Making a pot of soup on a Sunday afternoon is incredibly satisfying. I'm not one to rigidly follow recipes - once you have a base of onion or leek, and have added your stock, you can mix it up with vegetable combinations. Seasoning is important, and you can have a lot of fun with garnishes - fresh herbs, a dollop of yoghurt or something creamy, lemon zest, a drizzle of good-quality oil: it's up to you. As the cold weather continues, try a new recipe and put your own stamp on it. I love a bit of chilli to add heat to my soup, and I can't go past a good-quality sourdough for my accompanying toast.

Chicken, white bean and silverbeet soup

For the stock

2 x free range chicken frames, approx 800g

(I used Bostock's organic chicken frames)


2 carrots

2 sticks celery, chopped

2 Tbsp peppercorns

1 bulb NZ garlic, cut in half lengthways

Small bunch fresh thyme

Small bunch fresh parsley

Approx 3 litres water

Place all ingredients in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring gently to the boil and simmer for 2-3 hours. Strain the stock through a sieve and use for the soup.

For the soup
1 portion stock, above
400g (approx) free-range chicken breast or thighs
1 carrot, sliced
2 cups chopped silverbeet or
spinach, or baby silverbeet or spinach leaves
1 x 330g can cannellini beans
1 Tbsp Worcester sauce
1 Tbsp hot sauce (eg sriracha)
1 small bunch Italian parsley
Zest of one small lemon

Place the stock, chicken and carrot slices in a medium saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken and carefully shred using two forks, then return to the pot.

Add the silverbeet (or spinach), beans, Worcester sauce and hot sauce.

Continue to heat through, and taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Serve in small bowls with the parsley and a little lemon zest.

Moroccan beef and chickpea soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, sliced
350g casserole beef
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 x 330g can chickpeas
2 carrots, sliced
1 Tbsp harissa
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp chilli flakes
Cracked black pepper, about 1 tsp
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
2 cups beef stock
1 litre water
Lemon zest, to serve
Additional fresh coriander, to serve
Yoghurt or coconut yoghurt, to serve

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and the onion. Saute a little, and then add the beef. Allow the beef to brown.

Add the tomato paste, chickpeas, carrots, and the spices and salt and pepper.

Continue to cook, then add the herbs and the stock and the water.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for approximately 1.5 hours, until the beef is very tender.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with additional fresh coriander, and a dollop of yoghurt or coconut yoghurt.