A Hearty Winter Soup

It is officially the coldest week this year. Considering this year is only five weeks old, I’ll take it. I also hope that will be it and things will only get warm from here onwards. Monday means swimming for H, which in turn means soup for tea, usually using up our vegetables and whatever else I can find. This week we’ve made a hearty winter soup.

My hearty winter soup is an easy one. We have our Morphy Richards Soup Maker – our second one which alas, is on its way out. The smooth soup function isn’t going so well, though this doesn’t stop us trying a nice chunky soup.

Hearty Literally Winter Soup

When I got to the cupboards they were looking a bit bare. One carrot, half a butternut squash and five medium sized potatoes were the only fresh vegetables we had. The broccoli had seen better days – and because this was chunky rather than blended ended up in the food waste.

Fortunately I had tinned lentils hidden away in the back of the cupboard for days like this. So here’s my hearty winter soup recipe. So easy with a soup maker.

1 carrot
5 medium sized potatoes
Half a butternut squash
Tinned lentils
Bouillon (low salt)
A pinch of sea salt (this might cancel out the previous entry)
Garam Masala

Well, you know how this goes. Peel and chop the veg- but this time into small cubes. Stick them in the soup maker. Add the whole tin of lentils to the mixture, and top up with water.

Add a tablespoon of the Bouillon to the mixture, and add a sprinkle of Garam Masala (if your child is fussy like H). Finally, a pinch of sea salt because it feels nice.

Stick your soup maker onto the chunky setting, and sit and browse the internet for 28 minutes.

Serve the hearty winter soup with a ciabatta, lightly toasted is good, and complain about how flipping freezing it is out there at the moment.

For all previous soup concoctions, everything is tagged souptastically souper.

a hearty winter soup with ciabatta

Souptastically Souper Sweet Summer Soup

It’s been a while, but here we are, the middle of summer and yes, we’re still eating soup – and I’ve been experimenting over the last few months with a combination that I think works a treat – a Souper Sweet Summer Soup.

Souper Sweet Summer Soup served

My Souper Sweet Summer Soup is made with my Morphy Richards Soup Maker, pretty much on a weekly basis. We’re on our second maker now as the motor went on the first (we were offered a discount on a replacement one, but got a good deal via Argos in the end).

Every Wednesday H has swimming, and while her lesson is at 4.30, by the time we’re home it’s getting on for 5pm, and I really don’t fancy cooking. I like sweet soup, as does my little madam. Shaun isn’t so keen. So the good thing is this one tastes good but also works with some salty seasoning if you prefer savoury.

Also – it’s really easy.

Souper Sweet Summer Soup

For the Souper Sweet Summer Soup you need…
one butternut squash.
A handful of sweetcorn. I use frozen sweetcorn, but you can also use canned. I’ve used an entire can and can highly recommend!
One apple – the sweeter the better really.

Chop it all into cubes and add water to the lowest line inside the soup maker, and that’s that. I don’t even add any bouillon to it. Sweet soup isn’t to everyone’s taste, so if that’s you, just add salty seasoning when serving. Shaun says the Nando’s Peri-Peri salt works pretty well – and gives it a bit of a kick.

Serve with some freshly toasted naan (I use Weight Watchers ones) or pitta breads, and that’s pretty much it. Incredibly easy and really tasty. I’ve tried with two apples which makes it just a fraction too sweet, and I’m going to try with cauliflower very soon (maybe next week) as I think this combination could work!

H ate the lot too. So for that reason alone I can’t complain. I’ve been browsing at Amazon and can see Morphy Richards have a new soup maker out – this time you can pause it! That’s the one disadvantage you have with the maker I’ve got – so that’s on my to-get list for future reference.

Souper Booster from the New Covent Garden Soup Co

souper booster

We love our soups in this house – and while they always seem to fall into the very convenient vegetable stock to pad out the taste a bit, I do like to try and jazz it up. When a friend pointed out that the New Covent Garden Soup Co had an offer for their new Souper Booster I had to give it a go.

souper booster

Souper Booster tubes are available in four flavours. Given H’s current dislike of anything spicy (generally when it’s pointed out to her), I opted for the ‘Wild Garlic and Herbs’ tubes – the Facebook deal was to get a free tube. However, I could see that the New Covent Garden Soup Co give you free postage when you buy two tubes – so I added another – may as well spend £2 and get two tubes, rather than £2 and get one! The deal worked, and my tubes arrived the following week. (the deal has now expired)

First observations – you need to put the best part of half of the Souper Booster tube into the soup. This isn’t a ‘delicate squeeze and it’s done’ – it’s a proper blob it on top to really make the flavour.

There is a soup recipe on the tube, but I used our Morphy Richards Soup Maker – this may make a difference with the overall volume of water used vs flavour – I would say definitely use less water in the soup maker (fill it to the minimum rather than higher).

souper booster

For my soup it was my Typical Tuesday recipe – anything left in the cupboard that needs using, as our food delivery is tomorrow – so today it was half a butternut squash, five carrots, a red pepper, some basil leaves and finally the Souper Booster on the top. I set the soup to be smooth and left the machine to work its magic.

The Souper Booster verdict? It’s a nice subtle garlic taste to it – not too overbearing, and almost sweet smelling too. It has a definite italian herbs aroma to it as well – it has definitely made the soup smell and taste more interesting.

The kitchen smells pretty good too! We served it with sliced up ciabatta rolls, and it was a nice filling tea.

souper booster

You can buy The Covent Garden Soup Co’s Souper Boosters direct from their website – I think I’ll be heading back to try the moroccan spice tube – yum!

Souptastically Souper – A Christmas Leftover Vegetable Stew

We’ve had our Morphy Richards Soup Maker for over a year now and use it on a weekly basis. Generally I’ll make soups, but every now and then when we want to see our vegetables I’ll make a stew – today Shaun made a fabulous Christmas Leftover Vegetable Stew.

Christmas Leftover Vegetable Stew

The Christmas Leftover Vegetable Stew is a simple one. There’s no vegetable you can’t use really. For ours we had potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, carrot, onion, cauliflower and anything else in the fridge which needed to be used. The joy of the Morphy Richards Soup Maker is knowing each vegetable is cooked to the point where it still retains goodness and you still get the flavour. There’s no mush here.

Shaun also cooked some mini conchiglie pasta to go with it to make it a bit more filling.

Instead of the usual bouillon he used the Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot (currently on offer at Ocado, four pots for £1) and water – which gave a lovely light flavour to the stew.

Vegetable-wise he did slightly over the maximum and added water to mid-way between the maximum and minimum – just right for a tasty watery base.

After that the vegetables were cooked on the chunky setting, and 28 minutes later our Christmas Leftover Vegetable stew was ready. Add the pasta, stir it around a bit and voila.

Now the food purists may wonder why I call this a stew. In my world, 28 minutes is a long time. We once had a slow cooker but it was so big we never used it and ended up Freecycling it. This says to me something cooking for 28 minutes in a sealed container fits my definition. You may disagree. That’s okay, it tasted good anyway. Call it a soup if you fancy?

Christmas Leftover Vegetable Stew

Important note – The Morphy Richards Soup Maker is currently £49.99 at Amazon (affiliate link). If you’re thinking about buying one this is a good price. I think I got mine for £40 last year so it can go lower. If you truly need convincing how good it is, I have a few recipes, follow the ‘souptastically souper‘ tag and you’ll find a few. A year on and it’s one of the best things I’ve bought, it’s easy to clean and the soup feels so much healthier than ready-made.

A Back To School Big Hug Of A Soup

I have no idea why I’m calling it this, all the relief and tension of the last few weeks disappeared this morning sending H off to school, which means I can think about evening meals properly again and have a little bit more time in the evenings. Here’s our Back To School Big Hug Of A Soup.

a big hug of a soup

I needed a Big Hug Of A Soup tonight. I tried to think of all the comfort foods I’d turn to, without thinking about chocolate or things which will make me big. Soup works and it’s quick. I concocted a soup which just works, autumnal and warmer now that the hot days are coming to an end. I’ve got into the trap of making easy soups with a butternut squash so I left it out this time. It’s a Big Hug Of A Soup. Oh yes. (I think if it were possible to add chocolate it really would hug you too)

So: ingredients. A lot of this is what’s left in the cupboard the day before our food delivery, and of course it is prepared in our trusty Morphy Richards Soup Maker.

Two sweet potatoes
One red onion
One red pepper
One clove of garlic
Two sticks of celery (this may be pointless but we have lots that need to be used, so may as well)
A blob of Aussiemite (this may not be necessary but I put it in anyway)
Five carrots
Some ginger. (by some, I mean however much you’d actually like, you want the flavour to come through in the soup)

Seasoning – a bit of curry powder and a bit of bouillon (by a bit, I put in a teaspoon but you may like more if you need a more salty flavour to it).

 

This may sound like a flavour-clash, but it actually works pretty well. I set the Soup Maker to smooth, and added the maximum amount of liquid so it wouldn’t be too thick. Once it was finished I added in some pre-cooked small pasta shells (a handful, not too much) and some edamame beans. Once the soup was ready we had to pop out for twenty minutes, so by the time we got home it had cooled nicely and the flavours had come through – I could taste the ginger, it was nice and subtle. For me, the mixture of vegetables is a good portion size and easily a couple of your five a day.

I would recommend making the Big Hug Of A Soup at least 30 minutes before you intend to eat it and serve with a nice crusty loaf of bread (I was lazy and bought a Giraffe Loaf from the supermarket). One big reassuring hug of a soup for those of us who just got through our first day of school, whether you’re a parent or a child. We all ate ours, anyway.

This post contains three very content and full stomachs and one affiliate link.

Souptastically Souper Summery Kind of Soup

Today we had one of those days where we knew we’d be doing very little – a day to recharge our batteries and let machines make our food with minimal preparation beforehand ideally, while still remaining tasty and healthy.

I set some dough going in the breadmaker to make some ‘tear and share’ bread which was a HUGE amount when it was finished (it’ll easily last a couple of days and is gorgeously soft and tasty), but knowing I was having a bit of bread I consciously made sure my soup would be a low points one to make up for it.

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Red Pepper Soup

So – this spicy soup is simple, easy to prepare and of course the hard work is done in the soup maker. I used…

1 butternut squash (I always think of winter with a butternut squash, so tried to make it feel summery)
one generous block of ginger chopped into blocks
two red peppers, sliced and all seeds removed

after that I just filled up the water and added three spoons of low-salt bouillon and let it happen.

Now, what should happen next is a photo of us sitting outside enjoying our bread and soup, I even did a balsamic and olive oil dip, but H decided to stick her hand in it (I put it down to three year old curiosity or something) so after a quick clean we sat and ate. They were good too – really simple and not fussy, the ginger came through nicely and I think the pepper helped.

So instead, here’s a photo of my prepped vegetables. You’ll have to take my word for the rest, though let’s face it, you’ve seen one soup you’ve seen them all – it was great for a Bank Holiday Sunday anyway. The soup comes in at 0 points too, so it meant I could stuff my face with bread and not feel too full afterwards either.

My Morphy Richards Soup Maker Six Months On

My most popular post on here is easily my gushing about my soup maker. It was bought last October/November time and has been used a minimum of two times a week since. We love our soup! Especially when it’s so easy.

Morphy Richards Soup MakerThere’s been a few things that I thought were worth mentioning as a follow-up.

I’ve had times when the blade of the soup maker hasn’t gone down all the way – and at the first whizz about fifteen minutes in, it’ll make the lid of the soup maker open, breaking the cycle. My solution? Before you start the cycle give your veg a quick blend on that setting for about five seconds, while holding the lid firmly – then if anything is likely to block it, it’ll be a bit mashed up. So far every time I’ve done that it hasn’t popped open.

The soup is hot. Very hot – though I’ve found pouring H’s portion when it has finished, then ours at the time we’ll eat means it’s just right. I’ve also come to my portion an hour and a half later and it has still been warm (as long as the lid is kept on!).

One of the stands on the bottom came off – I’m not sure how, and they’re not the easiest to get back in! With one missing it hasn’t made things noisier, though I’m keeping a close eye – it looks like the kind of thing that would go back in with the help of a narrow screwdriver.

Mum Friendly Gourmet Garden Challenge Soup

I’ve not been very adventurous with recipes recently – we’re tired and it’s always a random concoction of vegetables. I need some inspiration! Having just passed the Cinco de Mayo maybe we should have had a mexican twist to our soup tonight (butternut squash, carrot and broccoli) – so I’m going to have a think – I’m thinking tomato, coriander, chili and some lime… mmm!

So, six months in was it worth the money? Definitely. It is used as much as our breadmaker (a minimum of two times a week) and makes meals after work so much easier as we always cook from fresh. I love the extra time I have with H, and the soup is almost always tasty (I had one disaster when I added an orange).

In summary, it still gets the thumbs up here – though I’ll be working on a gazpacho recipe – which will need to be prepared the night before I guess, to get it properly chilled!

A Panicky Tea

If I don’t log this somewhere I’ll never find it next time I get home from work and realise there’s no bread! We have a breadmaker which is used 2-3 times a week so we never run out, apart from tonight.  Fortunately I had a recipe for Soda Bread I’d tried thanks to Jax at Liveotherwise, but I couldn’t find the recipe! Time was running out, and I knew it would take 30 minutes to cook, as well as 21 minutes to do the butternut squash, leek, sweet potato soup I had planned. Diasaster!

I found the recipe – I got the oven on and warming up (it’s meant to be 200 degrees), and started off the vegetables in the soup maker. Everything was going well – but I ran out of plain flour! Fortunately I had wholemeal which seemed to work – so I combined the two – but forgot to put the oven on full – and most importantly of all forgot to put a cross on the top of the emergency bread. I now know why this is – it won’t cook inside otherwise – I cut the bread into four and it needed another five minutes to properly cook.

Disaster struck again – the first blend cycle in the soup maker made the top come loose – the 21 minute cycle stopped – argh! My quick fix was to blend the vegetables anyway so they were smooth, then re-start the soup but only have it go for as long as was needed to complete the process – around eight minutes. Crisis averted,  I think….

Fortunately the bread was better for being baked that bit longer, and the soup tasted great too – so much so I scoffed the lot and didn’t take a photo. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Soup :

3 sweet potatoes
half a butternut squash

(if you’re really lucky, you’ll have a super husband who will chop them all up into chunks the night before so you just throw it into the soup maker)

I chopped and added a leek, then three teaspoons of low-salt bouillon, water up to the maximum mark, and that’s it.

Bread :

200g plain flour
180g wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 carton of buttermilk

put all dry ingredients into a bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add the buttermilk and mix with a spoon until it becomes a big dough-y ball – now put the large cross on the top (VERY IMPORTANT). Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. It’ll be ready when it’s hollow sounding when you knock the bottom. It will also be super-tasty when eaten with freshly made soup.

Extra bonus, the washing up isn’t too difficult afterwards. My jeans are a bit mucky though, dough stains…

full credit to Cherished By Me for the recipe in the first place, thank you. It’s so quick and easy, especially when I’m organised. I’ve written it up now, so I reckon it’s foolproof!

Souptastically Souper Carrot and Leek Soup

It’s been a while since I posted up a soup recipe – we’ve been lazy lately, just doing left over vegetables in our recipes and not thinking ahead – that was until last night when I prepared extra vegetables to be tonight’s soup. It worked pretty well too.

It’s a simple one, and actually I think could have been a bit sweeter (maybe add some parsnip?) so here goes…

I peeled and chopped up about six or seven large carrots

Wash and chop four leeks

Get a decent chunk of ginger and peel and chop it up.

Carrot, Leek and Ginger Soup with Goats Cheese

Do as you would with the soup maker, setting it to smooth, and once your time is up you’re left with a soup which has a nice thickness and taste. Now, the only reason I think  it could do to be sweeter was the addition of a gorgeous goats cheese we picked up from our local farmer’s market last weekend – I sliced it and the inside of the cheese was gorgeous and gooey – perfect for putting in the middle of the soup. This probably bumps it a few points, but considering the soup is 0 points I think we’ll let that one go – and of course add it at the end once the soup is in bowls!

If you leave out the cheese then it’s pretty good – and I’d never think of mixing leek, carrot and ginger. Total time taken was around 30 minutes, including the time in the soup maker.

Bramley Apple and Parsnip Soup

Well, there are many things I miss, but we got in just in time for Bramley Apple Week which ended yesterday. I know, there’s so many weeks, days, months for everything, someone somewhere has a ridiculously full calendar which is ready to explode. Lucky for us it was our local Farmer’s Market in Wallington, and the people behind it, Eco Local had a recipe to hand.

The recipe in question is a Hairy Bikers one. I’ve never watched the programme, but am seeing a lot of people talking about them at the moment. As we’re following Weight Watchers parts of the recipe had to be omitted (and partly too because we started cooking at 6pm and that bit takes about fifteen minutes in their version and we don’t have the time), and of course it was in the trusty soup maker anyway.

The original recipe serves six, there’s only three of us and one is a mere quarter of me so we halved the total amount and left out some bits (like gently frying at the start)

2 medium red onions (these are best in the soup maker for flavour)
300g parsnips
2 garlic cloves (we did the full amount there)
300g Bramley Apples
Stock
Milk

The onions need chopping, the parsnips cubing, as do the bramley apples. Everything was put into the soup maker with the water added, and bouillon on top (to make the stock while it’s in there). Shaun added the milk then as well (though the recipe says to do that at the very end).

The soup maker was set to blend, and when it was finished it was really sweet – we were advised to cut back on the apples a bit, and I think slightly more parsnip and less apples would work better. Shaun felt like it was a bit like a thick apple juice whereas I liked it and it was our first time trying a soup with fruit in it.

I spotted this recipe for spiced carrot, cardamom and orange soup earlier this year so may well try it out next weekend…

Bramley Apple and Parsnip Soup