Thursday, 14 June 2012

Hearty Winter Soup

I had a big clean-up day the other day. Not the kind of clean-up where you vacuum around the furniture, but the kind where you actually pull the furniture away from the walls and vacuum (those days drive me nuts, but it has to be done). It's amazing what you can find back there. Amongst the stray bits of Lego, loose change and dust bunnies, I found:

One lip gloss
A book mark
About a dozen Nerf Gun bullets (I find those things everywhere)
A teaspoon. My kids aren't allowed to eat in the Living Room, so I'm blaming my husband for that one.
A sock - that'll be Linus
A Bouncy-Ball
An old sink plug. Yes, you read it correctly, a plug. Why did that leave any of the wet areas? How does a kitchen plug end up behind the sofa in the Living Room? I'll never know the answers.

My clean-up didn't stop there. I moved onto the kitchen (restoring the plug to it's rightful place). Actually I threw it in the garbage. I have a small garbage bin in the kitchen, but at least that's closer to the sink than behind the sofa. Then I started to clean out the black hole that is the refrigerator. As a matter of fact, things weren't that bad in there. I didn't find anything too outrageous, apart from some vegetables that needed to be made in to soup. This soup has everything in it but the kitchen sink, which is more than I can say for my Living Room!

Hearty Winter Soup
from Tana Ramsay's Real Family Food
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
4 large stalks of silverbeet, leaves only, shredded
50g quinoa
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
800ml water (or chicken stock)
1 x 400g can black beans
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
large handful parsley, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot. Fry the onion until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and other chopped vegetables and fry for about 5 minutes.

Add the quinoa, followed by the tomatoes, water or stock.

Add the chilli flakes and stir well.

Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on before adding the beans. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add the parsley and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle out into large, deep bowls. Grate over some Parmesan  and sprinkle with more chilli flakes (if desired).


  1. This looks *delish* & it's healthy too--cannot wait to try it! :) Just a quick question, does the fennel have a strong taste to it? I've never cooked with it, as I've seen Giada using it, and she says it has a black licorice taste to it (which unfortunately, I don't like--unless it's Ouzo) :) Thank you for sharing this recipe. Happy Holidays ~

  2. Thanks for your comment Sasha. I'm not a huge fan of licorice flavour either. While raw fennel does have that licorice flavour, cooked fennel has a far less licorice flavour, and less so the more you cook it. This soup certainly doesn't have a strong licorice flavour at all, but if you're not sure, you could always just use 1/2 a bulb and cook it until it's really soft before adding the other vegetables and quinoa. Also, only use the white part of the fennel, as the flavour of the green parts of the vegetable are much stronger. And if you're still unsure, just leave it out and replace it with a couple of stalks of celery instead. I hope you give it a try. It really is a delicious, nutritious and warming soup. (PS: I'm with you on the Ouzo). :D

  3. What is silverbeet? I am unfamiliar. Thank you.

  4. Silverbeet is what we Australians call Swiss Chard.