Make it Better Soup


It’s been a quiet start in our little house to this new decade. Much of December and all of January so far has been a blur of illness as one child or other, or me, has succumbed to the coughs, colds and winter infections that fly about so freely as this time of year. We’ve rested, and read and watched too much Netflix (have you seen Virgin River yet? I binge watched it in a couple of nights when tonsillitis had me floored and leaving my bed for anything other than food for the kids was not happening. It’s very good!) and eaten our body weight and more in fruit/fruit smoothies. Today we took our first walk in what feels like weeks – just to the shops and back –  but the fresh air and colourful evening sky was blissful. We’re home now, with tired limbs and rosy cheeks, all snuggled up in an exhausted heap, planning films and supper in bed.

Tomorrow I will gather up the energy to make what my dad always called “Milk Tattie Soup”, but which, since my culinary tinkering has upped it’s immune boosting qualities, we now call “Make it Better Soup”.

It’s an old recipe, born out of a time of deep poverty. Dad used to tell us the story of how when he was small, Granny Stuart was a housekeeper and cook at one of the estates the family had worked in. This particular family liked their potatoes (aka tatties) served up for dinner at the Big House peeled and shaped into perfect tiny spheres. Like potato marbles. Neat and tidy and perfectly round. The process of such a task created a lot of waste, and so my Granny would clean the potatoes before she started, and take the peelings home to make into soup. Potatoe scraps, onions, maybe a carrot thrown in, and simmered up slowly with chicken stock, then a good slug of fresh milk and a bit of salt stirred in to finish it off. When I was very small, and Dad was feeling unwell, he’d cook up a pot of soup, and talk about Granny. She died before I was born, but he painted a good picture of a woman who was kind and gentle and immeasurably strong, always making the best of what was available in what I now know were never the best of circumstances.

Granny’s Make it Better Soup Ingredients

2 large onions, roughly chopped.

8 large cloves of garlic, chopped finely.

3 potatoes, cubed.

1 carrot, diced (or you can grate it if you don’t do lumpy carrot bits in your soup…)

1 tablespoon ground turmeric (or a teaspoon of fresh if you have it, grated finely)

1 teaspoon paprika

2-3 pints of bone broth (or a tablespoon of veggie stock powder)

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or similar)

Single cream – as much or as little as you care to add. I put a whole pot in usually!

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

The soup itself is simple. I use bone broth or home made vegetable stock if I have any lurking in the freezer, or Marigold Swiss vegetable stock powder if not. I gently fry up onions, garlic, chopped potato, carrot and seasoning in the oil until the onion goes soft and sort of see through – then add the stock and simmer for an hour or until the veg is soft and the liquid has reduced to half. The turmeric and black pepper help reduce inflammation and the garlic will help your immune system fight whatever it is that ails you. Add the cream, stir and serve. I’ve included some general quantities that I usually work to, but often I just chuck what I have in a pan and it always seems to work. Sometimes I blend it, sometimes not.


We’ll eat our soup with crusty sourdough bread and homemade butter, loads of freshly ground black pepper and maybe with a handful of grated cheese thrown in for good measure. And then we’ll rest a bit more.

One of the things I love most about Home Education, is that the children have this amazing opportunity to listen to their bodies, and rest, eat, sleep, run, sing, play, create when they need to rest, eat, sleep, run, sing, play, create. To figure out what they need and listen to those needs and have them met – what a gift! As a 40-something woman, who was almost 40-something before she started truly listening to her body and what it needed, I feel deeply happy that my girls will move into adult life already possessing these hugely vital life skills. And maybe they’ll make their own versions of Granny’s Tattie Soup too, and carry the stories into their future.

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