Posts tagged soup
'WARM NOT HOT' IF YOU PLEASE!
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You know how when you are in a rush and happen upon ‘certain coffee establishments’ (that are not your usual haunts) and your coffee is simply way too damned hot and you have to take the lid off and dear alone know what happens next when you don’t have some sort of ‘cover’ to contain the possibly-ensuing drama?

Same goes for take-away soups in my experience! Not all (but too many in my book!) Surely we don’t want to have to ‘blow’ on every spoonful? Lunch hour could easily be over before we’re done!

I imagine it all comes down to the setting on the microwave and the fear of ingredients not being properly heated through (and someone getting sick or worse!) I often microwave my own homemade soups and each soup is so very different - clear, noodle-y types are reheated in a jiffy, vegetable-y, bean-y, lentil-y ones take a little longer and the meat-y, vegetabl-y broths can take an age (generally, you are better to just put them in a pan on a medium heat until the soup comes (just) to the boil and then simmer gently until you are ready to dive in!

Or perhaps, those ‘soup cups’ don’t lend themselves to ‘cooling down quickly’! My advice is to look for a mobile caravan which still has ‘the soup of the day’ in big soup kettles where the staff are way more in control of the temperature of the soup - just saying!.

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One I am particularly fond of and follow is Union Genius of Edinburgh. They are quite a bunch - offering you a truly great lunch (soup is the main player) and maintaining their ethical approach to cooking and providing - have a look at their website - it’s inspiring….



SPICING THINGS UP A BIT!
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You know those cookbooks that ask anybody and everybody in the surrounding area to donate their favourite and ‘best kept secret’ recipes to be included to make some dosh for a chosen charity? Well, I am a sucker for them all - you just know that Mrs S from Bonnyrigg or Mrs T from Borehamwood are simply not going to pitch in something they are not quite sure of, and, you often get loads of those ones entitled: ‘My Gran’s Best Ever Fruit Scones’ or ‘My Nan’s Fabulous Venison Stew’.

Oh yes, I am right there with my wallet and supporting the said charity! And one in particular I have to mention is a Canadian project called Fare for Friends which was in aid of a refuge for abused women in Ontario which one of my very dear friends, Chrissie, gave me over 30 years ago when she was living in Canada. There are at least 20 or more recipes in this little book that I cook on a regular basis (I think ‘Eleanor’s Egg Caviar’ and ‘Bacon Stuffed Avocados’ may well have appeared in one or more of my books!)

And here is one - Curried Broccoli Soup - the lady who donated the recipe (no name, sadly) thought it was a perfect start to a dinner party but I just make it whenever I have a rather large bunch of broccoli lurking in the fridge or broccoli screams at me from the veg section!

I have explained about the saturated fat content in the pdf of the recipe but please don’t judge me too harshly when I go for the full fat version - it is only occasionally and it is so good!

THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR A CHICK PEA SOUP!
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The fabulous chick pea! 15g of protein, 45 g of carbohydrate, 13g of dietary fibre, 4g of good fats and a whole load of minerals per 150g so this soup is a veritable monster of goodness!

Yet again I am trawling through my cookbooks and if you like a soup that you can pretty much stand your soup spoon in and take to work in a wide-necked flask and ensure that you get the very best nutritiously superb lunch, it could well be this one!

I only have one book from the pen of the brilliant Amanda Grant called Lunchbox but it is well-thumbed and I have been making her soups (and best-ever combination of ingredients in her sandwiches on everything from rye to sour dough to foccacias to pittas and the rest) since it arrived in my cookbook collection in 1999.

I haven’t made her Italian Chick Pea Soup for a while but as the weather is a bit nippy right now in Scotland it won’t be long I can assure you! And, even the corner shop has most of the ingredients so it is a no-brainer to pick them up at the end of the day and rustle this soup together in super-quick time…

It Has Got To Be Smoked!
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Pretty much every country in the world where there is a ‘seafaring culture’ is pretty big on smoking! Over the course of thousands of years of drying, salting and smoking fish the technique has developed to a point where once-common food staples seem to have become a bit of a delicacy (with prices to match on many occasions!) What can I say?

However, its pretty hard to pay more than £4 for 200g of boneless smoked haddock fillets in even to most ‘trendy’ fishmongers in Scotland (way, way less if you happen to be near to where the fish landed!)

On another note: I feel sure that you could possibly be thinking that maybe I am going through my small cupboard of cookery books courtesy of the last few blog posts - and you would be right! The cupboard may be relatively small but boy can I cram them into every available space! I really did have a clear out recently but there were rather many I simply couldn’t part with (John Tovey, Keith Floyd, Margaret Costa, Frances Bissell, Sonia Stevenson, Fay Maschler, Antonio Carluccio, Ruth Rodgers & Rose Grey, Deborah Madison, Katie Stewart, Catherine Brown and of course Nigella, Jamie, Gordon, Delia, Rick, Mary, Raymond and absolutely everything that Nigel has ever written (sorry Nigel but you’re the man!)

I didn’t mention Simon Hopkinson. Well, this is actually a bit of a special mention because of his Curried Smoked Haddock Soup in this post. I think I have every one of his books but this recipe is in Roast Chicken & Other Stories - love this one particularly - and - have you ever tried his onion tart? Quite sublime! His byline to the soup said: “There is Scottish smoked haddock soup called Cullen skink and there is kedgeree and there is mulligatawny. This is a combination of all three.” Well, that was enough for me and I had to try it - and have been making it ever since, particularly when the weather is ‘dreich’ and we all need a bit of a fishy, smokey pick-me-up!

NB: this is in no way a light, delicate and waistline-reducing recipe…. BUT…. it’s something else!

More Pesto Please!
MINESTRONE SOUP

MINESTRONE SOUP

A really good spoonful added to Minestrone, fantastic on sour dough toast with ripe tomatoes, alongside steamed vegetables or perhaps sneaked into a baked potatoes, stirred through pasta at the very last minute or maybe just spooned straight from the jar - it’s has got to be said - pesto is kind of addictive!

But have you made pesto with oil that is rich in essential fatty acids? An oil that enriches our food while delivering the superb qualities of the much-needed EFA’s for our health and wellbeing and has had no damaging heat treatment at all?

I like Udo’s Oil, 3*6*9 Blend but there are others on the shelves - try avoid the ones in plastic bottles (they tend to be cheaper but they are not so pure).

I am struggling to remember where this pesto recipe came from but I think it had something to do with Udo Erasmus (what a great name!) whilst I was studying nutrition and his ground-breaking research into Omega 3’s BUT I do know it is really good, particularly when it is straight out the blender and slung in a devil-may-care fashion on top of my minestrone soup!

I Can't Believe I Forgot This Soup!
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Sophie Conran’s Root Soup with Cheese Scones! Loads of seasonal root vegetables - both roasted and sautéed - plus the most meltingly-delicious cheese scones on the side! I am rather partial to serving the soup in a teacup with the roughly broken-up scones alongside whilst everyone is opening parcels and enjoying the Christmas get together - while I do the last minute somewhat panicky procedure of the ‘main event’!

Sophie Conran’s blog is an absolute delight for anyone who likes to cook or find out more about seasonal ingredients and/or looking for inspiration for decorating your house at christmas - have a look! This lady has been in the frame well before blogs were invented but she still keeps coming up with brilliantly-fresh ideas!

Trip Down Memory Lane!

I recently came across a recipe for my Mum’s seriously-delicious and oh-so-morish venison broth. This was her great grandmother’s recipe - so that makes it my great, great grandmother’s - bit of history or what!

Here’s what was written!

Ingredients: Shank of venison, Cloves, Peppercorns, Cinnamon, Salt, Carrots, Turnips, Onions, Port or Sherry, Water to cover. Method: Fill stockpot with the above except port or sherry. Simmer for about 8 hours. Sieve. Thicken with flour browned under grill. Add port or sherry to taste.

No amounts, scant instructions - brilliant! However… my Mum had watched her great grandmother making the soup on very many occasions so, of course it all made enormous sense to her.

When it came to including this recipe in my Soup Cookbook, I remembered some of the details, having watched her cobbling it together, but I have a suspicion that those who bought my book may not have been overly-impressed with Mum’s devil-may-care methods - don’t suppose great, great, grandmother had a Highly Accurate LCD Precision Scale then!

So I worked and worked at this soup to come up with something that resembled the same glorious taste (with all the required amounts plus a detailed method) but I am still rather leaning towards the off-the-wall approach! Oh, and the ‘flour browned under the grill’ in the original recipe is inspired - adds cracking nutty taste! See how you go…