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How to nourish your body from the inside out 

Self-Care can take many forms, whether a day of pampering, a relaxing massage, a skincare ritual or a calming meditation. But true self-care is about nourishing the mind and body, both inside and out. Cooking nourishing, healthy food can be one of the best ways to prioritise our physical and mental health. 

We sat down with Melbourne-based cook and author of two best-selling cookbooks, Julia Busuttil Nishimura, to learn about nourishing both mind and body in the kitchen. Julia is influenced by her Maltese heritage and Japanese family, and her work celebrates simple ingredients, seasonal produce, and the joys of coming together at the table. 

Parsnip And Roasted Garlic Soup With Onion And Sage Soda Bread

 I love spending more time in the kitchen during the winter months preparing comforting meals for myself and the family. It not only of course nourishes us but also is so enjoyable and meditative. Something so simple, like a soup, can bring so much warmth and joy.

 Here I share a creamy parsnip and roasted garlic soup. I show you how to make the stock from scratch too, but of course, good quality store-bought stock is totally fine. When it’s really cold outside, too cold or rainy to leave the house, this soda bread is an absolute essential. It comes together wonderfully with pantry staples and uses buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda to give it a lift. Slowly fried onions and sage add a lovely flavour to the soda bread too and complements the earthiness of the soup. This is my ideal dish to make

to nourish both the mind and body.

Serves 4-6

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 leeks, white and light green part, roughly chopped
  • 1 kg parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 300 g Dutch cream potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1.2 L chicken stock
  • 150ml pure cream
  • Sea salt and pepper

Roasted garlic

  • 3 bulbs garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt

Chicken stock

  • 800g chicken wings
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 carrots, halved
  • 2 sticks celery, halved
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 peppercorns
  • Sea salt

Sage and onion soda bread

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • Small handful sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 100g rolled oats, plus extra to top
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400ml buttermilk
  • Salted butter, to serve 


Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Trim the tops off the garlic bulbs, just enough so the cloves are exposed, and reserve the tops for another use. Drizzle the bulbs with olive oil and season with a little salt. Wrap each bulb tightly in some aluminium foil, place on a tray and roast in the preheated oven for 30- 35 minutes, or until the garlic is soft. Allow to cool. Set aside.

Meanwhile, for the stock, place all of the ingredients into a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil, skimming the surface for impurities. Reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours or until the stock is well flavoured with a rich colour. Strain and keep the stock warm.

Begin making the soup by warming the olive oil in another large saucepan over a medium heat. Gently fry the leeks with a pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the parsnips, potato and apple and stir to coat in the leeks and olive oil. Cook for another 3-4 minutes then pour over 1.2 litres of the chicken stock. Any extra chicken stock can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce to low-medium and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.

Increase the oven temperature to 190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

While the soup is cooking, make the soda bread by first warming the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until soft and beginning to colour. Stir through the sage and cook for 1-2 minutes further, until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until well dispersed. Add the cooked onions and toss through so they are evenly distributed. Pour in the buttermilk and mix just enough to bring the dough together. If too wet, add some extra flour. Turn onto a workbench and use your hands to gently bring the dough together into a ball. Transfer to the prepared tray and shape into a flattish round loaf. Use a sharp knife to make a deep cross shape

into the loaf. This will make it easier to serve once cooked, but will also ensure even cooking of the loaf. Sprinkle with extra oats and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until hollow when tapped. Allow to cool briefly.

Once the soup is ready, pour in the cream then blitz with a handheld stick blender until smooth. Alternatively, process in a blender then return to the saucepan to heat through. Season to taste.

Divide the soup into bowls and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Serve with the warm soda bread slathered with butter.