A Pot of Soup

We're shivering under the full weight of winter right now, so with cold toes and noses what better subject to discuss than toe-warming cheek-glowing soup! Everyone has their favourite soup whether it's light and clear or thick and hearty, served piping hot in winter to warm the cockles of your heart or icy cold in summer to cool you down in sweltering heat, just ask around and you'll elicit a broad range of responses.

My mother's hearty vegetable soup thickened with barley and split green peas is legendary in our family. Most Saturdays during winter when I grew up our house would be redolent of that earthy-vegetabley smell from simmering vegetables, and barley and split peas, usually supplemented with a ham or bacon bone. My brothers and sisters and I all played school sport, and there was nothing better to revive sore and cold bodies and salve bruised egos after our battles on the field or court than mum’s vegetable soup. I don't think much has changed. I made a huge pot of pea and ham soup this past weekend and watched bowls of it disappear, devoured by my son after his soccer game. (See my blog for The Battle of the Soups ).

I love soup at any time of the year but rather than serving soup as a starter I tend to go for hunky and chunky soups that constitute a meal, mainly because it takes care of what to cook for dinner!

Apart from being quick to cook, and easy to cook – most soups just require chopping, then slow-cooking – soups often taste better the day after making, meaning you can get them done ahead, or make a double batch and freeze one lot for a quick meal some time later.

It's not always necessary to make your own stock for soup , because often the ingredients will provide bags of flavour as they cook. Other soups, usually with fewer or not so robust ingredients, are dependent on a good base stock so I've included instructions for making chicken stock. A word of caution when using commercially-prepared stock in soups, season the soup lightly to begin with because the stock may already be seasoned.

For tips and hints, check out Seasoning a Soup, Chicken Stock and To Serve with Soup. Then, get your soup pot at the ready, arm yourself with handfuls of fresh vegetables and herbs, and get cooking!

And, remember, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, we're on the countdown to summer having passed the shortest day. But to my American readers my message is quite different - fire up the barbie (barbecue) and enjoy the 4th of July celebrations !


Recipe: Pea and Ham Soup

Recipe: Chicken stock

Cooking Techniques: Seasoning a Soup

Short Tips: To Serve with Soup

Tricky Words: Salt

Q&A: Cottage Pie Recipe?

Blog: The Battle of the Soups

JUNE 2008

Recipe Stash 

Pea and Ham Soup
Serve soup with thick slices of sticky-fresh sour dough bread.

Chicken stock
There are few rules with stock making, but those there are should be respected. A good stock is the sum of its parts – use good ingredients and you'll easily produce a tasty, nutritious stock.

Cooking Tips


Seasoning a soup
Some cooks claim that the secret to a good soup lies in using a good stock. I think it lies in using salt.[...]
Read the fill bit

To serve with soup
Parmesan toasts, Croutons [...]
Read the fill bit


Tricky Words Salt
The most indispensable ingredient in the kitchen, salt, when used correctly, is the cook's best friend. It draws out those nuances of flavor which, had the food been left unsalted, may have lain dormant.
More Tricky Words

Q & A

Q: Hi Julie. I have been reading great reports about your cottage pie recipe but can't find it anywhere. I would like to cook it for dinner on Saturday for 12 people, is it possible to have it emailed to me. By the way, I loved your book, dancing on the table, highly recommended.
Helen Flashman

A: Hi Helen. Here is the Cottage Pie recipe – hope you enjoy it. We love it served with broccoli – a great winter dish. Glad you enjoyed Dancing On My Table.
Happy cooking.

More Q & A


Best Barbecue Book - Gourmand Awards

"Julie Biuso already won a Best in the World Award for culinary food writing in 2001, in Sorges, Capital of the Truffles of Perigord. Sizzle is already a best seller thanks to her deep understanding of the cookbook reader needs and hopes".

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