Slow Cooked Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup


Nanny’s Soup

There are few greater feelings for a mother than having dinner on at 9.30am – knowing that you won’t have to pull a rabbit out of a hat later on when everyone is tired and cranky. Better still, is when dinner is this magical healing soup.
It’s based on the delicious soup my mum made us every winter to fill our bellies and ward away the coughs and colds. Which we all have here at the moment – terrible coughs, aches, fevers and chills. It’s rough taking care of sick kids when you’re delirious with fever yourself…
Anyway, hopefully this soup will help return us to good health. (And hurry up Spring!)
It’s cheap, it’s easy and utterly delicious. I make a huge batch so that I can freeze half.
Nanny adds a packet of chicken noodle soup to hers at the end for a bit of extra flavour but as we like to avoid additives I add half a cup of risoni, some mixed dried herbs and a good pinch of sea salt instead.

Here’s How:

In a slow cooker (or large stock pot if making in the stove top)


At least 500 g of a cheap cut of beef – I used 4 pieces of Osso bucco this time as I like to get all those healing minerals from the bones and marrow but I’ve also used gravy beef, casserole/chuck steak etc…
1.5 cup soup mix (Barley, split peas etc…)
1 diced onion
2-3 minced/finely chopped garlic cloves
2 carrots diced, chopped or grated
2 celery sticks, chopped
Optional (1 grated parsnip)
2 litres stock
Top up with 1 litre of water
Good pinch of salt and cracked pepper
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1/2 cup risoni

Cook on low for 8 hours
After 4 hours, remove meat and cut into bite size pieces, return bones and all to the pot.
Add risoni 1 hour before serving.



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“Tum Yum Soup” – Gut Healing Chicken Soup

Despite my best efforts to boost our immunity, with two little ones at childcare, kinder, playgroup etc… Lately, we’ve had a rough run of catching nasty coughs, colds and tummy bugs. The weather here isn’t doing us any favours either. The transition so far from winter to spring has bought with it many wild and blustery winds, heavy rains and even hail. This of course, has resulted in many days trapped indoors. That’s not fun for anyone really…
Regardless, I’m determined to get us to a place of good health, so I’m upping the veggies, the probiotics and I’m bringing in the big guns… Chicken Soup!
Chicken soup with its nourishing vitamins, minerals, fats and acids has long been hailed a miraculous natural remedy for boosting immune health and curing all sorts of common ills. As well as that, it’s easy to digest and so flavoursome and comforting.
This soup is cooked using ‘lovely legs’ or chicken thighs on the bone. It is simmered slowly in the oven for up to 3 hours, using a cast iron pot. You can use a large casserole dish for this or if you prefer to use a stove top, bring it to a boil, and simmer the soup covered on a low to medium heat for up to two hours. You’ll know it’s ready as the chicken will start falling succulently from the bones. If you’re organised, you could also cook this in a slow cooker (crockpot) on low for 6 hours.



12 chicken thighs on the bone (skinless)

2 leeks, sliced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 parsnip, diced

Half a butternut pumpkin, roughly chopped

2 zucchinis, roughly chopped (the pumpkin and zucchini will cook faster than the other veg so I chop them a bit larger)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced

1 inch knob of ginger, finely chopped or grated

4 cups good quality chicken stock preferably homemade

2 tsp Dried herbs such as basil, thyme, oregano, sage etc…

2 tsp tamari (or soy) sauce*

2 tsp raw local honey*

Fresh herbs to serve

A Crack or 2 of good quality salt and black pepper. (If using the tamari or soy, go easy on the salt!)

* These ingredients are optional but I like the subtle sweet and salty layer they give the soup. They are also flavours my children are fond of so i know this will encourage them to slurp up all those yummy veggies in the soup.



* Preheat the oven to 200dc (390 DF)

* Place all ingredients in a large cast iron pot making sure all ingredients are covered by the stock. (If not, top up with cold water)

* Cook at 200dc (390) for 1 hour and stir.

* Reduce oven temp to 160 dc (320df) and cook for a further 2 hours until chicken falls easily from the bone.

* Serve either with whole chicken pieces or shred meat from bones in advance with a fork.

* Scatter with fresh herbs (I used chives)


Enjoy the goodness 🙂

Beautiful Bone Broth


Dear lovely Vegan friends, look away now.

I’ve been making my own nourishing, flavour packed stock for about a year now and as well as being so good for us, it adds such a depth of flavour to so many meals. Well, actually, I’ve recently learned that what I’ve been making is in fact broth not stock. The difference apparently being that meat stock is the product of slow cooking pieces of meat (such as a whole chicken) in water flavoured with some veggies, herbs, salt and pepper, while bone broth is as it sounds, a flavoursome broth made from roasted bones, slow cooked in water, also flavoured by veggies, herbs, salt and pepper.
Both are delicious and full of healthful gut healing and immune boosting properties. As the meat or bones are cooked, their nutrients are slowly released into the water – vitamins (particularly the B vitamins) amino acids, nourishing fats and minerals. Meats cooked in water are a good choice for people with digestive issues as they are easier to digest than roasted, grilled etc…
This is hardly a new concept or surprising info. What’s the first thing people crave when they are sick? A comforting bowl of soup. One of the oldest, most popular home remedies for healing all ailments and ills, is a hearty chicken soup.
For more information about the healing benefits of Broth/stock I highly recommend checking out “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” (GAPS) by Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride.
Now, lets get down to business and make some broth!
I should add, for the record, that making broth/stock is so easy (especially if you have a slow cooker) and costs basically nothing. You’ll wonder why you ever bothered with cubes and cartons.



* 2 carrots, halved

* an onion, quartered

* 1-2 celery sticks, halved

* any other vegetable scraps you have or those that are looking tired in your crisper.

Note: Throughout the week as I cook, I collect things like celery tops, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, kale and silver beet stalks and stems and store either in the fridge or freezer to add to the stock.

* 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

* 1 teaspoon good quality salt (pink Himalayan or Murray river if in Australia)

* 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

* 2-3 bay leaves

* 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs


* And most importantly, BONES!

It is important that your bones come from healthy free range animals – apart from the obvious ethical issues – you’re not going to get a lot of nutrition from a malnourished factory famed animal.
Until recently, most of my stock was made from chicken (bones) as it was the easiest free range animal to source locally. Drumsticks in particular are always a hit with my kids. They’re cheap, easy to cook and the meat falls easily away from the bone. When I’m making stock, I usually request that the meat is cut away from the bone rather than chewed and sucked dry! Mind you, after being re-roasted at a high temp in the oven and then slow cooked for 24 hours, I’m pretty sure that any bacteria from our eating would be well and truly killed.
Recently, good old social media put me back in touch with an old school friend who shares similar concerns and ideas around food and nutrition. She put me onto a local farm who deliver to my door, delicious bulk orders of beef and lamb from ethically farmed, grass fed animals. Check out I also received a huge box of bones with my order for free. Some went to the dogs of friends and families, some into the freezer for a later date and some straight into the oven to roast for what would be the richest, darkest, best broth I’ve ever made!



* Roast bones (in a couple of knobs of butter, coconut oil etc…) at 200 dc (390 F) for about 30 mins or until nicely browned

* place all other ingredients in the slow cooker (crockpot)

* add your roasted bones

* fill with water, making sure all ingredients are well covered

* for chicken bones – cook for 12-24 hours
* for larger beef or lamb bones – cook for 24-72 hours.

Note: The finished broth pictured (from beef bones) was cooked for 40 hours.
You may need to top the water up once or twice during cooking.


* When the broth has finished cooking, remove all ingredients from pot with a slotted spoon and discard.

* Ladle the liquid through a strainer (sieve) into a jug and pour into clean glass jars.


* fill the jars leaving about an inch from the top. (This is important as the liquid may expand while freezing and if too full, cause your jar to break.)

* store in the freezer for a least 3 months but probably a lot longer. Mine is always used by then!


Enjoy the goodness 🙂