Simply Souper! or ‘the day the soup maker arrived…’

As I am sure you have gathered by now, I love to cook, love food and kitchen tools generally.  I am not a complete gadget addict, but occasionally one catches my eye and is great to try.

Years ago it was my slow cooker.  To me it’s a fantastic investment.  I use it all the time, even to slow cook Sunday roast if I’m busy, with amazing gravy base that creates itself.  Wouldn’t be without it.  Would certainly replace it.

I’ve avoided Bread Makers.  Not because I don’t like them, quite the opposite.  I love fresh bread but don’t want to end up doubling in size as a result.

Ice cream makers I do like the idea of.  I can keep my control with a bowl of ice cream.  Unlike a loaf of bread.  So there’s one to try.

The latest thing I keep seeing everywhere and hear glowing reports both online and from my friends is a soup maker.

Now I adore soup.  I am always making it for my family.  It’s delicious, often very healthy and can be so economical.   My toddler loves every soup I’ve made.  Wonderful nutrition for him and so quick when you’re a working Mummy too.

And for dieting.  If you’re in total control of what goes into a soup it can really tasty and filling.  Lots of flavour, so satisfying, but very low in fat.

Of course it’s nice to be decadent too.  In Winter, especially Xmas holidays I make a creamy turkey soup with sage and onion croutons.  Also Broccoli & Cauliflower with Stilton and cream.  I tell you, after a long and freezing walk a hot boil of either is wonderful.  I make sandwiches from crusty white fresh bread spread with butter and filled with ham.  Dunking those is pure bliss.

In Summer, Gazpacho.  So light and lovely dinner party food.  Garlicky greens or Spiced tomatoes, blitzed smooth and served cold with some grilled Ciabatta and olive oil.  Mmmm I’m on holiday…

Isn’t soup comforting.  The smell is like a great big hug.  When I make celery soup I can’t get enough of the aroma in my kitchen.  Pure heaven.  I have recipes from my Mum, Aunt and even Grandma.  From different regions and even countries.  I’ve suddenly realised I really do have a thing about it!

I’ve always made soups the old fashioned way, chop, simmer on stove, blitz with food processor.  This really isn’t hard work at all.  But the other day I was browsing and succumbed.  I ordered a soup maker.  By hunting around there are amazing offers.  My Morphy Richards cost me £30 Inc. delivery.

Anyway.  It arrived.  Oh my I don’t think I’ve unwrapped anything that fast since my Crystal Barbie in 1982!  Such excitement and first impressions didn’t disappoint.  It’s nice and chunky yet compact and wouldn’t look out of place on the work top.  Shame it’s not purple, but you can’t have it all.  It has options for chunky and smooth soups, also juices and makes smoothies, which I know little one and his dad will love.

Well all I wanted to do was try it out.  So I hope my boys are ready for a soup fuelled week.  My first batch was tomato and red pepper.  I’ve made it by hand a million times.  It’s my partners favourite and super (no pun intended) healthy.

I chopped a dozen tomatoes.  One large onion and 2 red peppers.
Added some salt and a good grind of black pepper.
I had some fresh basil so roughly chopped a great big handful.
I de-seeded and chopped 2 mild red chillies.  Gives a little kick.  You can leave them out or add more.
I then added approx. 2 litres of vegetable stock (chicken is lovely to).  Just from stock cubes
I used the smooth setting on the machine and switched on.

While it worked its magic I dug out all my own soup recipes and started typing up some new ones I’ve been dreaming up.   I am salivating thinking about watercress or asparagus.  I adore green soups.  This is such a fun and yummy project.  I’d love to turn it into a book

If you have a favourite soup/recipe you’d like to share I’d love to hear it and happy to credit you and publish it.

Bye for now.  I’m off to chop, cook, blend and savour J

Victoria

xx

NB The image is from one of my favourite stories.  Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

Advertisements

Flaming June

Flaming Junecatwithumbrella

Well.  What can I say?  Welcome to the Great British Summer peeps.

I walked to work today with tights on again and a warm fluffy jacket.  I have to say the only thing ‘Flaming’ this week is the pilot light for the central heating!

Yesterday was one of those days where the wind is destroying your umbrella.  You can’t even keep your hair dry.  Even Smartie my cat had a duvet day and literally didn’t move for around eight hours!

Last night I felt so chilly all I wanted to do was be cosy.  Then I pondered how sometimes everything can have a Purpose.  A good purpose.  Even a bad weather day on 1st June.  You sometimes need to look for the positives and so I thought great, I’ll make home-made soup with crusty bread, savour in my pyjamas with candles lit and some recipe books to trawl through.  The kind of evening you’d have in November, but so heart-warming if you embrace it.

So I set about my mission.  Grabbing a couple of essentials on my windy walk home I got cosy and then made a gorgeous creamy leak and potato soup with crusty bread.  Leak and Potato soup is hardly ground-breaking.  But my version yesterday was a ‘throw it all together soup’.  And it was an absolute winner.

I pre-heated a big favourite pan with a knob of butter and splodge of olive oil

I had a pan of already cooked Charlotte potatoes – John obviously hadn’t spotted them in the fridge or they’d have vanished J  I chopped these along with two large leaks then finely chopped a big fat white onion.  2 crushed garlic cloves and a big bunch of chopped fresh parsley.  I had some left in the fridge but dried is just as good if not.  Plus a couple of bay leaves.

Everything was added to the pan and given a really good seasoning of salt and pepper.  Left on a low heat I let everything soften gently, about 10 mins.

Now I do love to make bread, but sometimes, after work a good fresh crusty loaf from a 76739_Cobs-Rolls--Wraps-The-Cooperative-Batardsupermarket is more than adequate.  Doesn’t mean you can’t jazz it up though.  I  bought an onion and red Leicester loaf from our local and sliced it almost through (like garlic bread).  I then added a little butter (Clover actually) in each slit.  Sprinkled the top with salt and black pepper, wrapped loosely in foil then put the whole thing in a pre-heated oven, just to warm through.

potato-leek-soup-4

Meanwhile I made a pint of chicken stock (veg is just as good) I use stock pots or cubes.  When the veg was tender, I added this to my mixture and stirred well.  I then added a pint of semi skimmed milk, stirred well and let the whole lot simmer gently and thicken.  I find you don’t need a thickening agent like flour, the potatoes do the job just fine.

Sometimes I love smooth velvety soup.  But today I felt like rustic and chunky.  So instead of blitzing I attacked it with the potato masher.  This thickened and squished it beautifully.  My last thing was to stir in a big dollop of low fat crème fraiche.  Love crème fraiche as it doesn’t split but adds that luxury creaminess.

10 minutes later I had bowls of thick creamy soup with a little leftover parsley and black pepper sprinkled on top.  Alongside hunks of comforting, warm, cheesy bread.

Oh goodness, the smell in my kitchen!

Well if reading this is making you hungry I do apologise.  Who am I kidding?  I’m trying to tempt you all deliberately.  Or is that on ‘Purpose

Happy Cooking!

Victoria