Spiced Pumpkin, Turmeric and Coconut Soup

Time to spice things up, A twist on an old classic soup. If you like Thai flavours of ginger, coconut cream and coriander well this is a simple yet tasty dish to help change-up the everyday pumpkin soup recipe.


Spiced Pumpkin, Turmeric and Coconut Soup


20g butter

1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, seed removed and diced

1 potato, peeled and diced

1 leek white part sliced

1 tbsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp cinnamon

1 L  vegetable stock

1/2 cup coconut cream

salt and pepper

Fresh coriander to garnish


  1. In a large stock pot melt butter on medium/high heat, add leek and saute for 2-3 mins until softened.
  2. Add potato and pumpkin and spices, toss through vegetables
  3. Add stock and bring to the boil
  4. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20-30mins until pumpkin is soft
  5. Blitz soup with a stick blender or in a food processor to make a smooth puree
  6. Place back in the pot and add coconut cream and season with salt and pepper
  7. Reheat the soup then serve with some fresh coriander




Green Split Pea & Ham Soup

Another Winter soup recipe for you, this one I have to admit isn’t one I’ve grown up eating. I am more used to the Italian chunky soups like minestrone but I thought I would give this soup a go and see what I thought. One thing I first learnt was it was made with split peas not green peas. While you can see recipes that use green peas traditionally it’s actually split peas.  It also uses ham hock to flavour the soup then shred the meat and add to the soup. I have to say it wasn’t one of my favourite soups ever but a nice change nevertheless.



Split Pea & Ham Soup


500g green split peas

1 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 onion, diced

2 carrots,  diced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 bay leaf

sprigs of thyme

1 smoked ham hock

1L (4 cups) chicken stock

1L (4 cups) water

salt and pepper


  1. Rinse split peas under cold water
  2. Heat oil in a large pot on high heat, add oil, onion and garlic cook for  mins until onions soften.
  3. Add all other ingredients with the whole ham hock into the pot cover and simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours or until thickened and split peas are tender
  4. Discard bay leaf. Remove ham hock take off the skin and any excess fat.
  5. Shred the meat off the bone and set aside
  6. Puree soup with a stick blender or in a blender
  7. Add the shredded ham back to the soup and season with salt and pepper






Hello Winter…Cauliflower, Leek & Watercress Soup

Hello Winter… It is the first day of Winter in Australia and it has definitely shown up ready for the party. It was a crisp chilly morning on the GC. The kids all slept in late (which never happens) making us rush for the school drop off creating plenty of hysteria in the house. Welcome Winter I can not wait! (slight sarcasm)

After visiting my sister in the vibrant city of Melbourne I can’t complain much they have been putting up with cooler weather for months now. I came back gaining a better understanding on how weather affects places differently and how it affects your city socially. We all know that in our warm climate here in Queensland we don’t really have respect for the cold and can’t cope with a day under 20’C. It is apparent that we all go into hibernation mode as soon as winter peaks it head out.

This being said I can’t say the same for Melburnians. May it be that they are acclimatized being used to their radical weather patterns, the city’s bustling cafe culture, the sporting and arts mecca that draws people out or just a ‘get on with it’ attitude the people of this unpredictable inner city obtain. They still tend to eat out, lunch and brunch as much as the summer even in the coldest of days.

Melbourne Autumn Day in Thornbury

Maybe it is the fact we are so spoilt with warm weather majority of the year that we take advantage of the cool weather to recluse indoors and have a break from the dining and party scene or  our bodies are just not equipped to tolerate the chilly weather, heaven forbid we wear a coat or jacket when we’re out and about.

A major factor would be that the city of Melbourne is known for it and have made it work for them. Heating and double brick cafes are a must and making it a  comfortable environment. Alfresco dining was once an only option on the Gold Coast, restaurants and cafes soon realising we don’t always have the warm sunny days like in the past decades and have been slowly changing it’s scene over the years offering more alternative styles of dining. While roof top bars, hip beachside cafes are perfect in the heat of Summer, indoor social spaces and quaint small bars and eateries are popping up all over the coast which makes winter socializing a much more enjoyable experience.

Autumn in Northcote, Melbourne

Our Winters are only short-lived and we may not have the array of contemporary dining  and entertainment like those Melburnians but for most that live here would agree our lifestyle is the sunshine and we have to be pretty grateful for that.

Home cooked meals and home entertaining are more what we crave at the moment  and why not enjoy the comfort of our home, it is a great excuse to brush up on your cooking skills and share it with loved ones.

Cauliflower, Leek & Watercress Soup

I came back feeling like soups, soups and more soups. It is my go to in cooler weather apologies if  you see an abundance of soup recipes lately and to come I just can’t help myself. Here is one soup recipe that is bound to warm your belly up and satisfy those homecooking feelings, also with the combination creamy cauliflower and the pepperiness of watercress that go so nicely together. It is not too heavy making it a great starter or a light meal on its own with some warm crusty bread. If you don’t have watercress at home you can leave it out or use some fresh parsley but it really does taste better with watercress. It can be easily found in the fresh herb section at the supermarket.

Hope you enjoy


Cauliflower, Leek & Watercress Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Print


1 small cauliflower (500g) cut into florets

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped

1 leek, white part only thinly sliced

20g butter

3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)

3 cups milk

salt and pepper

1/2 cup watercress leaves plus extra for garnish


  1. Heat a large pot on high heat, melt butter and add leek. Cook for 2-3 mins until softened
  2. Add the cauliflower and potato to the pot followed by stock and milk
  3. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 mins cauliflower should be soft.
  4. Take off the heat, Add the watercress leaves and blitz with a hand-held blender till smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with extra watercress leaves and cracker pepper and warm crunchy sourdough bread.

Cauliflower, Leek & Watercress Soup

Italian Minestrone with Quinoa & Crispy Pancetta


It is a dreary day here today wet, cold and miserable. Not the most motivating weather for a Monday. Winter is making a sneak preview and reality is checking in that we actually do get cooler weather here on the Gold Coast. Of course nothing to get too distressed about compared to the Southern Australian states and well overseas snowy climates, but we do still get a winter even if the cooler weather is only for a very short time. I rather like it actually, it makes for a nice change to the sticky, hot humid days that engross us for the majority of the year. Who’s complaining we have it pretty darn good so the few months of chilly nights we can totally deal with. Also makes dinner time more cosy and enjoyable too in my opinion. Nourishing  wholesome soups packed with veg and flavour I just can’t get enough of which are rather easy to make as well.


Minestrone is a hearty Italian classic soup which I have been making since I first started learning to cook. As has my mother  and her mother before that. It is a basic winter staple in our home something we have all grown up on. Except now I add the goodness of quinoa to the tomato vegetable broth which makes this soup even more nutritious than before and a gluten-free option. The pancetta gives the dish an extra salty depth of flavour which I quite like but you can always leave it out to make this a vegan/vegetarian meal. Serve with some warm crusty bread and a glass of red to make it a full authentic Italian meal.

Italian Minestrone with Quinoa & Crispy Pancetta

A traditional Italian Soup with the added goodness of Quinoa


2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, diced

1/2 bunch cavolo nero, (Tuscan kale) finely sliced

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp dried oregano

salt and pepper

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 cup red wine

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1/3 cup tri-colour quinoa, rinsed

400g tin four bean mix or borlotti beans, drained and washed

100-120g pancetta, chopped


  1. In a large stock pot heat oil on high heat. Add chopped pancetta and cook for 2-3 mins until just crispy. Remove from pan and a side
  2. Add onion, garlic and saute for 1-2 mins until softened. Add carrot, celery, sweet potato, zucchini, cavolo nero, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper to taste and half the pancetta to the pot. Saute for 3-4 mins stirring continuously until vegetables are just beginning to soften
  3. Add stock, wine and tin tomatoes stir to combine. Bring to the boil then add rinsed quinoa. Turn heat down low to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add beans cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve soup topped with the remaining pancetta, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, extra cracked pepper and some warm crusty bread rolls. If you like some heat I added some chilli salt also.








Japanese Miso Soup With Vegetable Dumplings

Japanese food has come a long way in western countries with Japanese, sushi and teppanyaki restaurants popping up in nearly every neighbourhood. With sushi readily available makes a  quick grab and go lunch. Japanese ramen noodle bars are also becoming a popular pit stop for healthy lunches. Japanese food said to be one of the healthiest in the world  along with their healthy lifestyle, no wonder we are finally catching on to their secrets of longevity.

Miso is made from fermented soybeans, is low in fat and carries a long list of health benefits including:

  •  Aiding of digestion
  • Contains high levels of antioxidants
  • Strengthens blood quality
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Strengthens immunity
  • Is a complete protein
  • Reduces the risks of some cancers such as breast, colon, prostate and lung

Miso soup is the most popular way in which it is used with miso paste as the main ingredient. You can buy white or red miso paste in your asian section of the supermarket. It is also very quick to make and  versatile, adding which ever asian vegetables, noodles, meats, dumplings you like.

I’ve shared my favourite recipe with vegetable dumplings which can also be bought frozen in the supermarket or asian grocers. You can always make your own which I like to do sometimes but other times if I am in a hurry I have some stocked in the freezer for super quick dinners. We often eat Japanese food at home as the kids also love it. This healthy soup makes for a happy mum and  family at meal time.

Miso Soup with Vegetable Dumplings

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10-15mins
  • Print


2L water

3 tbsp white miso paste

1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce

1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1-2 fresh long chillis sliced (optional)

1 cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms or dried

500g frozen vegetable dumplings (you can use pork if you prefer)

1 large bunch of Bok Choy (chinese greens)

2 green onions sliced diagonally

Black sesame seeds to top


  1. Place water, miso paste, soy sauce, ginger, chilli (leaving some to garnish), mushrooms in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, then immediately turn to a simmer. Simmer  for 2-3 mins.
  2. Add dumplings and simmer for 5-6mins
  3. Add Bok choy cook for 2 mins
  4. Spoon into  bowls, top with sliced green onions, extra chilli and sesame seeds

Note: You can add some chopped Nori (seaweed) sheets and cubed tofu into the miso soup in step 3.