Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

While I eat an evening meal, and may settle for coffee as breakfast, the great culinary love of my life is lunch.

Day in day out, I always eat soup for lunch.

And what a soup it is! A delicious stock to which is added whatever I harvest out back.

Each day I celebrate my kitchen garden by eating  it.

A bubbling broth will accept so many options in way of vegetables and herbs. Then the medley takes off differently according toeach ingredient's input.

I assure you these are the best soups I've ever had.

So what's the combo?

The soup begins with a chicken stock. Nothing special, really. I feed my dogs chicken necks and in order to make them last longer in fridge storage I steam them above boiling water. These necks sweat and drip into the water below and voila! I have my stock.

So I bring my stock to boil and add a heaped  soup spoon full of my homemade umami mix ( dried anchovies, dried Shitake mushrooms, and dried kelp  buds (1:1:1)blended up together). To this I add three soup spoonfuls of Fish Sauce (and a teaspoon of black cumin seeds/Nigella).

Then the harvest from outback -- usually choosing from : prickly pear paddles, spring onions, Okinawan spinach, Katuk , Longevity Spinach, sweet peppers, Moringa, Chaya, sliced squash, Pepper leaf, Asian greens,...whatever. And boil it all up for at least 15 minutes. You know, simmer.

Just before serving I love to add sliced radishes (Daikon especially).

And that's it. I can microwave a tomato so it 'roasts' and throw that in towards the end. I often throw in an egg to poach or a little  of what was left over from last night's dinner. And a very generous slurp of oil: sesame or olive oil.

Why the oil? Since I'm not adding much in the way of heavy carbohydrates -- such as noodles  or pasta, or eating the soup with bread --  these fats  add to its calorific load and always round off the favour.

Often, like usually,  I add chilli paste.

I find it incredible that  something that is based on the same ingredients  day in and day out can be so exciting to the taste buds -- novel, even surprisingly delicious each time. 

Soup has that power.  The Vietnamese eat pho every day -- and they surely know that a soup is an essential element of a  satisfying life.

I'm sure you could approach the same level of gastronomical satisfaction with a good miso stock and forsake the dead animals. But the routine -- the collecting of a harvest to add to a bubbling stock -- is a very human activity. So simple and basic.

No skill required.

Making soup this way, has a lot of advantages. It takes just 20 minutes to prepare. The mix is guaranteed to increase your vegetable intake. Soup like this keeps you full longer than solid food and water  -- especially if the solid foods  eaten are nutritionally shallow, like rice. Made from scratch every day, you get to pick fresh from the garden and throw in a large range of different plants -- any plants that are edible.

Beautiful Soup so rich So green,
Waiting in a hot tureen
Who for such dainties would not stop.

Soup of the evening
Beautiful Soup,
Soup of the evening,
Beautiful Soup

Beautiful Sou-oop
Beautiful Sou-oop
Soup of the evening Beautiful Sou-oop
Beautiful, Beautiful Soup.

Beautiful Soup, Who cares for fish,
Game or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?

Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup,
Beautiful Sou-oop
Beautiful Sou-oop
Soup of the evening Beautiful Sou-oop
Beautiful, Beautiful Soup.

--Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 19, 2020 at 6:25

I love it, You have brightened up my day Dave.

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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