Sunday, 14 August 2011

Soups to Fill your Boots!

Well hello there Blogisphere!

Feels like forever and a day since I last posted. The main reason for this is that my digital camera is broken, well the lead that charges it up is missing so I have gone back to trusty old film.The upshot of this is that I take a lot more care over shots. Also poor old lappy will be spared a glut of photos that will never see the light of day. The down side is embracing deferred gratification. I have never been any good at this, and have very little patients for anything that requires denying yourself things you desire.

Funds are very low a the moment, not aided by a water bill, a new tax disk and the impending renewal of my car insurance. (Incidentally I am trying to sell the car- if anyone is interested in a trusty little motor drop me a line). The upshot of my lack of funds is that I shall be dinning like a pauper until the end of September at the earliest. I have been getting well into soups recently- they are super cheap, fill you up, and are relatively healthy- Everyone's a winner :)

So without further ado here are a couple for recipes:

Watercress Soup  
  • 1x Onion
  • 1x Potato (medium baking works well, or a handful of small salad spuds)
  • 2x Sticks of Celery
  • 200g (or 2 bags) of Watercress
  • 1 ltr. Chicken Stock (or preferred stock)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Extras: I added some Parsley (a bunch) and Peas (500g) to the mix, the Parsley adds another flavor, Peas do the same and thicken the soup. A bag of frozen peas is perfect, cheap and easily

1. Heath some oil in a large pan. Chop up the Onion and Celery (technique isn't important as everything will be whizzed up at the end, though the smaller the bits are the faster they will cook.) Sweat the Onions in the pan with the lid on, until soft, add the Celery and stir around a bit.

2. Add Season the Onion and Celery, add the stock cube crumbled and mix round quickly (make sure it doesn't stick/burn). Add 1 ltr of boiling water. Stir well then leave to simmer for about 10 mins stirring every now and then.

3. Whilst everything is bubbling away merrily chop up the potato (again the smaller you do this the faster they will cook). Add Spuds and bring to the boil. Stir around. Return to simmer and cook until the spuds go mushy.

4. Add the peas, stir a bit more, until peas are defrosted.

5. Chop up the watercress. This is not a prefect science, roughly chopped is fine, but I have found that the stalks sometimes escape the blender and go a bit stringy. If you have a buff blender this won't be a problem. Chuck watercress in. Stir round until wilted.

6. Leave to cool. Blend away. Voila soup! You can put the lions share in freezer bags and pop in the freezer. the remainder can be heated up and served. preferably with some goats cheese swirled on top and some crusty bread- delicious :)

Whats-In-The-Fridge Soup
As I mentioned I am as poor as a church mouse at the mo. Spending money on food when I'm broke pains me so this recipe is a real life saver. I have a feeling its pretty healthy too.

Ingredients (a rough guide):
  • A handful of shallots/onions/anything of this ilk.
  • Frozen Veg e.g. Peas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach
  • Veg that has seen better days, like that wilted sad looking leek, of the cabbage that has been malingering at the bottom of the veg draw.
Basically you can use anything.  What follows is a list of the delightful specimens malingering in Grimmauld's cupboards/fridge/freezer.

  • 3x shallots
  • 4x Sticks Celery
  • 1 1/2 Carrots
  • 1/3 of a particularly sorry looking red cabbage
  • 1/2 Packet Spinach
  • Frozen Cabbage
  • Frozen Veg Medly (Broccoli/Cauliflower/Carrots)
  • Bouillon (pilfed from the rents cupboard) 
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper 
Pretty much the same as above, plus a dash of common sense as to what to add when. I sweated the Shallots and Celery, with a bit of Salt and Pepper then added Stock. boil-simmer. added the Spuds. then the frozen bits and bobs. I popped the Spinach and wilty stuff in last then blended it all.

I was surprised at how verdant this one turned out, especially in light of the red cabbage addition. I should also add that it lacks subtlety of taste. Definitely one for quelling a rumbly tummy rather than fine dinning.

Popped round to the rents place the other night and was rewarded with a fat bag of foodie swag. various friends and relatives donated some really nice fresh produce (including a Courgette, literally the size of my calf, the biggest onion I have ever seen and some real McCoy French Garlic (also of gargantuan stature). So I got a bit creative with this one...

Spiced Courgette & Garlic Soup
  • Courgette (1x giant or c. 4x standard size)
  • 1x Leek
  • Onion
  • Garlic, I love Garlic so I used heaps c.9 Cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken Stock & Bouillon 
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cumin Seeds (or ground Cumin), Rosemary (fresh if you can get it, dried if not)
1. Pre-heat the oven, I always turn it on to full whack when pre-heating, then adjust as seems necessary. Chop onion, and 1x Garlic clove, and the leek (I cut all fairly small). Put in a bowl for later. meanwhile Chop up the Courgette(s). These are going to be roasted so I kept them fairly chunky.

2. Bob some oil in a large pan with a Sprinkling of Cumin Seeds and fry till you can smell the Cumin. Add Onion, Garlic, and Leek. Put the lid on and make them sweat it out. For this keep the pan on a low heat and and either giggle the pan, or stir regularly.

3. Put the Courgette chunks and remaining garlic cloves (skins on!) in a baking tray, drizzle with oil and add some rosemary. Then put in the oven- judge the heat but keep your eye on it and mix around as and when. You'll know when its done because the kitchen will start to smell wholesome and delicious.

4. Whilst everything is roasting, add your chosen stock powder plus some seasoning to the pan and mix well. If things look a bit sticky add a bit of water. Add 1ltr. of boiling water to this and bring to the boil. return to simmer.

5. When your veg is smelling roasty toasted take it out and add the Courgette to the pan (it should be a bit mushy/'golden'- mine just went mushy with burnt- but you get the idea. Peel the Garlic (much easier when roasted) and add to the pan. bring to the boil. Simmer. Allow to cool. Blend.

I haven't tried this one yet. Going to have it for lunch tomorrow. It smells tasty but in hindsight I could have done with using a bit less stock, as it looks a bit watery and I prefer my soup to be verging on a stew. this is a personal preference of course, and if you intend to serve this soup as a starter, lighter is probably best.

If you try any of the above let me know how you get on. Especially if you add something new!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice recipes will have t try them - looks delish!


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