty soups, slow cook casseroles and poach autumn fruit.  

I came across an old recipe book which belonged to my late mother.  The recipe below is for a delicious lamb, vegetable and barley soup.  A couple of Instagram friends asked for the recipe,  so here it is.

4 medium Lamb shanks - less if you prefer less meat
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large brown onions
2 small leeks sliced
4 medium carrots chopped
3 sticks celery chopped
4 medium potatoes chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 litres good lamb/beef stock
1 cup barley

Brown the shanks in the olive oil.  Remove.  Add butter, melt and soften all the vegetables.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add barley, stock and shanks and sprigs of thyme.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a slow simmer.  Simmer until shanks are falling off the bone.  Check on liquid and add more water if needed. Remove meat from the bones,  chop finely and return to the soup.  Serve with lots of chopped parsley.  

Lamb, vegetable and barley soup

golden poached pears.
Mr R-I has had key-hole surgery so we've had lots of time at home.  Warming fires at night and trying to make final selections for our English garden tour.   

Grey's Court Garden in Oxfordshire

Wollerton Old Hall Garden

Cottage garden at Sissinghurst.

So looking forward to a return visit to Sissinghurst.  These photos were taken during our visit in September last year.  I'm sure the garden will look entirely different in a few weeks.

Vita's chair

Even the humble Potatoe vine has a place at Sissinghurst.

Finding Spring flowers and bulbs in Autumn is exciting.  I especially love white multi-layered folds of Ranunculus

The pink Echinacea are still flowering in the garden along with the Delphiniums, Verbascum and a few others!   

Antique-ing is a favourite pastime and my daughter and I had a fun day yesterday adding to our treasures!  

Thrilled with the delicate Georgian table above,

the two porcelain herons above.
and this unusual large Asian tureen.

Lastly, I'm so enjoying this bunch of flowers dropped in  by my daughter-in-law and family on their way to the beach.

Have a good week everyone and I'm sure friends in the Northern Hemisphere are loving the Spring!


  1. What a lovely post. Aren't the red bricks the stars of Sissinghurst? So beautiful. Luff all your antiques. You do have gorgeous taste. Don't forget to to #book_chat on insta.

    Wishing you a lovely week, xx

    1. Thanks so much FF...I've been thinking of you today with the birth of the little Princess! Am so amazed at how lovely her mother looks just hours after giving birth! Going over now to look at #book_chat!
      Wishing you a lovely week too xx

  2. Beautiful post Jenny-love your photos. I too love Autumn and marvel at how nature gets the different colours to co ordinate perfectly. As it cools down, I too love to make soup- a similar one to yours but I add a tin of crushed tomatoes to it. A family favourite!.
    I will look forward to your garden photos of your trip but equally love your photos of your garden too- very inspiring as I start to revamp my garden.
    So much fun when you find something special for the house- thank you for sharing
    Marilyn xx

    1. Thanks so much Marilyn.. I've always been told that Autumn colours best when the weather is dry! This year we've had lots and lots of rain and the colours are fabulous! I have four little Manchurian pears in my garden - three have begun colouring and one has not! Have a lovely week! xx

  3. Great finds! I like that table which looks it'll fit in anywhere. I hope Mr IR is feeling ok? It's been cold again lately but blooms must be busy be my hayfever is terrible at the moment so it must be stronger than normal? I can't wait for Chelsea! Ps was thinking you might want to join the RHS be you get free entry to some gardens. I did bc I wanted tickets on members days which is first two days when blooms are supposed to be at their best. Rest up by you'll be busy when you get here!! Xx

  4. I am so glad you are back blogging Jenny! We were in your neck of the woods this weekend for a wedding and thought of you. I had forgotten just how gorgeous Bowral and surrounding areas are. As usual, I can't wait for more updates and photos of your garden, home and travels. You have inspired me to take to the garden and do some work so I'm off to plant a new hedge and do some weeding! Wish me luck as I do not have the green gardening thumb like you, more like the round up thumb!! Traceyxx

  5. Pure eye candy in this photo - love the autumn photos, and the soups look delicious. Also SO envious of your upcoming garden tour in London. Fun!!
    Those antiques you've picked up are so lovely. Love the georgian table, so sweet! And the herons and tureen are beautiful too. You have such a good eye. Can't wait to get my mitts on your book! xx

  6. Autumn is looking so beautiful there, Jenny! Those maples - stunning!! And your soup looks mouth-watering good. Perfect for the chilly temps. Cheers from DC :)


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