Kathleen’s Equinox soup

Kathleen’s Equinox Soup 

Kathleen, my 98½ year mother, requested my help to produce a hearty soup for her Equinox celebrations.    I knew I could only use the vegetables from her BB, delivered the day before, nipping down to the corner shop for extras was not a possibility because she takes pride and is an expert at “making-do with what you’ve got”, a skill she learnt during the depression and WW2.  Fortunately, her pantry always has large jars of barley, pulses and dried peas “just in case” there’s nothing else!


¼ large or ½ small pumpkin.

2-4 onions and oil to fry them (vegetable or olive oil)

½ cup of barley

½ cup of yellow split peas

½ cup of red lentils – optional if you want to make an extra thick soup

Bunch of greens: Kale, silver-beet or if you have to ‘make do’, lots of parsley leaves!

Vegetable stock: Make your own stock, using the leftover pumpkin skin/seeds and the old vegetables/herbs from the previous BB etc.

Utensils: you will need 3 pans:

Pan 1:    2-3 litre pan to boil the barley and split peas

Pan 2:   2-3 litre pan for the vegetable stock (or a larger pan if you want to make extra stock).

Pan 3:    4-5 litre pan for the final product.

 In Advance:   soak the barley and split peas together, preferably over-night.

Prepare the pumpkin:  1) cut off the skin and take out the seeds, set aside to use in the stock.

2) cut the pumpkin into small pieces and/or medium sized chunks, set aside.

Pan 1:   Drain the barley and split peas (discard the water), place in the pan, cover the barley and split peas with about 2 litres of water, bring to boil, simmer for 40-50mins with lid on.

 Pan 2:   Make a vegie stock: use the skin/seeds from the pumpkin and left over vegetables from the previous BB.  Throw in left over herbs, parsley, parsley stalks, celery sticks, old carrots, bay leaves, pepper corns, onions etc.  Cover with 2-3 litres of water, bring to boil then simmer for 40-50 mins with the lid on.  Strain, discard the boiled vegetables and keep the liquid stock!

Pan 3:   Chop 2-4 onions, fry in oil till they’re golden brown then add all of the following:

  • The entire contents of pan no 1. (i.e. barley, split peas and water)
  • Only the liquid (stock) from pan 2. (For a thicker soup, add less stock)
  • The pumpkin pieces. Adjust the consistency with stock
  • Bring to boil, simmer till pumpkin is soft or cook longer if you want the pumpkin to fall apart.
  • Add your chopped or shredded greens 5 mins before serving.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Variations: add other in-season vegetables from the BB: swede, turnip, parsnip and celeriac.  Kathleen’s  favourite is to add a little coconut milk and tiny bit of chilli (Kathleen’s favourite)