Soup as a kid at home generally meant a can of Watties or Oak or Thompson and Hill's tomato soup and mum used to add milk for "cream of tomato" effect. Ready in minutes. Some of mum's cooking was fantastic, and some of it wasn't, and this rated somewhere just above the curried mutton flap. There's some nice canned soup around, and I keep a couple of cans for emergencies but I generally prefer to work from scratch.

I used to enjoy the original packet soups, the Maggi Chicken Noodle and Oxtail, when they first came out, but my taste buds these days react to the slightly chemical taste of whatever preservative is used in these. I'll still use the odd bit of Maggi chicken stock, though, to kick a vegetable soup along a little.

Soup at Gran Woodward's was nearly always some variation on barley and shinbone, and this was a soup that sat quietly in the pot and simmered for ages. It's still one I make with memories of Gran's kitchen quite fresh, and I inherited the silver spoon that Grandad Woody used to eat his soup (and porridge) with. When Charlie's vegetarianism obliged me to leave the shin out it still worked well as a vegetable soup.

If it wasn't barley and shinbone, it was fish head soup, made from Grandad's boiled up snapper skeletons, kept in their muslin bags until it was time to carefully extract the morsels of flesh remaining to add to the soup. (This is a soup that needs to be made outside over the barbecue burner, as the steam that coats the kitchen walls will leave the room smelling of fish long after you've had enough of it.)

I have a couple of soups that I like making apart from family considerations. One is the French Onion Soup from the Edmond's Book and the other is a Kumara and Lentil Soup whose basics came, I think, from Alison Holst.)

I also make a Pea Soup and Ham from time to time but it requires an enormous amount of forethought what with soaking the peas and getting the meat off the bacon bones after they've been cooked. Nice, though, for a change.


Gran's Barley Soup: A slow-simmered thick collection of shin, barley and vegetables. Ideal for Saturday lunch after soccer.

Kumara and Lentil Soup: A classy and quick solution when a fast lunch is needed on a cold day. This is gourmet fare, despite what you might think about lentils.

French Onion Soup: Very simple. Very classy. Very delicious.

Dave's Pea and Bacon Soup: Bacon bones are no longer the cheapie they once were, but even so, it is difficult to find anything more satisfying on a bleak, miserable, rainy day than a hearty bowl of this delicacy.

Curried Cashew and Carrot Soup: Sweet and nutty, substantial enough for a main course, and as spicy as you want to make it. About twenty minutes from start to on the table.

Spinach and Zucchini Soup: An ideal rainy-day-in-autumn lunch, and a wonderful green presence on your lunch table.







Sauces, Chutneys, Relishes, Jams and Marmalade

Tramping (Hiking)



Spreads, Dips, Entrees, and Dressings



With Meat or Fish