Tag Archives: soup

Recipe: Asparagus and Lemon Soup

Standard

Asparagus season is just starting. One of the things I miss about moving from the Surrey countryside to London is that I no longer have a ready supply of locally grown English asparagus. I’m making do with Spanish-grown spears at the moment. As usual, being on my own, I end up having to buy more than I can comfortably eat at one time. That is where this recipe comes in. It’s a good way of using up the remains of bunches and spears that have just started to get a bit droopy.

It has a lovely, fresh taste – spring in a bowl. But be careful with the flavourings, not too much garlic and not too much lemon – you should be able to really taste the asparagus.

 photo IMG_0612_zpstis891iu.jpg

Ingredients
300g asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced small
750ml light vegetable stock
4 tbsp small soup pasta shapes
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 sprig mint
1/2 lemon, juiced

Place all the ingredients apart from the lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 5 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
Remove the mint sprig.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the lemon juice a bit at a time until the soup has a fragrance of lemon in the background.
Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Recipe: Lemony Lentil & Spinach Soup

Standard

This recipe is based on one from A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices by Mona Hamadeh (review to follow). I have had to adapt it because a) I didn’t have the green lentils it originally called for and b) I really don’t like swiss chard. I did buy the chard for this recipe, but when I was cutting it up I gave it a quick taste and ick! if I want something that earthy, I’ll go lick an earthworm or something! So, no chard, but I had some fresh spinach to hand so I used that instead. Please use chard if you do like it.

This is a lovely soup. The strong lemon flavour seems to pull the sun into the soup, giving promise of warmer days to come. It’s freshness and warmth suit the uncertain spring weather. A keeper, I think with the possibilities of a change of vegetable to suit whatever is available.

 photo IMG_0594_zpsvervnh5y.jpg

Ingredients
1 large onion, chopped
250g split red lentils
1 l vegetable stock
250g fresh spinach, finely chopped
2 lemons, juiced

Soften the onion in a little oil in a large saucepan.
When the onions are translucent, add the lentil and vegetable stock.
Bring to the simmer, skim off any scum from the surface, cover and simmer gently for 25 minutes.
Add the chopped spinach and lemon juice.
Stir vigorously to break up the lentils.
Simmer for another 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Recipe: Minted Pea and Carrot Soup

Standard

There’s a time in every winter when you just want something simple and warming. A pulse and vegetable soup hits the spot every time for me. This is based on the famous pea and ham soup, so I have used the green marrowfat peas, but yellow split peas or lentils would work equally well. Just adjust the cooking time to suit. The mint lifts the flavour of this soup above the ordinary.

Minted Pea & Carrot Soup photo MintedPeaandCarrotSoup_zps09c2a31c.jpg

Ingredients
250g marrowfat peas, soaked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks of mint
750ml vegetable stock
3 or 4 mint leaves, shredded for garnishing

Add the ingredients to a large saucepan.
Bring to the heat and simmer, covered, until the peas are tender. This should be 45-60 mins.
Remove the mint stalks and discard.
Spoon out about 1/4 of the peas and carrots and reserve.
Blend the remaining soup until smooth and then add the reserved peas and carrots back in.
If you want a completely smooth soup, just blend all of it together.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with the mint leaves sprinkled over.

Serves 2

Recipe: Lemon and Coriander Noodle Soup

Standard

This is a simple, fragrant soup with sour and hot notes. it makes a lightening-quick, great tasting, lunch or supper. You can add more vegetables to this if you want, but I’ve kept it simple with only the flavour of lemon, coriander and chilli.

I have assumed you’ll be using the type of noodles that come already portioned in nests or bundles of noodles. If you don’t have that type of noodle, you’ll need about 80g per person.

 photo Lemon20amp20Coriander20Soup_zpsjvvedo6g.jpg

Ingredients
2 portions noodles (about 80g each)
500ml vegetable stock
1/2 chilli, chopped
25g fresh coriander, chopped
100g tofu, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Sesame oil

Cook the noodles according to packet instructions.
Drain into a colander and cool under a running cold tap.
Set aside.
Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan.
When it is simmering add the chilli, coriander, tofu and the lemon juice.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Season with salt.
Divide the noodles into two serving bowls.
Pour the soup over the noodles.
Serve with a little sesame oil drizzled over the top.

Serves 2 for lunch

Recipe: Carrot and Star Anise Soup

Standard

I have a recipe for Vichy carrots, where the carrots are cooked in water, butter and sugar, that calls for the addition of star anise. It’s a pleasing flavour combination, but I though to use it in a soup rather than as a side dish. As I’m not creating a glaze, the butter and the sugar can go, but I’ve added potatoes to give the soup more body.

I’ve used chilli oil to add a kick to this fragrant, warming soup, but a drizzle of cream would do nicely. A sprinkled of chopped parsley would be a good colour contrast too.

Carrot & star anise soup photo IMG_0093_zps23be49c7.jpg

Ingredients
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
300g carrots, chopped
300g potatoes, chopped
2 star anise
750ml vegetable stock
chilli oil for garnish

Soften the garlic and onion in a little oil in a saucepan until they go translucent.
Add the carrots, potatoes, star anise and vegetable stock.
Bring to the simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the star anise and blend until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a drizzle of chilli oil.

Serves 2

Recipe: Roast Pumpkin, Pepper and Tomato Soup

Standard

Ah, late summer (or early autumn depending on your point of view), when the pumpkins and squashes hit the veg boxes and I wonder what I’m going to do with them. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first – soup! Pumpkins (like their cousins, courgettes) make great soup. They blend to a wonderful smooth, creamy texture and they add a background sweetness that never really overpowers anything they’re in.

This recipe calls for roast pumpkin and if you’re going to put the oven on to roast one vegetable, you may as well roast a few at the same time. Unusually for me, this is a more liquid soup, rather than the thicker ones which are my forte.

Roast Pumpkin and Pepper Soup photo DSCN1708_zps3aa25382.jpg

Ingredients
1 small pumpkin, deseeded and sliced
2 red peppers
4 tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 litre vegetable stock
Harissa paste
Lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Put the pumpkin pieces, peppers and tomatoes on a shallow roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper.
Bake for 45 minutes until they are all charred round the edges and the pepper skins are blackened.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
When cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the tomatoes and pumpkin pieces and the skins and seeds from the peppers.
Heat a little oil in a large saucepan.
Sweat the onion and garlic until they are softened and translucent.
Stir in the coriander, cumin and paprika.
Now add the tomatoes, pumpkin pieces and peppers to the saucepan.
Pour over any of the juices from the roasting tin.
Pour over the vegetable stock.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to temperature and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and blend to a smooth consistency.
Check for seasoning and serve with a little drizzle of harissa paste and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serves 4

Recipe: Potato and Sweetcorn Chowder

Standard

It’s in the nature of food writing and blogging to want to complicate things. To go for new twists on old recipes and to dream up new complicated recipes. When I was planning this dish I thought of adding tofu, or white mushrooms to it. In the end necessity proved to be the mother of simplicity – I used the last of the tofu earlier in the week and my mushrooms were coagulating into a fungal mass. And this dish is the better for it. Just sweetcorn, potatoes and soya milk (non vegans can use semi-skimmed cows milk) and the result is sweet, savoury and delicious.

A few notes on ingredients – normally chowder is made with floury potatoes, but as the creaminess is coming from the sweetcorn and milk, so I like the potatoes to have a bit of texture. To the same aim, I’m not peeling them – I never usually do with any potato, but especially new potatoes. I also use a stock-cube. I have never managed to get a tasty vegetable stock using vegetables, so I’d rather go with a good quality cube/powder.

Potato and Sweetcorn Chowder photo DSCN1138_zpsd0fd2658.jpg

Ingredients
1 red onion, finely chopped
300g new potatoes, cubed
1 tin creamed sweetcorn (about 420g)
Soy milk to the same volume as the tin of sweetcorn
1 vegetable stock cube
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp chopped parsley (for garnish)

Sweat the red onion in a little oil in a large saucepan.
Once the onion is translucent add the potatoes, sweetcorn, soy milk, stock cube and bay leaf.
Stir thoroughly and season with salt and pepper (white pepper is best).
Bring to the simmer and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked to be thoroughly soft.
Remove the bay leaf.
Serve with the chopped parsley sprinkled over the top.

Serves 2 as a hearty main course