LENTIL & SMOKED BACON SOUP

Method:
  • Soak all the lentils together in lots of cold water overnight. Drain well and set aside.
  • In a saucepan melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes then add the onions garlic and celery. Cover and sweat until soft but not coloured on a gentle heat. Then add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
  • Add the lentils, tomatoes, paprika, chilli, bay and mustard along with the stock.
  • Increase the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender.
  • Pulse with a stick blender a couple of times to break up the veg a little bit. Do not blend smooth.
  • Add a bit more stock if neccessary at this stage.
  • Add the spinach and lemon and adjust seasoning. 

Enjoy! x

Roasted Tomato Soup

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180c.
  • Line a baking tray with foil.
  • Place tomato and onion on tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Season and roast for 1 and 1/2 hours or until tomatoe and onion are very soft and slightly charred.
  • Meanwhile heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Cook the garlic, ginger and chilli, stirring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato juice, coconut milk and chopped corriander then simmer for 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the sugar, fish sauce, roasted tomato and onion, plus any cooking juices.
  • Simmer for a further two minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve with a drizzle of natural yogurt and warm roti bread.

Rumbly Red Pepper Soup

Method:

  • Chop onion, sautee slowly on low heat in pan with olive oil.
  • Add chopped garlic for one minute.
  • Add chilli flakes.
  • Add chopped red pepper.
  • Increase heat for a few mins.
  • Add black pepper and salt.
  • Add chicken stock.
  • Reduce heat, simmer for 10 mins.
  • Use hand blender but keep texture chunky.
  • Add milk or cream.
  • Serve with spring of coriander if you're feeling fancy!

Smoked Haddock Chowder

Method:

  • Place haddock fillets in a large wide pot.
  • Cover with 5 cups cold water. Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until fish is just cooked, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer fish to a plate; let cool. Discard skin and any scales; flake fish into large pieces.
  • Set a strainer over a medium bowl; strain poaching liquid and reserve.
  • [To substitute smoked whitefish for haddock: Discard bones and skin from 1 1/2 pounds smoked whitefish. Put fish, 2 thick-cut slices smoked bacon (about 2 ounces), and 4 cups water in a large wide pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; remove fish with a slotted spoon after 5 minutes. Continue simmering liquid (with bacon) until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain liquid; discard solids. Add 3 cups water; set aside.]
  • Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add leek and celery and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in dry mustard, then reserved poaching liquid, potatoes, and thyme sprigs.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove half of the cooked potatoes and place in a small bowl.
  • Finely mash potatoes with a fork; return to chowder to thicken.
  • Remove chowder from heat and stir in reserved fish, cream, and chives.
  • Serve in warmed bowls with Common Crackers .

Spicy Vegetable Soup

Largely an experiment, this came from a mish mash of random vegetables I had in the house.

I was curious as to what aubergine would be like in a soup, turns out it's quite good for thickening soup in place of a potato.

Soften down all the veg, add all of the seasonings and sweat for 5 minutes. When at desired consistency, add water and then reduce until cooked through.

Red Pepper and Chickpea Soup

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  • Roughly chop the onion and add it to the oil.
  • Fry it gently for 5 minutes.
  • The pan should be hot enough to let the onion soften but not so hot that the onion starts to go brown.
  • Add the chopped red pepper and fry for 3 minutes.
  • Then add the chopped/crushed clove of garlic and as much red chilli as you like.
  • Leave out the seeds unless you like things very hot!
  • Fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the coriander, turmeric and the cumin and fry for 1 minute.
  • Then drain the tin of chickpeas and add the chickpeas to the soup with the vegetable stock.
  • Bring it all to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, but not cooked to mush.
  • Liquidise the soup (you can use a hand held blender or a normal liquidiser).
  • Squeeze the lime and add the juice to the soup.
  • Taste the soup to see if it needs any extra salt or pepper and serve with pita bread that has been warmed in the toaster.

Basic French Dressing

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients together and toss with salad leaves :-)

The Real Mushroom Soup

When I first moved to London I worked in the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden. It was famous for its wild mushrooms, and my mate Gennaro used to go out every day during mushroom season to find them. It was in this restaurant that I tasted a real mushroom soup for the first time. Those awful tins of mushroom soup that we've all tasted just became a distant memory! The nice thing about nearly all mushrooms is that, if cooked correctly, they do have wonderful flavour. If you were to use a field of Portabello mushrooms to make a soup, just adding a tiny bit of dried porcini into the base would make the whole thing more luxurious.

Method:

  • Place the porcini in a small dish, add boiling water just to cover, and leave to soak.
  • Get a large casserole-type pan nice and hot, then add a good couple of lugs of olive oil and your fresh mushrooms.
  • Stir around very quickly for a minute, then add your garlic, onion, butter and thyme and a small amount of seasoning.
  • After about a minute you'll probably notice moisture cooking out of the mushrooms and at this point add half of your porcini, chopped up, and the rest left whole.
  • Strain the soaking liquid to remove any grit, and add it to the pan.
  • Carry on cooking for about 20 minutes until most of the moisture disappears.
  • Season to taste, and add your stock.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.
  • I usually remove half the soup from the pan and whiz it up to a purée at this point, then pour it back in, adding the parsley and mascarpone, and seasoning carefully to taste.
  • You can serve this soup as you like, but there are a few things to remember when finishing it off.
  • Mix together a pinch of salt and pepper with the zest of one lemon and the juice of half of it, then spoon a little of this into the middle of the soup.
  • When you go to eat it, stir it in and it gives a wonderful flavour.
  • Other things you can consider are little slices of grilled crostini put into the bottom of the bowls before the soup is poured over.
  • Or you could even quickly fry some nice-looking mushrooms – like girolles, chanterelles or oysters – and sprinkle these on top of the soup.
  • If I was going to use truffle oil, then I would use it on its own – a few drips on the top just before serving!

French Onion Soup

Method:

  • In a large non-stick saucepan, heat 1/4 cup vegetable broth.
  • Stir in the onion and cook over medium heat until golden, 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the sugar and flour.
  • Pour in the remaining 5 cups vegetable broth and the wine.
  • Stir in the bay leaf, thyme and black pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and let boil 8 minutes, stirring constantly; then reduce heat, partly cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven broiler.
  • Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and stir in brandy.
  • Rub garlic clove over toast.
  • Ladle the soup into 4 ovenproof bowls and float a piece of toast on top of each bowl. S
  • prinkle with the Parmesan.
  • Place bowls under broiler until cheese melts :-)

A-Maize-ing Corn Chowder

Method:

  • Fry bacon in a Dutch oven until crisp; remove bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings.
  • Crumble bacon and set aside.
  • Saute onion in reserved drippings until tender; add potatoes and water.
  • Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Stir in milk, corn, salt, and pepper to taste; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.
  • Sprinkle with crumbled bacon to serve.
  • Tips: simmer for an extra 15 or add some corn starch to thicken if necessary.
  • Add chicken broth instead of water if you like!

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