Fennel and Vegetable Soup Recipe


I’m not really sorry to be posting another soup recipe:  it is cold and this one is incredibly easy and quick.

There’s no blitzing and I reckon it was ready for the table in under half an hour. Plus, it makes use of a very seasonal (and that means CHEAP!) ingredient: fennel.

The original recipe is a fennel minestrone, by Arthur Potts Dawson, an eco friendly British chef.

I tweaked quantities quite a bit and also thought that it would be far easier to chop the vegetables, rather than grate them (grating creates washing up!). I was also concerned that if the vegetables were grated the finished product could look a bit … mushy.

To begin – heat some olive oil in your favourite soup making pan and gently sauté 1 finely chopped leek.

I had one giant fennel (bought for the princely sum of 98 cents!) so I cut that in half – which worked out at about 400g of fennel (yes, it was huge) – and roughly chopped it, and then added to the leek.

I then added two handfuls of risoni pasta (I have small hands). I happened to have risoni but you could use any shape or break up spaghetti or fettucine. Really – put in as much as you want but remember that it does expand when it cooks and it will thicken up the soup.

Finally, add stock (I used some chicken stock we had leftover!) and cook. You only need to cook until the pasta is done which is what makes this soup so quick.

Add a coarsely chopped courgette/zucchini about 5 minutes before you’re ready to serve – you don’t want that to turn to mush.

Dawson’s recipe uses a pangritata to finish the dish but I really couldn’t be bothered going outside. However, I did have a jar of pesto open in the fridge, so I stirred a generous teaspoon of that through my bowl.

Finally, a sprinkle of pepper and salt and you have a super healthy, super cheap and super tasty meal in under 30 minutes. No excuses for takeaway!

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Pumpkin Soup Pumpkin Soup

Before blitzing …                                                                                                                                                                          … and the finished product.


The weather is getting a little colder now (it’s officially winter here in Australia) and as far as I’m concerned this means it’s soup time because soup is easy, warming and comforting. There is nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a big bowl of piping hot soup and some toast.

We’d had some leftover pumpkin (actually a butternut squash) and I decided that I could easily turn this bit of vege into dinner.

This is my standard approach to soup and it works perfectly well for pretty much any left over vegetable. If the vegetable you’re using is particularly watery you should up the amount of potato you use – as potato is the magic thickener.

Begin by finely chopping half a large onion (or a whole medium sized one) and sauté it in some light olive oil or butter. With pumpkin soup you don’t have to worry about the onion taking on colour. When the onion starts to soften add 1 potato which you’ve peeled and chopped and then add your chopped pumpkin. For the two of us, and the above amounts of onion and potato I used a quarter of a butternut squash.

Give the vegetables a very quick sauté and then add enough stock to just cover them. You really need to use the best stock you can get your hands on and these days there’s no need to use stock cubes because there’s plenty of real stock options available. I usually use a stock jelly so I can just add that and top up with water. Give the mix a good stir and, if you have any fresh thyme to hand, add a sprig or two of that and bring the mix to the boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are really well cooked.

Finish the soup by pulsing with a stab mixer (first take out the sprigs of thyme!) to make the mix as smooth as you want it. It may be super thick, in which case let it down with some water.

And if you have a bit more time to spare, you can always roast the pumpkin/squash. If you’re going to do this, it will be soft anyway, so cook the potato thoroughly before adding the pumpkin to the soup.

Serve piping hot, perhaps with a dollop of sour cream (or normal cream) as decoration. Just make sure you have plenty of hot, buttery toast on the side. Feeling like you need some protein with this? Top with some crispy, fried bacon!