My pantry

A comforting word from a stranger, and Lamb and Barley Soup

June 16, 2013

Lamb and barley soup ingredientsI was out with the munchkies last week going for a scoot and trike ride along the bayside promenade just like a David Lee Roth video clip, but with more clothes, and less roller skates.

Mister H was busting out a quick swim (yes, ocean swim in winter – freak) so we went up to a play area to eat a little picnic and play whilst waiting for him. When we arrived, we were sitting near another family with a girl similar to D Man in age and a babe in a pram, when suddenly D Man started acting his age in an exchange that went a bit like this.

(Capital letters indicate screaming in high-pitched, brain piercing frequency that attracted attention of everyone in a 5 mile radius.)

Me : Hey babe, want to take your helmet off and have a little play over with the kids?


Me : Oh, ok. Come and have a bite of lunch then and we can play later.


I stepped towards him and he made a run for it.

Him : DON’T HURT ME!!!

Nice play, D Man. Awesome. People were really looking now.

That’s his new favorite thing to yell if he’s about to get into trouble. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s very effective, as you can imagine,.

I dashed over, leaving Kiki sitting on her own on the grassy knoll, and I grabbed him by the top of his arm and squatted down in front of his face. In my nice calm, quiet, mummy voice I said –

You don’t yell at your mummy like that or we will go straight home right now. Do you hear me?

Sorry, Mama.

We walked back to Kiki, ate some carrot sticks, smeared some banana and enjoyed 30 seconds of peace and quiet before he decided he wanted to ride Kiki’s trike and she had to ride his scooter. Reasoning that she couldn’t even walk let alone scoot was a minor detail to him and held no weight.

A minor meltdown ensued.

I could see the lady near us looking. I knew what she was probably thinking.
At least, my paranoia thought it knew.

This is shit, I thought. It was supposed to be fun, I thought.

Let’s go find Daddy.

The lady looked me square in the eye and said in a soft voice –

I can see you’re really trying.


Yes, I was jollywell trying. Trying not to yell at my kid in public or have some kind of mental breakdown. I was so relieved she said something nice to me I just blurted  –

Three, man. Terrible two ain’t got nothing on that stuff, eh?

She smiled a gentle smile and said –

Yep, it’s definitely three.

We chatted for a minute and she revealed to me that she was struggling. She had a three month old and a three year old and she was looking at me wondering how I was coping with the two…. and here I thought she was looking at me thinking my child was naughty and I’m a terrible mother for not being more in control.

Funny, isn’t it? I assumed she was judging when she looked at me, but in that one tiny exchange I felt a ‘Solidarity with the Chicks’ moment and I knew that I wasn’t alone in this business.

I took comfort in those words at the park, they were comforting like warm soup on a winter’s day.

All four of us Holsbys are loving soups at the moment, for a few reasons. Partly because it’s great winter fare, but also because it really is a one pot feeds all jobby….for a few days. I also freeze some for those days that I haven’t got my act together.
lamb and barley soup

What you will need :

  • 1kg lamb forequarter chops
  • 2L beef stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup barley
  • small tin of baked beans
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper

Chuck everything into a large pot, except for the baked beans. Get it up to boiling then turn down to a simmer. Leave it to cook for about an hour or until the lamb is falling apart.
Remove the lamb chops and set aside to cool.

Toss in your tin of beans.

Once cool, pull apart your chops into little chunks and discard the gristle, bone and fat.
Return meat to pot and make sure all is warmed through and delectable.

lamb and barley soup


If you think this soup looks yummy, why not check out my related articles for more great recipes?

Then, you should like my Facebook page, and  subscribe via email, to be sure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply ksbeth June 16, 2013 at 7:49 am

    beautiful twist to the story and funny how we create and assume things in our head, only to find out we were completely wrong when we really understand the situation. hang in there, somehow my daughters and i all survived each other and lived to be adults. ps – i can’t believe you actually had 30 peaceful seconds, i believe my record at that age was 17 seconds )

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design June 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Awesome soup. And I would never look at any Mummy doing her best with anything but awe.

  • Reply vpfarming June 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Ever since we started raising our own pastured lamb we’ve been on the lookout for good recipes. That soup does look yummy – will need to whip some up.

    As a father of 8 I get my fair share of strange looks in public. But it’s funny how things sometimes turn out different than we expect.

    New follower here. Thanks again for the recipe!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      8 children and a farm of lambs?? You must be busy!!
      Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you make soup.

  • Reply Kate June 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I used to think every look was negative then I realized Im often trying to give the look that says “sorry your kid is being a turd, we have all been there, hang in there”, and that might be being taken the wrong way. Now I’ve decided people looking are looking with love and its made everything easier, I don’t care if they aren’t and I will never know. It makes me calmer and the kids calmer because really at the end of the day, I don’t give a f#$k what they think.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      In fact, whenever anyone looks at me, period, I’m going to assume they’re looking with love. That’s awesome!

  • Reply Zanni Louise June 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Looks so yummy! I love a slow cooked lamb meal myself. Perfect for winter.
    We just turned a corner with 3. It suddenly got easier! Someone told me 4’s the best age… x

  • Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: