Seriously good – Vegetable and barley soup

Vegetable and barley soup - vegan

On the weekend my niece and I went into the city to search for some cool masks, just in case Sydney goes into a second lockdown. In the end we managed to buy one mask each at The Social Outfit in Newtown which operates on a ‘buy one, give one’ model, for every mask you buy, they give a mask to someone in need. For the rest of our mask needs we had to order online from Monster Threads because it seems like everyone in Sydney is anticipating some kind of second lockdown and are all prepping for a mask mandate.

I don’t really mind the lockdown lifestyle, though I am a bit sad that my yoga classes which were just going to resume next week may be curtailed again, but I’d rather do a lockdown in the winter rather than the summer, when it would so much harder not to be able to go for a swim or a picnic in the park. Besides, if Victoria and NSW do a proper lockdown now and go for elimination, we could enjoy a Covid free summer within the borders of Australia and New Zealand. All in all I’m quite keen to lockdown and in that spirit I’m preparing myself psychologically. Unlike the first lockdown, where I did my fair share of panic buying, I feel like I’ve got the pantry staples covered. I now buy tins of tomatoes by the tray, I just need to buy another 12 kilo bag of flour and we will be set.

This vegetable and barley soup paired with homemade peasant bread was our family’s favourite soup meal during our first lockdown and it’s been on regular rotation since. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand,  it makes enough for at least two meals and it’s seriously good. What more can you ask for in a lockdown meal? We’ve added pearl barley to the original recipe because ever since China reneged on their trade deal for Australian barley I feel we all need to step up and eat through some of our surplus.

The secret ingredient in this soup is a very small amount of curry powder. My partner, who generally makes this soup, always wants to add more curry powder but I always disagree, this is not a curry soup. The curry powder is just a subtle flavor enhancer, so dial up the chilli flakes if you need the extra spice.

Seriously good – Vegetable and barley soup

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1/3 cup of pearl barley
  • 2 cups of seasonal vegetables chopped – potato, pumpkin, cabbage, beans, corn or whatever you have on hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder – doesn’t have to be fancy Keens will do!
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 x 400g can of tomatoes crushed or finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes or to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 cups ( 1 litre of stock) We use Massel chicken style stock
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of greens – kale, silver beet, cabbage, chopped green beans or spinach
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in large pot, add onion, carrot and celery and saute until onion is softened and fragrant. Add 2 cups of season vegetable and saute for few more minutes, then add garlic, chilli flakes, dried herbs and for a few more minutes.
  2. Add can of crushed tomato with juices and simmer for a few minutes, then add stock, water, pearl barley,  bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer covered  for 25 minutes or so until vegetables and pearl barley are tender.
  4. Add greens, beans or cabbage and simmer uncovered until greens are tender.
  5. Remove bay leaves. Check for seasoning – add more salt, chilli flakes if desired.
  6. Add extra tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice and parsley.
  7. Serve with peasant bread for the ultimate lockdown dinner




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