All posts in soups

Chorizo & Broad Bean Minestrone


When the weather is wet and grey (like it was in Melbourne over the weekend) all I crave is comfort food.  I personally think the king of all comfort food is soup. What other dish can make you feel like a great big warm hug from within?  I swear I can feel my body thanking me for all the vegetable goodness! Nom. I love soup but sometimes it’s just not quite satisfying enough – especially on super chilly days when you’re staaaarving. That’s where a good minestrone comes in. Filled with stodgy beans and pasta it’s hard to come away still feeling hungry.



I decided to give my minestrone a little extra kick with a Spanish winter twist in the form of chorizo and broad beans.  The spicy meat flavour permeates through out the whole soup and really gives it a leg-up.



I remember we always had broad beans throughout winter and spring as Dad used to grow a big patch of them in the garden. I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with them.  As a kid I hated having to shell them before dinner (after school I just wanted to kick back and watch Vidiot).  I also wasn’t too keen on the pea and ham soup mum used to make with them. BUT I LOVED the bean and potato salad she used to make. Mmm… mum’s salads are the best.

I highly recommend this version of the famous hearty soup, it’s a winner!

x e.


 Chorizo & broad bean minestrone

1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion,  finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium (about 150g) carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1 large celery stick, finely chopped
125g chorizo (1 sausage)
1 zucchini finely chopped
2 x 425g can chunky crushed tomatoes
4 cup chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
60g pasta
100g broad beans


1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and let cook for 3 minutes or until onion softens. Add celery, carrots, chorizo, zucchini and let cook for a further 5 minutes.

2.  Add tomato, garlic and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes or until carrot is tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

3.  Add pasta, cannellini and  beans. Cook for 3 minutes. Serve soup in bowls and sprink with parmesan and serve.

French Onion Soup by Nicolas Poelaert


This week has been very French inspired. It all stared out on Wednesday with an invitation to celebrate an evening of French food and wine at Persimmon, the restaurant in the National Gallery of Victoria. A handful of Melbourne’s best French chefs have been invited to cook a number of Napoleon inspired dinners from June to October in conjunction with the winter masterpiece event Napoleon: Revolution to Empire. I was lucky enough to be invited to the evening that Nicolas Poelaert from Embrasse was cooking.

The night consisted of canapés followed by five courses. Each course was matched with a wonderful (mostly French) wine. Now I’m not pretending to be a wine buff, but these wines were seriously amazing. The French are such a clever bunch! This was the menu for the night:

Smoked ocean trout, dried bay leaf, cauliflower custard, roe, pickled grapes
2009 Domaine Louis Michel & Fils, Petit Chablis – Chablis France

Moreton Bug, burnt vegetables, squid, ginger wine vinegar
2010 Le Grand Cros, L’esprit de Provence – Cotes de Provence, France

Beef cheek, Corsican herbs, muscovado sugar, parmesan
2001 Chateau Labegorce, Margaux – Bordeaux, France

2009 Chanson Pere & Fils, Le Bourgogne – Burgandy, France

Embrasse’s Forest floor, hazelnut parfait, chocolate gateau, buttermilk
2007 Kracher, Beerenauslese Cuvee – Burgenland, Austria



Like I said, an amazing night with wonderful food and knowledgeable company. If you’re interested in experiencing some of Melbourne’s best French food, it’s not too late! There are three other nights available:

Tickets to the French dinner series plus entry to the Napoleon exhibition are on sale at ticketmaster but if you’re just interested in the dinner you can contact Persimmon directly.

Righto, down to this weeks dish. On Saturday I decided to cook Nicolas Poelaert’s family recipe for French onion soup. As simple as it is, I had never actually made it before. It’s super easy and really delicious. Nicolas’ family serve theirs with fresh sourdough bread and good quality Gruyere cheese (I used Tasmanian made Heidi Farm Gruyere). Although I wanted to make something French, it wasn’t until later that afternoon that I realised it was Bastille Day!  How fitting!  Although the cherry on the top of my French week has of course been watching all the action of Le Tour de France… so exciting to watch (come on Cadel!!!).

Bon appétit!

x e.



Nicolas Poelaert’s French Onion Soup

15 large brown onions
6 medium sized potatoes
1 garlic clove
1 litre of stock or water
sprig of thyme
1 tbs caster sugar


1.  Put a large soup pot on a very low gas and start peeling and slicing the onions, potatoes and garlic.

2.  Start browning the onion in the hot pot with a little olive oil and a table spoon of caster sugar. Do not cover.
Cooked slowly until brown, this process may take a while, the onions will start melting slowly and their natural juice will evaporate.

3.  When the onions juices have completely evaporated, keep stirring regularly until their colour change to a nice golden colour.
Add the potatoes, the garlic and a spring of thyme and water or chicken stock (all onions should be covered so add more if need be) and cook on a low gas for 40 mins.

4.  When the potatoes are cooked, switch off the gas and start blitz the soup with a hand blender until a smooth texture. The soup will always taste better the next day.

*Back at home, Nicolas’ mum and dad serve theirs with gruyere cheese and crispy sourdough bread.

Ghoulish Goulash


Warm up with a Ghoulish Goulash soup all the way from Hungary this Halloween!!

This time four years ago we went to Budapest in beautiful Hungary for my birthday (yep, it was my birthday yesterday…. toot toot!!) My knowledge of the country and its traditions were slim to none so it was all very educational, but the one thing I learnt pretty quickly was how rad their food was. We ate our first meal at this medieval style restaurant and had one the most memorable meals ever (currently listed #2 in my top 5 meals ever). It started with my very first warming and hearty Goulash soup (for entree).  It was exactly what I felt like after a cold day walking the streets of Budapest. For mains I ordered roast goose (also a first) with plumb sauce and potato dumplings. This combination of the plumb sauce with the gamey goose was heavenly and the fluffy potato dumplings were the icing on the cake! The Hungarian cuisine is quite heavy but with the chilly weather, it was just what the doctor ordered.

We stayed in an old hotel on the west side (Buda), just on the foot of the hill of the Budapest Citadel. I remember climbing to the top whilst taking in the views from the old castle… but apart from that, the most memorable part for me was the food (and Hungarian red wine). I think my birthday in Budapest was was one of the strangest and most memorable I’ve had, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Kedves egeszsegere!!! (Cheers!)

x e.



Ghoulish Goulash

Gourmet Traveller Aug 2009

125 ml olive oil
4 onions
700gm beef shin or blade cut into 3cm pieces
For dusting: seasoned plane flour
400g canned tomato
1 garlic clove
2tbsp Hungarian Paprika
1tsp each caraway seeds and cayenne pepper
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1.5 litres chicken or beef stock
To serve: sour cream and finely chopped chives
1. Heat half the oil in a large pan and brown onions on medium heat until golden brown (20-25 mins).
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another pan. Dust the beef with flour and cook in pan until browned (6-8mins).
3. Transfer meat to onions with tomato, garlic, spices, bay leaves and season to taste.
4. Add stock and simmer over medium heat for 1.5 hours until meat is tender.
5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chives.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup


At the moment I’m spending a lot of time at the studio here in Carlton and taking yummy packed lunches. I used to love the Covent Garden soups they have in the UK and in winter, 9 lunches out of 10 I’d be trying another different flavour. Anyway, I still haven’t moved on and I still love soup for lunch and I haven’t had it in ages so I’m craving it. My favourite of all favourite soups would have to be pumpkin soup. It’s so sweet with the browned onions and the yummy pumpkin – who wouldn’t like it? I like mine with a little spicy kick so I like to add a little hot paprika to make your taste buds sing! Nom nom nom. And it’s easy peasy to make too.



Spicy Pumpkin Soup

2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
1kg peeled pumpkin, diced
1 large potato, peeled, diced
1L chicken or vegetable stock
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 – 1 tsp hot paprika (to taste)
thin cream for serving


1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and leek and cook until golden brown. Add the pumpkin, potato & stock and bring to the boil.
2. Lower the heat, cover with lid and let simmer for 30-40 mins. Add garlic, nutmet & paprika & stir through.
3. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in batches.
4. Add a cream if you like it a little creamier and richer.