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I generally do a whole whack of cooking and baking on Sundays so I don’t have to stress about making dinner every night after work during the week. It also helps out with our lunches at work.

Now that we’re well on our way into winter, I find myself making all kinds of soups and stews – warm, hearty and nourishing. These are the recipes from this past Sunday:

  • homemade Asian soup stock
  • mung bean stew
  • Jamaican peas and rice
  • Chickpea and kale soup

Simmering soup stock

Thanks to my friend Karen, I have learned the joys of making homemade soup stock. I had tried it years ago in university, when I had more time than money, and I found it took a lot of time and trouble, and was not very tasty. Mind you, I was only using veggie scraps (eg. discarded onion tops rather than whole onions). I gave up and for years used Knorr veggie soup stock powder.

Karen shared with me a recipe for Asian soup stock. It includes all the usual veggies you would put in stock – onions, garlic, carrots, celery, cilantro, etc – but also includes ginger, lemongrass and tamari. One word: wow. I can’t believe what a difference it makes in my homemade soups. I use this stock for nearly everything, whether it’s supposed to have an Asian flavor or not: carrot soup, chickpea and kale soup, miso, whatever. It’s amazing.

Mung bean stew

Mung bean stew: not beautiful, but delicious

The mung bean stew recipe is a favourite at our house. It’s from Linda McCartney’s “On Tour” cookbook, and is of Kenyan origin. The ingredient list is incredibly simple, with minimal flavouring, but it’s amazing how tasty this stew is. Definitely more than the sum of its parts.


Simmering Jamaican rice and peas


My husband has a Jamaican coworker who brought in her homemade peas and rice for an office potluck a couple years ago, and he’s been raving about it ever since. After months of listening to his none-too-subtle hints, I finally went poking around online and found a good recipe. Note to pea-haters (of which my husband is one): there are NO PEAS in this recipe. At least not what we would usually call peas in Canada. The recipe calls for kidney beans, but I used black beans instead. It’s another fairly simple but very tasty recipe.

ginger and garlic

Ginger and garlic

Chickpea and kale soup: This recipe comes from the Digest Diet book. As in Reader’s Digest. I won’t even link to the website here; it’s so obnoxious it’s almost offensive. The recipe isn’t available online anyway. But I can tell you it’s super simple: olive oil, chickpeas, kale (chopped), thinly sliced garlic, soup stock. Let it simmer long enough for the kale to cook. Sprinkle with feta when serving. Make sure the soup alone isn’t too salty already, because the feta can really kick up the salt factor. It’s super simple and healthy, and really quite good. Which is more than I expected from a Reader’s Digest recipe book, but that’s the food snob in me talking.

I’ve got another soup recipe from the Digest Diet book I want to try: and Italian shrimp and veggie soup (for my meat-eating husband). It’s got fennel, Swiss chard and escarole – none of which I have ever cooked before. I love food adventures.