Pea, Ham and Edamame Soup


Drafted: 1.45 pm, Monday 15 December. Sydney.

Comfort food means different things to different people. In this house, it’s pea and ham soup. It’s mild and coddling, thrifty and reliable.

As long as there’s a tupperware of it in the freezer, I feel that everything is going to be ok.

This morning I was walking along Manly Beach. It’s an iconic, warm and transparent stretch of blue on the north side of the Harbour Bridge. Soon after I was singing nursery rhymes at the local library, while Will was squirming impatiently on my lap.

While singing ‘Ba Baa Black Sheep’ I didn’t hear my phone bleat with queries from loved ones both near and far.

I’m writing now because I’m trying to keep myself away from the additively murky slick of news sites and social media. There’s a siege going on. There’s a man with a gun and a flag pressed against a window with terrifying connotations. There’s a group of people caught inside. It’s in a cafe which is less than one block away from the office where The Hungry One goes each morning to work. The Lindt Cafe is a place we’ve both been to.

There were fifteen frigid minutes between when I first saw the light on my phone and when I finally discovered the whereabouts of my husband. He was offsite, at another office a few blocks further north. And that’s where he still is, caught inside. Most of the CBD is in lockdown. There are awful speculations swirling of packages secreted away in corners of the city. Nobody really wants to go outside.

We live in paradise. And yet.

I’m writing, because that’s what I do on Monday afternoons.

And yet.

I was going to write about how I published in Cut the Carbs the ‘ultimate pea and ham soup’- and how I was wrong. That version was tricked up with prosciutto ends,  with the aged and salted pork meat adding a deceptive richness. It also had a sneaky inclusion of wakame threads- the seaweed boosts the umami levels and helps to mellow some of the trumpeting side effects from eating a bowl of pulses.

I was going to write about how this version that I’ve just been toying with is even better. It still includes the wakame, but instead of the simple still note of green split peas there’s additional texture and colour from edamame- those Japanese immature soybeans which you can buy frozen in packets from most Asian grocery stores. I was going to wax on about how the white miso adds a mysterious sweetness and depth to this peasant staple. About how this is the perfect thing to make with your leftover ham bones in this festive period of the year. A prudent home is a happy home.

And yet, I don’t care so much about the intricacies of the soup. Any pea and ham soup is stellar if eaten in the safety of your own kitchen.

I want to wind the clock back to this morning when I was gadding about in a playground gossiping about how we lived in paradise. To last week when I made this, feeling cosseted and downright smug.

At this point there is no pea and ham soup left in this house. I should have made double.

End note; Early this evening The Hungry One was finally released from the locked doors of his office and safely exited the CBD. The siege is continuing.  Tonight I’m thinking of those who are still in harm’s way, the police who have stood bravely under the beating glare of the media and summer sun, and of those of Islamic faith in Sydney who suffer the ugly slings and arrows of ignorance in our city.

And to those who thought it appropriate to take selfies in front of a hostage site; shame on you.

Pea, Ham and Edamame Soup


Serves 4-6



1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 sheet of nori, cut into slim strips
1kg ham hock
300 g green split peas, rinsed
2 tbsp white miso
2 litres of water
175 g frozen edamame

Here’s how we roll

1) Add the olive oil, brown onion, carrots and slivers of nori to the bottom of a heavy bottom pan/ Dutch oven. Sautee for 7 -10 minutes over medium heat until the onion and carrot have softened.



2) Add the ham hock, rinsed lentils and miso to the pan.



3) Add the water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer.


4) Cook with the lid on at a gentle simmer for 1-2 hours, until the lentils have begun to break down and the ham is shrugging off the bone.


5) Remove the ham bone and set aside. Pull the meat off the bone and shred with forks. Discard the bone.

6) Add 3/4 of the edamame to the pot. Take a stick blender and blitz until smooth.  Return the shredded ham and the remaining edamame to the pot. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if required. Heat and serve.



  1. When I saw the front pages this morning I immediately thought of all my blogging “friends” in Sydney… there is nothing worse than the feeling of the unknown threatening the place you feel safe, your loved ones, your children. In the name of what, I ask? Glad to hear the Hungry One is home and safe and hope everyone else gets home safely too.

  2. hi tori. i emerged from the fog of the weekend to the news of the siege and immediately thought of you and your family and other friends in sydney. it really shakes one to the core, not only because of proximity but the rude awakening that bad things happen to everyday good people. and that there is no way of knowing when the madness will strike. i am glad to know that you are the family are safe. and i hope that calm and peace are restored swiftly to all others.
    m xx

  3. I’m glad The Hungry One is safe – but it is such a blow to the feelings of security. Sydney is such a *safe* town! All my friends go to the Lindt Cafe!

    I hope the resolution will be peaceful.

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