Warming winter soups
Nothing warms in winter like a steaming bowl of soup. And the best thing for moms is that it's so easy to extract a nutritious purée from the ingredients before it becomes a yummy meal for the family

Irish beef and barley soup


  • 500 g stewing beef, cut into cubes
  • 1½ litres water or beef stock
  • ½ cup split peas, precooked
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 250g baby potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 turnip, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 beef stock cube (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Put all the ingredients (except beef stock cube, salt & pepper) into a large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. If you have a pressure cooker, put all the ingredients into that, bring up to pressure and cook for ½ hour.
  2. Take out some vegetables (and a little meat if your baby is older than 9 months) and purée it, using some of the liquid to get it to the desired consistency.
  3. Now add the beef stock cube (if using) to the remaining soup, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

R6 per portion


If you have a food processor with a slicing disc, you can use it to prepare all the vegetables for this
soup. You could also use 1 cup of soup mix instead of the split peas and pearl barley.

Cauliflower & pear soup


  • 1 head (500g) cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 pears, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250ml cream
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Make the purée first by steaming the cauliflower and pears together in a steaming basket over a little boiling water (or use an electric steamer).
  2. Purée the cauliflower and pears together using a little of the cooking liquid to get a smooth consistency.
  3. Dish a portion for your baby and set aside the rest for the soup.
  4. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the leeks over medium heat until golden.
  5. Add the rest of the purée after you’ve taken out your baby’s portion, then stir in the chicken stock and cream. Heat through (but do not bring to the boil), season with salt & pepper to taste and serve.

R3.15 per portion

Spinach, sweet potato & mascarpone soup


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 (250g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 200g spinach (fresh), washed
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tub mascarpone or low-fat cream cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until light golden. Add the sweet potato and fry gently for a few minutes.
  2. Add half the spinach and the vegetable stock. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove a portion of spinach and sweet potato for your baby and blend to a purée using some of the liquid if necessary. Stir in a teaspoon of the mascarpone or cream cheese if your baby is older than 9 months.
  4. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender (or leave it in the pot and use a stick blender), add the rest of the spinach and blend until smooth.
  5. Stir in the mascarpone or cream cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

R4.50 per portion


Adding half the (uncooked) spinach at the end ensures your soup has a vibrant green colour and retains so much more of the nutrients than cooking it does.

Shopping list


  • 500g stewing beef


  • 250ml cream
  • 1 tub (250ml) mascarpone or lowfat cream cheese


  • 2 onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 pears
  • 250g baby potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 200g spinach leaves


  • 1 litre chicken stock (or buy cubes or powder)
  • 1 beef stock cube (optional)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (or buy cubes or powder)
  • ½ cup split peas
  • ½ cup pearl barley

Check your store cupboard for:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Bay leaves

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