Hearty meals for winter

The quickest way to warm your heart is through your tummy

By: Sharon Lurie

In these uncertain times, where the corona virus could be lurking on our doorstep, one thing’s for certain, we don’t want to be out shopping unnecessarily. And, as we approach colder weather, who really wants to go out anyways? Hopefully, most of the ingredients in these recipes will be in your cupboard and freezer. Although they’re soups, some of them can be served as hearty meals, especially with the crispy “as simple as that” bread.

Carrot soup with a swirl of tachina

2 tbls oil

2 large onions chopped

3 sticks celery, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 tbls fresh ginger

½ tsp cardamom spice

1kg carrots roughly chopped

1 large sweet potato (250g) preferably the orange variety

2 golden delicious apples, peeled and cubed

2 litres chicken/vegetable stock (3 cubes per litre)

400ml coconut milk

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

250g tachina mixed with a little water to make it more pourable

35g fresh coriander/parsley roughly chopped (for sprinkling on soup)


In a large pot, heat oil and fry chopped onions until lightly golden. Add chunked celery, garlic, and ginger, and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add carrots, apples, and chicken/vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil and, once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 1½ to 2 hours. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor. While still blending, slowly add coconut cream and pinch of nutmeg. Add salt and pepper Just before serving, swirl some tahini or non-dairy creamer into the soup. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander or parsley.

Creamy cauliflower soup

2 tbls oil

2 large onions chopped (you can use the frozen McCain onions to make it easier)

1 tsp crushed fresh garlic or ½ tsp powdered

1kg frozen Israeli cauliflower

3 large potatoes cubed into 1 cm pieces

1 litre of water (ensuring vegies are covered by at least 2cm)

3 tsp curry powder

2 tbls vegetable powdered stock

1 tin coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste


Fry onions in a little oil in a soup pot until soft. Add garlic and continue to fry. Add defrosted cauliflower, cubed potatoes, and water. When vegetables are soft, add curry powder and stock powder. Add coconut milk, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Decorate with croutons, nuts, or toasted sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, something crunchy to go with the smooth velvety soup.

Mexican meat soup

250g beef minced meat

1 tbls Mexican/enchilada spice

1 long fresh paprika pepper

3 chicken/beef cubes dissolved in 1 litre hot water

1 can tomato puree (410g)

1 tsp sugar

2 cups frozen corn

1 can black eyed beans (if unavailable, use cannellini)

Handful of chopped fresh coriander or parsley to decorate


Fry 250g mince and diced pepper in a little oil until golden brown and most of the water has evaporated. Add 1 tbls – Mexican spices or enchilada spices (Woolworths for example) and mix well for about a minute. Add chicken stock dissolved in water to meat. Mix well and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add defrosted corn and cook for a further two to three minutes. Add beans with liquid and allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Decorate with fresh coriander.

Ramen-inspired noodle soup

1kg of your favourite freshly chopped soup greens or frozen equivalent

1 tsp of sugar

4 beef stock cubes dissolved in 2 litres of water

1 tsp marmite

1 or 2 packets ramen noodles (depending on how much you enjoy noodles)


In a medium sized soup pot, fry vegetables in a little oil over medium to high heat. Stir carefully (especially if frozen) for about 5 to 7 minutes to prevent burning. Add tomatoes, sugar, stock, and marmite and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 1½ hours. Add dry noodles about 5 minutes before serving. (NB: Adding the noodles too early could cause them to break up or disintegrate.)

Old-fashioned creamy mushroom soup

2 tbls non-dairy margarine or butter

2 onions finely chopped

900g mushrooms, sliced.

3 tbls flour

3 tbls vegetarian or pareve chicken stock

1 packet (60g) Imana mushroom soup powder

3 cups warm water

Crushed black pepper

2 cups coconut milk (I used Kara coconut milk/Gefen in the 1 litre cardboard containers)

Salt and pepper to taste


Fry onions until golden brown. Add mushrooms and allow them to cook until soft and most of the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and sprinkle with flour, mushroom soup powder, and vegetarian stock power. Mix well with whisk. (NB: It’s important to use a hand whisk for a velvety smooth and creamy mushroom soup.) Add 3 cups of warm water and continue to mix well with the whisk. Add coconut milk, non-dairy creamer, and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes, whisking every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add crushed black pepper and salt.

Corn soup

2 deboned chicken breasts cut into shwarma-style pieces

Little oil for frying

3 chicken cube stocks dissolved in 3 cups boiling water

1kg frozen corn

2 tbls Maizena dissolved in 2 cups of cold water

2 cans cream-style sweetcorn

Salt and pepper to taste


Fry chicken until in a little oil until golden brown in pot. Ensure that it doesn’t get burned, otherwise it will ruin the whole taste of the soup. Remove meat from pot. Into the same pan you were frying the chicken, add stock and frozen corn and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Blend the corn with an immersion/stick blender until almost smooth, but not quite! Dissolve two tablespoons of Maizena (cornflour) into 2 cups of cold water. Add the dissolved Maizena to the soup pot and bring to a boil until thickened. Add the chicken and blend again almost shredding the chicken but still seeing there is chicken in the soup. Add cream-style sweetcorn and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato soup with a bite

1 can divine tomato soup

2 cans water

1 can chopped curried/Mexican flavoured tomatoes

1 packet Imana tomato soup (60g)

1 can coconut cream/milk (485 g)

1 handful (about 30g fresh basil)

Salt and pepper to taste


Place all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add basil, blend until smooth.

Allow to simmer for 20 minutes on low then switch off heat and allow to absorb all the lovely flavours of the basil. Reheat when ready to serve.

Pea soup

1kg frozen peas

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tsp curry powder

2 cups vegetable broth (2 vegetable cubes dissolved in 2 cups boiling water)

A handful of mint (30g)

1 cup almond milk/coconut milk or dairy cream (if you’re going the milk route, decorate with grated strong cheese like feta, parmesan, or crumble a little blue cheese on top of the soup.)


Place peas, garlic, curry powder, and vegetable broth into soup pot and boil. Add milk and mint, bring to a boil and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4 ingredient “as simple as that” crispy sour bread dough

Dissolve 1 sachet of rapid rising yeast in 2 cups of warm water. Place 3 cups of bread or cake flour one at a time into water, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Finally, add 1½ tsp salt and continue to mix until smooth. Remember that this is a very loose, wet dough, so don’t add any more flour. Cover with cling wrap or place bowl into a large plastic bag. Place in fridge for 1 to 3 days – the flavour intensifies with time. It should go bubbly. If you really want it urgently, leave it in a warm place for two hours, then bake as below. When ready to bake, place dutch oven or cast iron pot with a lid into the oven and preheat the oven with the pot on 230°C for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle some flour (about 1½ tbls) onto a piece of baking paper which can be bigger than the pot so that it overlaps.

Place or rather pour the dough onto the lightly flour-dusted paper and fold it over itself 4 times, by lifting the paper on all sides or with a bread scraper. Remove the pot from the oven with thick oven gloves as the pot is very hot. Place the dough, still on the paper, into the pot and bake on 230 for 30 minutes, covered. Remove lid and bake until golden brown and crispy, then remove from oven (about 12 to 15 minutes).

I doubled up on the recipe and divided the dough in two and left one batch in the fridge for 24 hours and the other 48. I then started a rotation system so that I always had a batch of dough in my fridge or on my table, which is a real win during lockdown. If you don’t have a le creuset pot or similar heavy-based cast iron pot, then you can use a bread tin or cake tin and place a small ovenproof bowl filled with water into the oven. The heavy-based pots create their own steam with their lids on and don’t need the bowl of water.

Enjoy with lashings of butter!

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