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My Soup Lifestyle (yet again I prattle on about it)

I eat soup every day for lunch. I love soup....and I guess I'm skilled at soupology.

Essentially my soup making works to a template.


I make up a weak chicken stock by steaming up chicken necks for the dogs. I always have that on hand. I also make stock by collecting all our leftover bones -- cooked and raw -- and boiling them up.


I always have on hand (in the freezer) my own umami mixture : equal parts dried

anchovies, seaweed (kelp) and Shiitake mushrooms.All pulsed up into a powder. 

I usually use a level tablespoon of this.


To this I add chopped spring onions and chopped celery (or celery leaf).

Home grown.


A few mushrooms. Scoops from last night's leftovers. Sliced in half Tommy Toe tomatoes. Microwaved sliced Roma  tomatoes. Sun dried tomatoes. Salsa. Cooked meats....what's on hand that may work in the medley.


A heaped teaspoon of Nigella seeds (Black cumin). Scoop of Chipotle chili. Slurps of Fish Sauce. 


I go out back and forage whatever is harvestable:Okinawan spinach, broccoli, katuk leaves, silver beet, Warrigal Greens, chaya leaves, Gynurna, kale leaves,Kangkong, English spinach,...


Bok Choi, zucchini slices, Green beans, Tatsoi, Cabbage,Bulb Fennel, Prickly Pear Nopales, Shishoto peppers...

(In my case, I always add sliced nopales. It began life for me as a Nopales soup.).

And I simmer all this up for 15 minutes. Give or take.

Before serving, I throw in sliced radishes, or home grown bean sprouts, and heat through.

Protein Option:Float a microwaved poached egg on top.

To finish off, I splash the soup with olive oil which rounds off the flavours.Olive oil is best despite this being an Asian seeming soup.

You could add some coriander leaves when serving -- or some parsley for that matter -- but it isn't a flavour essential.

All this is routine and a dedicated ritual. The taste is amazing. Nonetheless, flavour will vary according to what plants are added to the soup while the base umami, sustains the combo -- buoys up the flexibility.

If you consider this template what we have here is a nutrition powerhouse in a bowl.

  • 5 per day? Easy.
  • Eat your way through the garden regardless of season? Guaranteed.
  • Different textures and nutritional serves. You pick your hits.

Of course, mine is very boutique. I like what I like. There is sure to be other ways to get similar results., say by using Miso rather than anchovies. And you can make the soup without using a pre-prepped stock (like chicken).

Aside from the foraging, prep takes just over 15 minutes. The 15 is important to ensure any Oxalic Acid issues are dealt with by simmering. That's also important for detoxifying the Chaya leaves.

For those who want to carb up, you could add noodles or some pasta to the soup. Pre-cooked potatoes (or small spud cubes) mix in OK too. Chopped pumpkin, like carrots, can be a bit of a flavour distraction -- as can sweet potato.

Trust me: I'm a soup snob.

Both the Nopales and the Okinawan Spinach add a slight mucelagousness to the soup which works wonderfully in the mouth.

The simmer window is not long enough to cook okra. Nonetheless, Okinawan spinach is worth growing -- just like its Egyptian cousin -- just for this soup.

I don't like Ceylon or Brazil Spinach so I've never used them.

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Comment by Dave Riley on September 2, 2020 at 18:34

Here I am in a Goya painting celebrating soup.

Comment by Dave Riley on August 18, 2020 at 23:14

Soup du jour.
Broccoli. Spring onions. Celery leaf. Sun dried tomatoes. Okinawan spinach. Tromboncino. Watermelon radish. An egg. Chilli paste. Nopales. Black cumin. Lamb stock.

Aside from the dead lambkins and homemade stock mix, all ingredients were an outback harvest.

That's the trick you see: adapting what you eat to what you grow and what you grow to what you eat. That is the kitchen garden essential.

But it must be foraged to work as a partnership. We are so inculcated by plant-then-harvest protocols, that we can miss the sustainable logic of simply gathering a mixture of food to eat. Even the recipes we rely on are narrow concoctions of limited ingredients.

Life may be compared to a glorious soup and human beings to a spoon. Some plunge in deeply, even to the depths. Others may hesitate in the shallows of life, just to dampen the cutlery. It is best to scoop bravely in to what pleasures may swim beneath the surface -- DR.

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