Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup

This soup in its original form was a regular feature on my Mum’s winter menu as I was growing up.

I seem to remember taking great effort to convince my younger brother that the rice vermicelli in it was dried eels brains … and for ages he believed me! Rotten sister!

It is such a comforting winter food that it is still a favourite of mine.

  • 4 large chicken thighs, very finely diced*
  • 4 tins corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 200g rice vermicelli
  • 12 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped thyme
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp Port or coconut aminos
  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped

In a very large saucepan heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until the onions are golden.

Add in the chicken* and season with pepper, thyme and port. Cook stirring until lightly browned

Add in the stock, stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, take 2 of the tins of corn and place them in the food processor. Process until it fairly smooth. (You can just used 2 tins of creamed corn for ease if your diet allows, but the ‘extras’ in tins of creamed corn do not agree with Ellie).

Add in the now creamed corn and the whole kernels of corn and stir well. Add in the broccoli here.

Break up the rice vermicelli and add to the soup.

Heat until noodles are soft and serve.



This makes a very large quantity – love my giant 12L saucepan!! Go with a half batch if your saucepan isn’t quite so big!

Hello lunch for the next month!!
Hello lunch for the next month!!

Soup freezes well and keeps in the fridge for about 4 or 5 days.

*If you have some left over roast chicken it works really well here in place if the chicken thigh, just chop it and add it in at the same time as the corn and broccoli.


Beef, barley and lentil stew

I love winter time – the cold, grey days give me energy … I know, I’m strange!

One of the things I love is making delicious comfort food that warms and fills you up. I love that I can cook huge quantities of soups, curries, stews and casseroles that are packed with veggies and freeze them for easy meals. This is one of those meals.

It is quick and easy to make (about 10 minutes to start and another 5 later), is really cheap – about $8 for the entire 6L pot and the left overs freeze and defrost really well.

  • 800g beef soup bones20140608_084430
  • 3-4 carrots, diced (skin on is fine)
  • 3-4 large sticks of celery, diced
  • 3 potatoes, diced (skin on too) OR 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 400g tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • approx 2L water
  • Salt to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in the slow cooker and fill with water to cover. Place lid on and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove beef bones and strip the meat. Remove sprigs of thyme. Dice the meat up and return to the pot, stirring well. Add salt to taste.

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That’s it!

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Enjoy 🙂

Chicken and rice casserole (with cream of chicken soup replacement)

I saw a meal like this on the ‘Stay at home Mum’ website and I was inspired to create something similar that was safe for our family.

The two things that most appealed to me was that it used up left overs so it was economical and that it is able to be completely prepared ahead of time so that there is no cooking required during the crazy hour 😉

The biggest issue was the dairy – clearly cream of chicken soup is a no go in our house … so I’ve made up a replacement 🙂 It is basically a flavoured white sauce.

  • 1 heaped tbsp nuttelex/vegan butter1-Blog 030
  • 1 heaped tbsp GF flour/spelt flour
  • 1.25-1.5 cups milk of choice
  • 1 tsp Massel chicken stock powder

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour.

Allow to cook out until frothy. Using a whisk, mix well and continue to mix as you gradually add the milk.

When the mix is smooth and thickening add the stock powder. Remove from the heat when it reaches the consistency of a tin of cream of chicken soup. It tastes very  creamy and ‘chickeny’.

*Update: To give this sauce an extra boost I have recently been adding about 1 cup of steamed pumpkin. Simply take about 1/2 a cup of the soup and blend it together with the pumpkin pieces, until smooth, then whisk back into the saucepan.


Now for the casserole.

  • 3 cups finely chopped veggies (i used 1 cup each of carrots, peas and corn)
  • 2 cups finely chopped chicken (good way to use up chook left overs!)
  • 1 quantity chicken soup replacement (as above)
  • 1 cups hot chicken stock (use Massel for an instant variety)
  • 1.5 cups rice (I use basmati or brown rice)
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cornflake crumbs/gf breadcrumbs

Cook the rice in a large saucepan – don’t let it get too soft as it still has more time in the oven.

Drain the rice and return it to the saucepan.

Add the veggies and chicken to the rice and stir to combine. Leave to the side.

Leave the soup replacement in the saucepan where it was made, return it to a low heat and gradually add the chicken stock, whisking to keep it smooth. Allow to thicken a little, constantly stirring for a couple of minutes.

Pour the stock and soup mix in to the rice saucepan and combine well.

Pour the casserole in to a baking dish.

Melt the butter in a separate dish, add the crumbs and yeast and mix until well combined and turned into a fine crumb.

Sprinkle crumb mix over casserole.


Bake in a preheated moderate oven until topping is golden and bubbling – about 35mins.

Serves about 8 and freezes well.

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It was very well received in our house. Peter and I enjoyed it, Ellie polished off the whole bowl, Will had seconds and thirds and even Harry ate it with a bit of convincing (silly Mummy didn’t hide the yucky peas ;)).

This is a pretty flexible dish. You can easily make it a vegan/vegetarian dish by removing the chicken. You could also add any veggies or left over meat you have, or even replace the rice with pasta.


Pea and Ham soup

This is one of my favourite winter soups. I make a huge batch of it, eat it for dinner, then freeze some and eat the leftovers for days afterwards for lunch. Yum!

It is a very imprecise recipe but very forgiving!

Not a nice job, but there is plenty of meat on the hock.
Not a nice job, but there is plenty of meat on the hock.
  • 1 ham hock (about 800g)
  • 3-4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, chopped, skin on is fine (OR 1 large sweet potato, peeled)
  • 2 cups of dry soup mix (see below)
  • approx 2 L water

The dry soup mix is one I make up in bulk at the start of winter. It is made up of  1 quarter each of green, red and yellow dried spilt peas and 1/4 barley. It is actually the background picture for our blog 🙂

Place the ham hock in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add in the veggies and the soup mix.

Add water to cover the hock and to the capacity of the slow cooker.

Cover with lid and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Then (this is the bit that almost makes me go vegetarian each time I do it!), remove ham hock from the pot and replace lid.

Pull ham off the bone and finely chop.

Return to the soup, stir well and cook on low for a further 1-2 hours.

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You made want to add salt depending on the hock you have used (some are less salty than others).

Enjoy 🙂

Mum’s minestrone

We have just returned home from an 8 day family camping trip through the interior of Australia. It was just amazing …. but after 8 days of camping food I have been hanging out for some serious serves of veggies!

And since the weather is finally getting a little cooler, soups are back on the menu- Hooray!

This is my mum’s minestrone, the one that I have eaten since childhood and I still adore it … I am just sad that I can no longer sprinkle it with cheese while it’s hot!

  • 1tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 4 rashers of short cut bacon, diced1-Blog 005
  • 10 cups Masssel chicken stock made with boiling water
  • 4 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 4 carrots, finely sliced
  • 2 tins corn kernels
  • 2 tins kidney beans
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, finely diced (or 2 tins diced tomatoes)
  • spiral pasta of choice (we use a GF one)
  • 2tsp fresh ‘Italian’ herbs*, finely chopped

* I use whatever is growing in my garden; rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley etc. You could also use a tsp of a dried Italian herb mix.

Heat oil in the base of a large saucepan (I am luck enough to own an 11L saucepan so I love making a huge batches) and fry the onion and bacon.

Add the herbs.

Add the stock and bring to the boil

Add the veggies and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add a few handfuls of pasta and cook until it is soft.

Serve hot (and sprinkle it with grated cheese if you can!).

This makes enough for about 10-12 serves and keeps in the fridge for about a week.

This one can easily be made vegan by removing the bacon

If you make huge batches of soup like I do, it’s helpful to refrigerate them individually. If you want to freeze, it is best to stop the recipe before you add the pasta as it tends to absorb too much water and get quite soggy on defrosting. Just add the pasta part when reheating.

Enjoy 🙂

Potato and Leek Soup

Life has been hectic lately – my Nan died and we traveled to NSW for the funeral and to spend time with our wonderful family and then we had to pack our house up to move the week later and now we are in the midst of unpacking boxes galore but now that the computer is up and running I thought I’d get one post out into the Itchin’ Kitchen.

Leaving the house we were in was a bit sad because it had an awesome vegetable patch set up – three massive patches that we filled with fabulous dirt and grew fabulous vegies and fruit. Now all we have to show for it are two pots of herbs, one pot of strawberries and a fridge drawer full of leeks. But there’s hope for this new garden (it can’t really get any worse – very much unloved with its last tenants!!) and we are looking forward to doing something with it. But back on topic – eating up all the vegetables before we left meant finding some recipes and I had all the fresh produce in this potato and leek soup recipe in my garden. I also liked that you left the skin on the potatoes because then I didn’t have to peel!

Serves 2 adults, 2 children with enough left over for 2-3 lunch servings.

6 medium sized potatoes, washed and diced
2 leeks, rinsed and thinly sliced – use quite a lot of the green as well as the white.
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
splosh of olive oil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable – I used Massel chicken stock powder and water but it would be a lot better if I’d had some homemade in the freezer)
2 cups water
1 tsp salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup regular soy milk

Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the leeks for a few minutes. Add the potatoes, onion and garlic and keep stirring so they don’t stick. Add the stock, water, salt and herbs. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and leave for around 20mins or until the potatoes are soft. Add pepper to taste.

Blend with your stick blender and then stir in the soy milk (I suppose you could use rice milk but it might not be as creamy, and of course you could add regular cream or milk instead).

Verdict at my place – 2 ‘yum let’s have it for lunch tomorrow’ (and we did), 1 ‘it was ok’ and 1 ‘never again thanks Mum’

This recipe was adapted from this blog – she has a few vegan recipes that look yummy and her version of the soup might be even yummier!