April 16 - 22  2023: Issue 579


Late Autumn Soups: An Asian Influence Tonic + Mum's Vegetable And Macaroni 

Autumn Tonic Soup

The family coming home from work, school or in from the surf chilled to the bone needs a big hot bowl of something scrumptious and good for them to chase out those chills and top them to the brim with seasonal goodness. The ‘tonic’ part of this ‘adapt to suit self’ recipe lies in the base cold chaser outerers of ginger, garlic, lemon, and lemongrass. This meal takes around a half hour to do from scratch and has become a firm favourite in this household. It’s very simple but very effective for warming cold people and boosting immunity. It’s also a great way to enjoy the vegetables in season as you can adapt it to suit what’s at peak freshness. The slight lean towards a touch of Asian hot-sour-sweetness simply reflects the lighter smaller dishes we prefer ingesting at the end of day.

This is a simple idea for a soup, more a reminder of what you can easily do to look after you and your loved ones as we head into Winter, and with the long conversation free silence, amid the sounds of slurping that accompanies the eating of this soup, followed by rounds of ‘Beautiful!’, appreciation of the beauty in simple things will have been shared.

Enough preamble – the ingredients (adapt to suit yourself) to stave off sniffles and warm everyone up;

Broth base: we used a vegetable stock powder to make up 6 cups, that way you can choose level of salt, which we err in under recommended teaspoon to water ratio. 
1 x parsnip (this is an Australian substitute for daikon – use if you like or find a daikon. The parsnip always adds body, fibre, taste and texture to any soup, roast – we love them!) – cut into small dice
1-2 small carrots cut into small dice
200 grams fresh cabbage, shaved
1 capsicum (roasted) – do up batches of these and store in olive oil in your fridge ready to go- cut into slivers 
200 grams fresh green beans, washed, cut into 3-5cm lengths
1 x can of corn kernels 
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
Fresh ginger – 2-3cm piece – shaved into broth
1 x stem of Lemongrass
2 x tablespoons of light soy sauce
Juice of 1 ½  lemons
3 x Spring Onions – sliced thin for last moment garnish/taster boost
200-300 grams meat or Tofu of your choice – leftover pork lion roast, cut into small dice, 1 x chicken breast cut into small dice, or some fish. Just remember however long it was cooked (if using up leftovers) or how long may need if using fresh items. Or substitute some nice tofu if prefer meat free soup.
1 x packet of dumplings (pack of 8-9).- we used Szechuan Pork Dumplings to match in with leftover diced pork lion in broth.
Optional: 1 x packet rice noodles.

Serves: 3-4 (or two very hungry humans)

Step One

Make your broth base and put on to simmer. Add in the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, cabbage and root vegetables and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Add in capsicum strips, corn, meat or tofu, allow to simmer for 2 minutes.  Season with the lemon juice and light soy sauce – taste to check is as you want it and adjust to your own palate.

Step Two

Add in your green beans and dumplings(and rice noodles if using)  – allow to simmer for around 5 minutes.  Serve into soup bowls and garnish with the spring onions – eat while very very hot.

Mum’s Vegetable Soup With Macaroni

When it’s snowing, when Antarctica seems to have moved north, it’s time to greet those shivering through the front door with a hot bowl of soup. This is fairly simple recipe and we make up a big stockpot of it, freeze some, and this makes for quick meals when you arrive home and something quick, nutritious and already done is what you want.

Adding macaroni when reheating-simmering, can turn an entrée into a meal by adding a side of fresh slabs of buttered toast or fresh bread. Don’t place the pasta in (or risoni as an alternative) until 10-15 minutes prior to serving so it stays ‘al dente’. If you have littlies, a little more chicken added in and using noodles makes it Chicken Noodle Soup!

As with all our family-friendly based on seasonal produce recipes, this may be adapted to suit personal tastes, what is in season, or even what needs using in your refrigerator. When adding stock powder remember you can’t take out salt once you have put it in – we recommend for this 10 litre pot, that will be two thirds full prior to leaving room for ingredients, that you only add three tablespoons of stock powder and add more if your taste requires it.

Mum’s Vegetable Soup – with Macaroni
(for 10 litre stockpot)

3 x chicken carcasses – fresh 
2 onions 
1 leek – sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic - crushed
3 x sticks of celery
2 large carrots
2 x tins of roma tomatoes
1 x cup of dried chick peas
3 x potatoes
1 x parsnip or swede/turnip
Shredded spinach – ½ bunch
150-200 grams of pumpkin
3 tablespoons salt free vegetable stock powder

To serve
1/3 cup of macaroni to 2-3 litres of soup
Bunch of fresh asparagus – chopped into 3cm lengths.

Fill stockpot two thirds full with cold water – add chicken carcasses. Dice all hard vegetables and add into stock. Allow to simmer until meat left on carcass is soft -= removed carcasses, strip what meat is there, return this to pot – discard carcass. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes – add in macaroni to portion needed for meal (one third a cup. We also add in a bunch of fresh asparagus five minutes prior to serving to give the soup a bit of a lift of freshness and for added goodness.

Allow the rest cool in freezer proof dish and you have one extra warmer ready against mid-Winter chills.