Whenever winter is approaching I tend to turn into ‘crazy soup lady’; creating a soup out of whatever I find in the nooks and crannies about the kitchen. I mix a couple of ingredients together, add some stock and hey presto!

Over the Easter weekend, Melbourne weather dampened and the ‘winter warmer’ season officially began.

Here are a few of my favourites for those chilly nights:

Zucchini & Feta with Toasted Pine Nuts


*1 tbsp olive oil * 1 red onion, finely sliced*
*2 gloves garlic, finely sliced * 2 zucchini, chopped into cubes*
*750ml vegetable stock * 100g feta cheese * 3 tbs pine nuts*

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onions and allow to soften. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the chopped zucchini and season well. Place on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock and simmer mixture for 5- 10 minutes. Take pan away from the heat and pour into blender or blend using electrical hand whisk. For added indulgence, add 2 tbs of cream at this point if  desired.

Whilst soup is kept to one side, bring a shallow pan to a high heat. Add 3 tbs of pine nuts to pan, toasting lightly on each side for 2 minutes.

Pour soup into bowls. Crumble your choice of feta into the centre, add toasted pine nuts and lots of cracked blacked pepper.

Spiced Carrot & Coriander

Carrot and Corriander SoupImage via: BBC Good Food

*1 tbsp olive oil * 1 red onion, finely sliced*
*1 tsp ground coriander or coriander paste * 1 potato, chopped*
*450g carrots, peeled and chopped * 1.2l vegetable stock*
*Handful fresh coriander * Red curry paste*

Heat the oil in a large  saucepan. Add the onion,  frying lightly until softened. Stir in the ground coriander and potato, cook for 1 min. Add the carrots, stock and season then bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat.

Cover and cook for 20 mins until the carrots are tender. Pour into food processor or using a hand blender, blitz until smooth. Place a tablespoon of red curry paste into your serving bowls. Pour soup into bowls, allowing soup to cover the paste and garnish with fresh coriander.

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Crusty Bread

Cauliflower SoupImage via:

*1 tbs olive oil * 1 red onion, finely sliced*
*6 cloves garlic, unpeeled * 1.25kg cauliflower, cut into florets*
*200g desiree potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped * 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds*
*125ml milk * 120g finely grated Parmesan*

Pre-heat oven to 220°C. Place cauliflower, potatoes, onion, garlic and cumin in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss together. Roast for 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Remove 3/4 cup cauliflower from the roast vegetable mixture and reserve. Peel the garlic, then place in a food processor with remaining vegetable mixture. Add 500ml of water and process to a puree.

Transfer the pureed mixture to a large saucepan, add milk, 500ml of water and bring to the boil. Stir in the Parmesan until well combined and season.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with reserved cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

Top 5 Soup Spots in Melbourne

1. Green Refectory, Sydney Road, Brunswick

2.Vegie Bar, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

3. Wat Da Pho, Clarendon Street, South Melbourne

4. Famish’d, Little Collins St, CBD

5. Cafe Lua, Elgin Street, Carlton