Our stomachs were never meant to take the abuse of Chinese New Year feasting. I have to admit that it’s entirely self-inflicted, but it’s what we do. We bond over food.

Tonight, after three full days of feasting – not including the week or so of constant snacking on pineapple tarts, kueh lapis, and assorted other cookies (I so need to intensify my exercise regime now!) – I’m finally rid of the heartburn.  I’d decided we should have something simple for dinner this evening, something to calm the tempest in our bellies.  So I went with some wholesome Chicken and Vegetable Soup.  Easy, healthy and delicious.  I highly recommend this!


1 whole chicken, skin removed, meat diced, carcass reserved for stock
1 garlic, peeled but with last layer of skin left on, top sliced off
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
Handful of fresh Italian parsley
1 stalk lemongrass, white part bruised
1 bay leaf

1 big carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 stalks leek, chopped roughly
1 brown onion, chopped roughly
1/2 small cauliflower, diced
5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
200g fresh button mushrooms, sliced

2 tbs butter
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp dried mixed Italian herbs
Truffle oil for drizzling (optional)


Make stock: Put carcass, fresh herbs, lemongrass, bay leaf and garlic in a pot with 2L water, bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes.
Skim off scum, remove carcass, herbs and garlic or strain stock through sieve.

Season diced chicken with 1 tsp salt, set aside 10 minutes.
Add diced chicken, veg and mushrooms to stock and bring to boil, then simmer on low heat until potatoes and carrots are softened.
Add dried herbs and peppercorns, simmer 5 minutes.
Add butter and simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off heat.
Check seasoning.
Scoop into bowls.  If available, drizzle with truffle oil. Serve with buttered warm rolls.

Makes about 8 bowls.