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.

My blog and everything in it will always be free to inspire and support people to live with less plastic, live more sustainably, live with less, and work to reduce the impact of climate change. It does, however, incur running costs. If you are able to contribute to these costs you are welcome to leave a tip in my tip jar here. If you are able to support me monthly, and would like some beautiful handmade creations in exchange, check out my new Patreon site. If, however, in these financially challenging times, you’re not able to do either of these things, please know that sharing the link to this post on your social media platforms is more than enough. Stay well. Thanks and love, Kate. 


3 thoughts on “Make it Better Soup

  1. Even without your additions, I bet the Tattie Soup your grandma made was healthier than what the rich folks ate. Your version looks marvelous! Of course, chicken soup is known for its anti-microbial virtues, and I believe that potatoes retain their vitamn C even when heated. A fine soup, whichever version is made!

    I love that you are learning to listen to your body, and giving your children permisson to listen to theirs. It is something I have slowly been learning over the years, but at 65 have really only been honoring this for the last few months, maybe a year. My body is truly worn out from a lifetime of trauma and stress and all I want to do is rest, rest, rest. Of course with our capitalist, Calvinist-based values (here in the States), resting is something only done at night for as few hours as possible. If you are not doing something properly productive during the day then there is something wrong with you: you are lazy, you are slacking, you obviously don’t deserve anything (well, these are messages that are in my head and they got there from somewhere!).Allowing myself to listen to what my body needs and honoring it is exactly waht I am working on with my therapist right now.

    Thank you for a lovely post, and yay for giving your kids one of the most important skills they need for a happy life!


    1. Also, one of my favorite things for taking when I feel something coming on or it has already hit me is fire cider vinegar, big with herbalists in the States. In case you would like to make some, here is my recipe:

      A Quick Recipe for Fire Cider Vinegar
      by Iris Weaver

      Take some garlic, onions, hot peppers, horseradish or garlic mustard root, any herbs that are anti-whatever that are in your garden or cupboard, whatever else appeals to you. Use whatever amounts you like or have on hand. Warning: go easy with the horse radish; from experience too much makes the fire cider tooo firey! Chop the herbs, put in a jar, top with ACV (organic and local if possible) and let sit at least 6 weeks. When you strain it out add local raw honey if you like. To me this is easy–no fussy measuring or worrying about having just the “right” herbs! Oh, and if you have someone who can’t do alliums, just eliminate the garlic and onions.
      The usual herbs that seem to be the base of any recipe are garlic, horseradish, ginger, and hot peppers. But, again ,use what you’ve got.
      Dose: 1 to 3 teaspoons in water, juice, tea, several times a day. This is also great added to soups, stir-fires, and salad dressings (but be careful how much you use–hot, hot, hot!).

      Suggested herbs (fresh or dried):
      • Hot peppers/chilis
      • Ginger
      • Horseradish, or wasabi radish, or garlic mustard roots
      • Onions
      • Garlic
      • Astragalus root
      • Rosemary
      • Thyme
      • Lemon Balm
      • Bee Balm
      • Peppermint/Spearmint
      • Oregano
      • Sage
      • Lemons
      • Oranges
      • Turmeric


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