Category Archives: Soups

A Little Vietnamese in Townsville


Pho Fridays

Today was Pho Day. My son KJ and I have taken to grabbing  takeaway Pho every couple of Fridays and sitting down for lunch at home.  We have had a small Vietnamese cafe set up just down the road from home,  Vietnamese Corner and what is even better is that the owners have an understanding of gluten and what meals they can make gluten free. Pho itself is gluten free but the hoisin sauce given as a small side is not.  Just make sure you let them know that the meal needs to be gluten free and they will make you aware of any side sauces that contain gluten.

And if you want to venture past Pho, then there are several other meals that will also tempt gluten free-ers. Check out their list of Gluten Free Meals.

I look forward to my Pho Fridays.


Coconut Chicken Soup

Coconut Chicken Soup - Copy.JPG


5 cups chicken stock

400 ml can coconut milk

1.5 cm fresh ginger sliced

1 small red chilli sliced, deseeded  (extra for garnish)

125 ml rice vermicelli noodles

400 g chicken breast fillet, sliced thinly

1 bunch pak choy, steams separated, rinsed, slice into strips

2 limes, halved, to serve

Fish sauce (optional) to serve


In a large saucepan combine stock, coconut milk, ginger and chilli.

Partially cover and bring to a simmer over medium – low heat.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove ginger and chilli with slotted spoon.

Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Stand for 5 minutes then drain.

Add chicken to soup and bring back to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered for 3 minutes.

Add pak choy to soup and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes or until just tender.

Divide noodles among bowls. Ladle over soup.  Serve with extra chilli, lime and fish sauce.

( – from their Magazine)

Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup




A recipe from Road Ahead, our state’s motor vehicle club’s magazine and submitted by Michael’s Oriental, this soup is simple with lots of flavour.

Also perfect without the egg, should family members prefer it this way.

An ideal gluten free easy meal for gluten free uni students or those on a tight budget.

Ingredients (for 1 serving)

1 tablespoon olive oil

40 g boneless skinless chicken breast

1 tablespoon corn flour

200  ml chicken stock (Campbell’s is GF)

100 g sweet corn

1 egg

½ teaspoon sesame oil (or a splash if you find the taste a little strong)



Heat oil in a deep pan and gently cook the chicken.

Mix the cornflour with a little of the chicken stock in a cup before adding to pan with remaining stock and sweet corn.

Bring to boil, stirring continuously and simmer for 3 minutes.

In a  small bowl, beat the egg then slowly pour into the pan and stir.

Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to bowl and serve.



Avia’s Bean Soup

Avias Bean Soup (1)

My five year old granddaughter is visiting for a few days and so I am busy preparing some of her favourites:

ricotta gnocchi, riche quiches, banana muffins and Avia’s Bean Soup.

The better prepared my meals are, the more time I have with my granddaughter.

Avia’s Bean Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1 leek, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

¼ cup tomato paste

200 g speck, finely sliced

2 chorizo, sliced

6 cups chicken stock

1 – 2 cups water

1 x 420 g cans cannellini beans, drained

100 g sweet potato, finely diced or shredded

200 g green cabbage, finely shredded

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large stockpot.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, leek and sweet potato.  Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Add paste and stir for 1 minute.

Add speck, chorizo, stock and enough water to cover the ingredients.

Bring to boil, cover and simmer stirring occasionally for about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Add  beans and cabbage.  Cook stirring for about 5 minutes or until cabbage is wilted.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty gluten free bread.

Nonna’s Soup

Last Tuesday was a ‘bitterly’ cold winter’s day in the tropical north : 16 – 19 C. Actually, it was an upside down day with 19C being registered at 1am and 16C chilling the bones at 1pm.

Nonnas Soup

In other words, a perfect soup day.  This soup takes me back to my childhood and the smells of my nonna’s kitchen. A simple soup in some respects but full of flavour.

Later in my life, I made sense of this soup in a cultural and historical context.  A hundred years ago in rural Europe, farmers cooked and ate by the seasons and learnt to make a meagre meal stretch further. Meat was not everyday fare and what little a family had, was always made to go a long way. My Catalan grandmother spoke  of the daily vegetable soup and the 1 sardine, 10 to 12 cm long which would feed the family. The sardine was cut into three pieces: the man got the middle section, the woman got the head and the children took it in turns to eat the tail each day. To a child, “your day” must have been a little more than exciting.

The meat in my nonna’s  soup is used to give a hearty flavour to the soup. Remove the meat, shred it and return it to the soup or  remove it and assemble it as part of the piatto secondo: meat and salad. My mum says that sometimes nonna would mince the meat and make it into rissoles.

Similarly, the Catalans have an Escudella: a soup made with a pilota, a large meatball that is cooked within the soup and then removed and served separately.

This soup needs time.

Don’t rush it.

Matilde’s Soup


800g – 1 kg gravy beef or shin

1 stick celery, diced finely

1 tin tomatoes, diced

1 medium onion, diced finely

2 medium potatoes, grated

2 medium carrots, grated

2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 cup green beans

2 tablespoons rice


1/2 red onion finely diced

handful of parsley chopped

salt and pepper to taste

oil and vinegar to taste

salad greens


In a large saucepan, place 6 – 8 cups of water.  Bring to the boil and then add the meat.  Boil for 5 minutes and skim the froth that comes to the surface of the water.

Add all the vegetables, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 2 1/2 – 3 hours.  Skim any oil/fat that comes to the surface during this time.  In the last 10 minutes, add the rice.

Remove beef from soup.  Remove any threads of fat from the meat. Most will have melted during the cooking process but some outer layers need removing.  With two forks separate the beef into its strands.

Return some of the meat to the soup and serve.

For second course, place beef in a bowl with onion, parsley, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar.  Stir to allow meat to soak up the seasoning flavours.  Serve the beef with a garden green salad.

Spiced Rice and Chickpea Soup

A favourite winter warmer or perfect for a light weekend meal.


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 brown onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 cup arborio rice

2 x 400 g cans crushed tomatoes

1.5 litres gluten free chicken stock

1 x 400 g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained


1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat then add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

2.  Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and cook for a further minute.

3. Add the rice, tomatoes an stock and cook for 25 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

4. Add the chickpeas and cook for 1 minute or until heated through.

5. Serve.