It’s soup season.
This is the season for soup making. Every TV cook has a selection of great new recipes for amazingly nourishing soups, so inspiration is easy to find. I am often looking for a couple of new ones each winter season, but they always pare down to the same base. It’s just the spices you add that make them different.
My top tips are:
- Make your soup concentrated, by adding less liquid to your stock. This way you will have less bulk if you are going to freeze it. More space! Then add the water when you defrost it.
- Remember soups suit the season. So lots of roots during the winter, and lighter green based ones in the spring and summer time. It doesn’t sit well with me to make courgette soup at Christmas.
- Your base will generally always be onions. Cook them gently first to soften and allow the flavour to develop before you add anything else.
- If you eat meat, make your own stock by popping chicken bones in a pan with water, a carrot, onion and stick of celery. Simmer gently for an hour and then strain. There’s nothing like home made stock.
- Try roasting your veg for an amazing flavour and adding it to stock.
You don’t need a set recipe
For me there is no real set recipe of quantities. Today I decided to clear my fridge and use up a lonely sweet potato and some red peppers. I always have onions, and the rest were store cupboard ingredients – cumin, a tin of coconut milk, and a little fresh ginger that I always have in the fridge for morning ginger shot juices.
The peppers were popped on a tray drizzled in a little oil, black pepper and pink himalayan salt. Roasted for 15 minutes at about 220. I have an Aga so mine were in the roasting oven until they started to blister but not char.
Meanwhile, the chopped onion was gently sweated in a pan with ghee. Until soft, not browning, then I added about a teaspoon of cumin and the ginger – grated. Allow the flavours to develop but not burn. Next the sweet potato went in followed by a whole can of coconut milk.
The peppers were chopped up and added to the pan for a few minutes and then left to cool, before whizzing in the blender. Mine was perfect consistency. If it’s too thick just add some water.
Soups are the most perfect lunch. Warming, nourishing and filling, and easy to pop into a flask if you are going to work. You’ll save loads of money if you make your own rather than purchasing on the run. Although I understand that some people have to purchase soups rather than making their own, I would suggest that you get fresh ones rather than tinned.