During the festive period, it’s luxury to have a couple of hours to relax and take time to cook tasty and simple food. Why not try an afternoon of easy soupy projects? Here is one of my favourite no-nonsense easy broth projects for a lazy afternoon to have with crusty bread or if I’m feeling devilish with dumplings.

Normally, after a busy Christmas, our focus is usually centred by the fastest way to get dinner on the table, without lots of preparing.

An earthy Manchurian soup is one of my all-time favourite meals. After playing around with several recipes, I settled on this one as a favourite that I can come back to again and again. One thing I like about it is that it’s light and warming without the addition of cream or milk. There is no need to purée this soup, the texture adds depth and velvety creaminess with flavour from an aromatic Grenache wine and sautéed Asian spices lingering on the palate.

The key to the soup’s flavour is the sweating of the onions with the Asian spices and the vigorous simmer afterwards. On the whole, it’s just a good deep flavoured soup, so let’s get cooking!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 medium celery, finely sliced
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 orange fresno chilli pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cornflour dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
100 ml of your favourite red wine
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1-litre vegetable stock
A small handful of coriander to garnish


Heat the olive oil in a wok and fry the onions, celery, ginger, garlic and chilli on a high flame for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the vegetable stock, wine and crushed black pepper and simmer on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes until a third of the soupy broth has reduced.

Once the soupy broth has reduced add the cornflour paste to thicken the sauce and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Once thickened add the vinegar, salt and sugar and simmer for a minute. Garnish with fresh coriander, serve hot and enjoy.

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