Soups : a hug in a mug


Wow! Blue sky and and sunshine and NO rain!  However, with this has come a sharp drop in temperature so we really need something warm and sustaining – and what could be better than soup?  I know it’s easy to open a tin, a packet or a carton, and, yes, some of them are very nice – but wouldn’t you like to make your own with fresh ingredients and no preservatives?

Of course, you can’t really make soup for one but this is one of those occasions when you do want to make more than you need for one sitting – a pot of soup sitting in the fridge when you want it should last the week – and you can vary it in lots of ways by what you add to it.

Extra touches you can add to Soups

Parsley    Sage         Rosemary        Thyme           Oregano            Basil         Coriander      Mint         Kaffir Lime Leaves              Chervil              Chives

  • Single or Double Cream
  • Crème Fraiche
  • Yogurt
  • Sour Cream

Croutons – cube some bread and fry in butter

Croutes – French bread of slices of bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven

As above but rubbed with garlic

As above but covered in cheese and toasted

You can make your own stock, boiling up the carcass or bones of a roast dinner with some vegetables – but stock cubes are perfectly acceptable – there lots of good ones in the shops now

Canned Beans eg cannellini / pulses eg dried beans and lentils / grains eg rice, pearl barley and couscous can all be added to bulk out simple soups.

How about you make one of the below, go for a walk in the lovely crisp air and come home to a bowl of soup.  Don’t forget to pick up a nice crusty bread to go with it – and you definitely want some nice butter to go on it – no margarine!

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Cooking time: less than 10 mins   Serves 4

  • 12oz broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 14fl oz vegetable stock
  • 1 oz butter
  • 4 spring onions, sliced (or 1 leek)
  • 1 3/4oz Stilton, crumbled or to taste
  • 3 ½ fl.oz double cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg

Put broccoli pieces into a glass bowl. Pour over stock. Cover the bowl with cling film and put in microwave. Cook for 4 minutes till tender.

Heat a frying pan till hot and add butter. When it starts to foam, add onions and cook for 1 minute.

Put cooked broccoli and stock in a bowl/blender.

Add onions, stilton and cream and blend together.

Transfer mixture to a pan and bring gently to a simmer.

Red Lentil and chilli soup

Serves 4

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1chopped red onion
  • 140g red lentils
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 400g can tomatoes
  • 200g can chickpeas*
  • Small bunch of coriander chopped
  • Greek yogurt to serve

* optional

Heat a large saucepan and dry fry cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 minute. Add oil and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, stock and tomatoes and bring to boil.

Simmer for 15 minutes

Whiz the soup with stick blender or food processor until rough puree. Put back in pan and add chickpeas if wanted.

Heat and stir in coriander.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt.







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