Posts tagged soup recipes
DON'T YOU JUST LOVE A NOODLE?
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I suppose it goes way back to those slippery, little noodles in Knorr’s Chicken Noodle Soup? I don’t think I have ever come across a single person who was growing up in the 60’s who didn’t delight in that deliciously-lovely ‘powdered’ soup that only needed some water to make it come alive - with oodles of noodles!

Sadly, I have just had a look at the ingredients and they weren’t really proper noodles at all! Maltodextrin, EGG pasta [durum WHEAT semolina, dried EGG white, dried EGG yolk] (23%), potato starch, salt, flavourings (contain EGG, WHEAT, BARLEY), chicken (2.5%), sugar, chicken fat (2.5%), onion powder, yeast extract, citric acid, turmeric, parsley, antioxidant (extracts of rosemary). Oh well, didn’t seem to do us too much harm and perhaps gave us a taste of just why noodles are the business (especially in soups)!

It is hard to put into words just how utterly delicious my Thai Prawn Noodle Soup is … as I say in the intro, it is all about the spice paste right at the offset. I use one of those little spice-grinders and it makes light work of the process and your soup can be ready in less than half an hour!

Instead of the prawns, you can substitute cooked and shredded chicken or duck, strips of salmon, cubes of tofu or just a few diced spring onions, spinach or bok choy.

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!

CHICKEN SOUP FOR COLDS AND FLU?
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No, not this time - I want to talk about Miso Soup, often forgotten when we need a bit of a pick-me-up when the weather is cold, damp and unforgiving and particularly when it comes to attracting the odd virus that is doing the rounds!

This recipe is from the Planet Organic Cookbook which was published way back in 2000 (think it may, sadly be no longer available but seek it out and you may be lucky) and created by Renee Elliot and Eric Treuille (he of Books for Cooks in Notting Hill fame). What a shop, what an experience and I am proud to say that he once stocked my Soup Cookbook - and - displayed it in the window!

The secret for selecting miso for soups is that red miso is thicker and saltier and is traditionally used in winter soups and white miso is more delicate and sweeter and is preferred for lighter, summer soups. I think you will find that red miso is the one for the job here, but it’s up to you.

JUST BACK FROM PORTUGAL!
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I may have mentioned (on more than one occasion!) that the Portuguese LOVE their soups AND they are many and varied!

One that I am particularly partial to is Caldo Verde and I just happened to pop into Casa do Ze on the front in the beautiful town of Lagos for a bowl …. and it was quite delicious! I didn’t manage to extract the recipe from the ‘mama’ who does the cooking in the ridiculously-small kitchen at the back of the restaurant but I have made it before using Carolina Martin’s recipe on her My Portuguese Mother blog which is always a triumph!

Some use collard greens instead of kale but I am not a fan - the kale seriously adds a lovely peppery taste that you simply don’t get from the collards and kale is available in most supermarkets and farmer’s markets so it is easy to find. Just remember to go for the kale leaves (not the ready-sliced bags) and remove the tough stalks, opt for a waxy potato and ensure the chorizo is not the super-spicy variety!

ENJOY!

HOW ARE YOUR BONES BEARING UP?
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I LOVE SARDINES! It’s not just because I discovered in my later years that they are incredibly good for my bones (once I started training to become a nutritional therapist, you understand), I have always loved the salty, fishy taste - I love anchovies too btw!

Mashed up, tinned sardines (in oil, not in brine or in tomato sauce, please) on toast are the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of greener than green soup for a quick lunch. OR - if you have been lucky enough to pass through Portugal and have a few tins of sardine paste lurking your fridge, you are in luck!

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The Portuguese are more than a little obsessive about these ‘silver darlings’ but only from late June to September when they are ‘fat’. The rest of the time they will opt for the canned versions when they know that they were harvested and canned during the peak season.

One of my ‘sardine-obsessive’ Portuguese pals tells me that the only way to eat sardines during the season is in a restaurant with a sympathetic chef that grills them on the barbecue, serves only two at a time (and keeps them coming) and as it is a gloriously-messy affair, you should be wearing an old t-shirt and shorts that you can sling in the washing machine after a fabulously-indulgent lunch! Hard to argue with that I reckon!

I offer many ‘greener than green’ soups on my souperydupery website but I am particularly keen on my Pea, Mint & Lettuce Soup alongside sardines on toast - a worthy contender! Loads of fabulous vitamins and minerals in that combo - and let’s not forget the vitamin D for our bones, our heart health, our mental acuity and the rest from the sardines..…

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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…

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…