Sophisticated soup with swirls of this and shavings of that, hearty thick soups which flirt on the boundaries of stew, homely soups that transport you back to childhood, fusion soups which embrace exciting global flavours, chilled soups to refresh the palate – don’t you just love soup?
Anybody who claims not to like soup is simply talking nonsense in my opinion. With such a range of flavours and textures available it is simply impossible not to have at least a few favourites.
Soup is bloody brilliant, not only can it taste amazing but it is almost always cheap, quick and simple to make and best of all it is light on the old calorie front. I declare soup an official Souper Food.
There are very few things in life that I genuinely think I am good at, but making soup is one of them. I do use recipes but this is one of the few areas where I am truly comfortable freestyling. Here are some of my favourite soups at this moment in time.
This was the first soup I ever made and I am afriad the recipe is sketchy as truth be told I have no idea of quantities, it most likely changes a little every time I make it. It seemed rather foolhardy to embark on my first soup making attempt with no recipe book to guide me but I thought I had tasted enough lentil soup to give it a bash.
Ingredients and Method
Melt a generous amount of butter in a pot with onions and one or two bulbs of garlic and then added red lentils, tomatoe puree and some rosemary from the garden. Covered the lot with stock for half an hour or so then blend. Voila!
It was a lentil soup that sang. I think the ridiculous amount of butter, lots of garlic and tomato puree give it a slightly different flavour to some others. This is a family favourite and has received a big thumbs up from all who have tried it.
I tried this out a few weeks ago for the first time when a friend popped round for lunch. It’s taken from a recipe book but there was no coconut involved in the original. I think my addition improves the taste and texture immensely. The book is called GI Meals Made Easy by Dr Barbara Wilson (yes I am still on that particular wagon!)
Ingredients: tbs olive oil. tsp mustard seeds, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 400g sweet potato chopped up, 1 red chilli chopped, 1/2 tsp fenugreek, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1tsp turmeric, 150g red lentils, can chopped tomatoes, 400 ml veg stock, can of light coconut milk, small bunch of corriander.
Heat oil in pan and add mustard seeds until they pop then add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or so.
Add sweet potato to pan along with chilli and spices and cook until you get that lovely aromatic smell.
Add the lentils and tomatoes and pour in the stock, season and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the coconut milk at the end and cook for a few minutes before blending, sprinkle with fresh corriander.
I made this soup for the first time just this week after buying an extra squash in the weekly shop. I happened to have a bundle of sage kicking about in the fridge and reckoned that these lovely wintry flavours would compliment each other beautifully. The result was a lovely thick soup with a gorgeous sweet flavour. I hope I can replicate it again in the future as it is absolutely delicious.
Ingredients: one squash chopped up, 1 onion, bundle of sage, clove of garlic (squashed), vegetable stock (mmm sketchy on the amount of stock but enough to cover everthing and an inch more).
I popped the squash, squashed garlic and sage leaves into a roasting tin with some olive oil and cooked at 180 for around an hour, until they were all roasted, browned and sticky.
Once roasted chop an onion and cook in a little oil until nice and soft, then add the roasted squash along with all the residues of garlic, sage and lovely juices
Add the vegetable stock and simmer for around 20 minutes then blend.
Despite being a soup lover I am one of those people who in the past has always thought that soup didn’t hit the mark for special occasions or dinner parties. However my no nonsense approach to Christmas dinner over the last few years (see Easy like Christmas Morning post) has led me right back to soup and made me realise that it can be just as stunning as any other starter. Just before Christmas a good friend gave me a huge bag of porcini mushrooms which her grandmother had picked and dried herself (what a treat!!). I was beyond delighted and decided that it would be the basis for my Christmas day starter – wild mushroom soup.
The recipe for this soup can be found at – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4756/cream-of-wild-mushroom-soup I only used chestnut mushrooms and porcini for this recipe which calls for a mix of wild mushrooms. It tasted absolutely devine though and I have since wheeled it out for friends on several occasions where it has met universal approval.
I hope that you will try one of these lovely soups. I am also really keen to find out what your favourite soups are and maybe gather some new recipes along the way too.
PHOTO CREDITS – PHOTOPIN
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sea-turtle/4263484153/”>sea turtle</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/artizone/6822011617/”>artizone</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/yumievriwan/1809832118/”>yumievriwan</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>