Broth, brodo, bouillon – call it what you will; if you think it’s simply for peasants, then I’m here to inform you that you’re wrong, and are missing out on one of life’s great treasures. Made simply by simmering bones, meat and vegetables; or simply vegetables alone in water, it forms a base to a many great recipes – soups, gravies, and sauces. When made with care, it alone can make a thoroughly enjoyable and health-giving meal – one that’s also nurturing as it can help overcome tiredness, stress; and aches and pains from the cold.

Making a Basic Vegetable Stock

A very basic vegetable broth can be made by roughly chopping onions, celery, carrots, parsley and thyme into chunks and then adding a few bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic (6-8 cloves) and salt – the mix of ingredients can be balanced as you please. Or simply build the broth around whatever vegetable left overs you may have, and/or what you my find in the home garden. A great tip is to look out for vegetables that are a little less popular in your supermarket, therefore selling at a lower price.

Heat a table spoon of olive or sunflower oil in a soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, scallions, garlic and parsley and bay leaves if you have them. Cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently to release the aromatics. Then add other ingredients – these could also be foraged mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus ends, corn cobs, fennel stalks, capsicum trimmings, pea pods, potato peelings, plus other herbs – you get the idea! Add a large volume of water, perhaps 2 litres, bring to the boil, turn the heat down and allow the vegetables to slowly simmer for one hour. Cool slightly before serving.

For those looking for a more gourmet option, our vegetable broth recipe (below), with chilli, mushrooms and wakame seaweed, we feel is a touch more yummy than the average. Packing a punch with a umami hit from additions of shiitake mushrooms and the dried wakame, it’s a fantastic recipe for vegetarians and vegans. We’ve paired this with a simple mix of fresh grated horseradish and crème fraîche, topped on slices of homemade Russian black bread. A recipes for the bread will follow – so make sure your visit our website, or download our iOS or Android app; or follow our Apple News Channel to see recipe updates.

Given the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s rapidly becoming apparent that money saving recipes are going to help us all over the coming months. In the last few days we’ve put together a collection of recipes at to help many get a head start on feeding families extremely well, for less money.

Over the coming weeks and months, Essentials aims to continue with clever food strategies, supportive ideas to share, and additionally we’ve now opened up our website and iOS app Essentials Magazine Australia allowing FREE subscription. To install the iOS app, visit the App Store today!

Vegetable Broth with fresh horseradish crème fraîche and Russian black bread

Vegetable Broth with Fresh Horseradish Crème Fraîche and Russian Black Bread

Vegetable Broth

2½ litres water
1 tbsp Australian extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb, smashed
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
1 knob of ginger, roughly chopped
1 cup kale, roughly chopped
2-3 fresh field mushrooms or button mushrooms
1⁄3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
3 cups mixed vegetables and peelings (carrot, celery, leeks)
30g dried wakame seaweed
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2cm fresh turmeric, roughly chopped


1. Place all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for approximately one hour.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

3. Carefully strain the liquid through a fine sieve, discarding the cooked vegetable matter.

To Serve

Serve the warm broth with freshly chopped chives, Russian black bread and horseradish crème fraîche (freshly grated horseradish, crème fraîche and sea salt to taste).


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