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If only there was a smell widget.

So, food.

Seems like everyone writes about food these days. I suspect it’s related to the phases of reality TV somehow, a while back it was DIY, then Singing/dancing/performing, and now we’ve moved onto cooking. Everyone, it seems, can cook like Heston Blumenthal with a bit of effort, particularly if they shop at Coles Supermarkets. And maybe borrow their kids’ National Geographic chemistry set.

Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but I find it hard to draw comfort from a mouthful of flavoured air.

Of course, neither am I saying I’ve got anything original to contribute to the world of culinary delights, but I do make a killer vegetable soup, which I’m going to share with you. Mum used to make soup all the time in winter. It usually consisted of whatever vegetables were in still in the crisper at the end of the week, and maybe some left over meat. So this recipe is pretty much the same, except, not being as organised as mum, and tending to shop for groceries on a daily basis, I end up buying all the ingredients at the same time. So, what was a flexible, evolving soup when I was growing up, has become much the same from week to week, throughout winter. Which would be boring, if it wasn’t so DELICIOUS:

Winter Vegetable Soup To Snuggle Up With:

Finely dice 1 onion, 1 leek, garlic to taste, 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery. Gently soften in a heavy bottomed pot with a generous lug or 2 of olive oil. I also add a bit of pancetta, just to give it a bit of flavour, and a small chilli or two for extra warming-ness.

Then combine the above in a large stockpot with 1L vegetable stock (I confess, I use a tetra-pack from the supermarket – and there go my cooking credentials already), a tin of 4-bean mix, or butter beans, or whatever beans you like (I chuck the whole thing in without draining it), a tin of tomatoes, 1 swede, 1 zucchini, a handful of brussel sprouts, all chopped into manageable pieces, maybe some mushrooms (loving oyster mushrooms, at the moment), a bay leaf, and about a cup of soup mix (assume you get this outside of Oz as well, its just a pre-combined mix of lentils, split peas and barley. Oh, I also put in a bit of silverbeet as well, with the stems chopped up like the celery, and the leaves shredded fairly roughly. If it looks a bit too thick, I add a bit more water.

Then it simmers until the barley and split peas are soft, and the whole house smells like soup – i.e. Amazing.

So there you go – hardly earthshattering, but it’s my favourite thing at this time of year. I get about 10 generous serves out of it.