Our Top Five Comfort Soups for You

That bowl of soup—it was dearer than freedom, dearer than life itself, past, present, and future.  

~ Aleksandr SolzhenitsynOne Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

 

Hi Everyone!

Nicole could not come to write her blog post today due to lack of stable internet connection, but sends her love with top five comfort soup recipes from Cauldrons and Cupcakes to warm your hearts.

1. Heal-All Chicken Soup

The beauty of this soup is that it’s a bone broth, and over time all of the fat and water soluble minerals and good bits dissolve into this magical elixir.  One of the things this soup is chock full of is glycine. The amino acid glycine is great for liver detoxification and regeneration.  Chicken soup is rich in collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), one of which you’ve probably heard of – glucosamine – stunning for artery, bone and joint health.  The gelatin produced from dissolving bones and cartilage in the making of this soup helps heal leaky gut, and also reduces your need for meat and protein.

In Chinese Medicine, bone broths are considered to support the kidneys and kidney meridians, and as such are also useful for healthy teeth, bones and adrenal gland function. So if you have adrenal fatigue this is a super recipe for you!”

 

2. Creamy Corn and Potato Chowder Recipe

“This one’s a household favourite – quick to make, hearty and satisfying – and it can easily be made as a vegan, gluten and/or dairy free, vegetarian or bacon-y delight. Just adjust the ingredients according to my suggestions and your preferences.”

 

3. How to make Bone Broth

Bone broth is essentially bones and vegetables simmered together over long periods of time to produce a rich flavoursome liquid. I make a big pot of this nourishing broth weekly, and it’s an important part of my healing regime. I’d always made my own stock, but after I began to understand the benefits of consuming bone broths I made them much more central to my regular meals. Maybe you should too!

 

Soup is one of those all-time comfort foods for a very good reason. Problem is, so many soup recipes take hours to cook. That’s why I love this one. It’s fast to make, economical, and entirely delicious. It takes less than ten minutes to prep the soup ingredients which magically merge together in just twenty minutes cooking time to produce a hearty, nutritious meal in a bowl.

 

“This soup can be made as vegan, vegetarian, low carb or paleo. I encourage you to experiment. It’s soup, people, not rocket science. Taste as you go, and adjust if necessary. Soup is nutritious, economical and easy. I hope that you’ll soon be making super and adventurous soups as a regular part of your household management plan.”

 

We hope you enjoy our little offering today.  Chelsi (Nicole’s VA)   xx

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

Autumn At The Farm

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“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”
~ Joe L. Wheeler

 

The last of the summer grass is long and lush and sweet.

The wind by turn blows warm and then cold.

The leaves are tumbling down, making a pretty carpet upon the lawn.

The air is rich with the fragrant smoke of burning camphor and eucalyptus branches as farmers light their burn piles.

The fields are full of new calves, noses wet with milk as they push at their mothers’ full udders.

My basket is full of crisp apples. Soup bubbles on the stove.

I love this time of year!

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weeds

pumpkin soup

bonfire front paddock

Last Chance Soup Recipe

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“There is no dignity
quite so impressive,
and no independence
quite so important,
as living within your means.”
~ Calvin Coolidge

 

Sunday or Monday is usually a day of planning and prepping for me. And that often includes making a batch of Last Chance Soup.

I first started making this soup when I was an impoverished student, living away from home in a share house. We went to university in a rural town where we were fortunate to have good access to cheap fresh produce. I would buy whatever was in season at the big roadside produce stalls and ask for the old and damaged fruit and vegetables, which the stallholder would often give to us for free or at a vast discount. We were always broke and I needed to make our food budget stretch as far as I could so we would have enough money for important things, like books, rent, and beers on a Friday night.

Growing up, I’d done the lion’s share of cooking at home because mum worked long hours. Later, I often shared with housemates who couldn’t cook, so I never minded volunteering for the cook’s position. There was method to my madness too. We all chipped in a set amount per week for food. If I shopped and cooked I used from-scratch ingredients, which were cheaper that freezer meals and junk, and that way I could even make cakes and biscuits for the same amount of money as the sad traditional student diets of instant noodles, frozen pizzas, things in cans and microwaved meals. In the end, for being impossibly broke, at our house we ate really good food – roasts and soups and stews, cakes and puddings and sweet treats.

I was determined to live well, even on a shoestring. I knew it could be done. My grandmothers had taught me these things, after having themselves grown up in lean times. Eat simple. East seasonal. Eat local. Grow what you can, and support the farmers who live nearby. Wherever I lived I had a few battered recycled pots and styrofoam boxes or roughly-hewn garden plots for my herbs, flowers and easy-to-grow vegetables. We were sometimes blessed with a gnarled old lemon tree or two in the back yard, or we’d find someone who did. My grandmothers were my introduction to the slow food movement before such a  thing was even a movement at all.

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Also, some of our housemates or dinner mates were invariably young men who ate like there was no tomorrow – so food that was filling and cheap was a high priority. I became quite cheeky after a time, cooking elaborate dinner parties for the boys in neighbouring houses so that they would mow our lawns, fix our plumbing or lug second-hand fridges around for us. 🙂

Essentially, this soup is a throw-together of what’s in the fridge at the end of the week that is needing to be used up or thrown away/composted/fed to the chickens. Hence the name Last Chance Soup.

Because left-overs vary from week to week the flavour changes with each batch. I use up the last of any cold roast meats or tail ends of bacon etc, or perhaps a little fresh meat or chicken. Sometimes I’ll use beans or lentils. It really does depend on what is in the fridge, freezer or pantry. If I use beans or lentils I may throw in a tin of tomatoes and some tomato paste. Then I go through the onion and potato bin, and the crisper drawer. Have a look at what’s in the garden. Anything that is old or a bit wilted gets used up. Leftovers from previous meals? They may work too!

After a few minutes of chopping and another hour or two of simmering I have a lovely pot of soup that I can eat for a simple Sunday night dinner, with enough left over to freeze into portions for easy meals, a quick lunch, or an emergency gift for a hungry or stressed friend.

This soup can be made as vegan, vegetarian, low carb or paleo. I encourage you to experiment. It’s soup, people, not rocket science. Taste as you go, and adjust if necessary. Soup is nutritious, economical and easy. I hope that you’ll soon be making super and adventurous soups as a regular part of your household management plan. 🙂

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The basics of this soup are as follows:

An onion, a clove or two (or three!) of garlic, two litres of stock or bone broth, a few cups of mixed vegetables (sometimes I’ll use cold roast or cooked vegetables from a previous meal), a handful of fresh or a pinch or two of dried herbs, a cup or so of raw or cooked meat or beans/legumes. Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the quantities up or down as needed.

Additional flavourings can be had from tomatoes and tomato paste, lemon, dried or fresh herbs, curry powder, a glug of wine, sauces or preserves.

You could also add a handful of dried pasta or a little rice for extra body and texture.

Can I be more specific than that? Not really. I’m not sure what’s in your fridge or pantry!

Ingredients:

For this particular batch of soup I used 3 garlic cloves, one red onion (starting to shoot!), 2 carrots looking past their prime, the last of last week’s bone broth, plus water and a little vegetable stock powder, 2 big rashers of bacon and half a chicken breast, 2 soggy sticks of celery and the tops of the new bunch, 2 very small dutch cream potatoes that won’t be useful for anything else, the remainder of an old pumpkin, 1 big green leek, the sad remains of a once huge cauliflower – the stalk and maybe a cup of florets, a big handful of fresh parsley from the garden, a couple of green onions, the pitiful last squeeze of half a lemon I’d already used for something else, a heaped teaspoon of turmeric, a tablespoon of coconut oil (or your favourite fat).

Method:

Chop the onion, garlic, meat and leek into small pieces. Heat a big pot over a medium flame, add the coconut oil and then toss in the meat, leek, onion and garlic to brown and cook. Stir often. You can then throw in the turmeric, celery and carrot to brown up a bit too if you want, as this gives the soup a richer flavour. No time? Don’t worry – just chuck it all in.

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Add the rest of the vegetables or beans/legumes if you are using them, and any dried herbs. Keep fresh herbs and any especially soft and quick cooking vegetables, like small pieces of pumpkin or zucchini, aside until the last ten minutes or so of cooking time.

Pour in the stock. Stir well, bring to a strong simmer and then reduce heat and simmer for one to two hours, covered.

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Taste, and adjust if necessary using salt and pepper or a dash of anything else that takes your fancy. It’s fine to add in a little more water or stock too. To finish, throw in the finely chopped herbs and any remaining vegetables and cook on low heat for another five to ten minutes. The humble ingredients will have then transformed into something satisfyingly magical.

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Ladle into a bowl and enjoy. I jazzed mine up with a few shavings of parmesan cheese and some extra fresh herbs. Result? Delicious!

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*Note – if your soup ends up very thick, feel free to call it stew and serve it over rice or noodles, or with some thick slabs of toast. Be creative!