The past weekend has seen loads of snow falling around the country and although it would sound ridiculous to claim that Auckland was freezing it was certainly cool enough for some good old fashioned comfort food.
Vegetable soup is one of my favourite winter dishes. Many recipes from mum have been adapted over the years but this one stays the same. It embodies the essence of my New Zealand childhood but while other recipes I now flavour enhance with more exotic herbs and spices this one remains exactly as it was. I let the sweet gentle flavour of the vegetables blend into a calm and soothing soup. To me this is the ultimate in comfort food and one that I can happily have for both lunch and dinner while it lasts. Thankfully the rest of the family like it as well, Greta (12) had it for breakfast today before she went out to early morning netball.
My stock is always homemade or as close to homemade as I can get – For beef stock I slowly cook beef bones in the oven with chunks of onion, carrot, garlic, celery and a good smear of tomato paste. The bones and vegetables are then transferred to a stock pot with water and simmered with a bay leaf and a sprig or two of thyme for 4-5 hours.
There are a few good brands out on the market but to get a good natural taste I really believe that using good quality stock is essential.
While mum always uses barley with the introduction of quinoa I find it a great grain in soups. Barley has a tendency to go a little furry whereas quinoa adds body in the most subtle of ways.
I did say that I hadn’t changed the soup along the way but I do often vary the grain and I am sure if quinoa had been available when mum was my age she would have used it too!
Ceres organic is the brand of quinoa that I buy – if you would like to try this then simply email me and you will be in the draw to win one of 5 quinoa packs from Ceres. [email protected]