Snow Day Soup – Purple Chicken

Due to spillover from last week, and plans going awry this week, I ended up with a large pile of veggies to be used up.  It was a rag-tag random collection – some looking a little sorry for themselves after two weeks in a freezer-cold vegetable compartment in the fridge but I figured what the hey, that’s exactly what soup is for, right? Throw in everything leftover which wouldn’t have made a ‘meal’ on their own and out comes tasty vitamin-enriched goodness.  Wonderfully perfect, too, for a snowy winter day!

Purple Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 sml red onions
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 80g broccoli
  • 250g red cabbage
  • 300g baby new potatoes
  • 100g green beans
  • Small handful of fresh cranberries
  • 3 stock cubes (chicken, vegetable or a mix thereof)
  • 800ml water
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 200ml milk

Directions

  • Chop up all of the veg roughly – quartering the new potatoes.
  • Heat a tsp of olive oil and add the celery and onion to it, covering and leaving to soften for 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken to the pot and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Add all of the other ingredients except the lemon juice, boil for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, take the chicken out and shred, setting the meat from one aside.
  • Add the chicken from the other thigh back to the pot and blend with a hand blender.
  • Add the milk, heat and add the lemon juice.
  • Mix well and leave to sit for at least a few hours.

Extra Notes

I have to admit – this soup, when first made, was so-so.  It was not bad soup, just not overwhelmingly ‘Mmmmmm’.  However, on sitting it really improved in flavour =)

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Sunday (Honest!) Soup – Parsnip and Apple

This parsnip and apple soup from CookItSimply was one I picked at the last moment but I’m glad I did.  It was super simple to make, tasty and surprisingly light.

Parsnip and Apple Soup

Ingredients

450 g parsnips (about 4 medium-large parsnips)
1 large onion
2 tbsp olive oil
250g Cox’s apples (about 3)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
850 ml vegetable or chicken stock
285 ml milk
Salt and black pepper

Directions

Chop the onion finely, slice the parsnips; core, peel and chop the apples.

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions and cover with a lid to soften.

Once the onions have softened, add the nutmeg, apples, parsnips, stock and nutmeg, stirring well.

Simmer for around 15-20 minutes – the parsnips should be soft, but not falling apart.

Whiz with a hand blender.

Add the milk, season with salt and pepper.

Extra Notes

I sprinkled some chilli flakes on mine when done – it gave the whole thing a nice kick =)

Definitely a soup I’d make again – good quantities, simple ingredients and not too heavy.  Many parsnip soups are a little cloying but the apple seems to stop this one from being so at all.

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Sunday Soup – Curried Mango, Broccoli & Ginger

Sometimes when I see a recipe I must make it – this was one of those times.  Such an odd combination, for me, that I couldn’t resist finding out what it tasted like!

Adapted from this recipe at BBC GoodFood.

Curried Mango, Broccoli & Ginger Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • thumb of ginger
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 250g broccoli
  • 150g spinach
  • 1 medium mango
  • 1 red chilli
  • vegetable stock
  • 142ml single cream

Directions

  • Chop the onion, garlic, ginger, broccoli, mango and chilli.
  • Heat the oil, adding the curry paste, and the above chopped items once heated.
  • Cook gently for 5 minutes, then add the stock and spinach.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
  • Blend with a hand blender.
  • Add the cream, reheat and serve.

Extra Notes

  • I used spinach and broccoli mainly because I didn’t entirely pay attention when writing down quantities for this recipe and didn’t buy enough broccoli – thus the spinach can be replaced with an equal weight of broccoli.
  • The soup is lovely when first made but matures really well – it was super on the second day.

I had to take a picture of the pot of ingredients – it was such a lovely mish-mash of bright colours compared to the slightly white-green colour of the final soup.

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Saturday Soup – Celeriac, Leek & Goat’s Cheese Soup with Young Leaves

What in the world are ‘young leaves’ you ask? Well, given the title was mouthy enough as it is, I decided not to add ‘and watercress and rocket and spinach’. I think ‘young leaves’ covers them well as all of them are picked when young and fresh – perfect for imparting a delicate, bitter or spicy flavour depending on leaf and cooking with the most minimal application of steam. This recipe was inspired by BBC Good Food’s ‘Watercress and Celeriac Soup‘.  As you might notice, if you peruse their recipe – they also use a lot of leek but sortof leave it out of the title.  I felt this was a bit unfair on the poor leeks as they’re as much a part of the flavour as the celeriac!

Celeriac, Leek & Goat’s Cheese Soup with Young Leaves

Ingredients

  • 4 leeks
  • large knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celeriac peeled and diced (I used ~700g of celeriac)
  • 1½ l  stock
  • 200g bag of ‘spinach, watercress and rocket leaves’
  • 100g goat’s cheese

Directions

  • Heat the butter and olive oil until melted.
  • Chop the leeks and put them in the pan with the oil and gently cook for around 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Chop and add the celeriac and the stock (I used 1/3 ham to 2/3 veg stock).
  • Bring to a boil and then turn down and cook at a simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once cooked, turn off the heat and put the bags of leaves into the soup.
  • Mix the leaves in, giving them a minute or two to wilt.
  • Add the goat’s cheese, season well then blend the soup with a hand blender.

Extra Notes

I mainly changed from using just watercress as was suggested by the recipe this is based on to using mixed bags simply because Tesco didn’t have any undiscounted bags of watercress.  Discounted bags, whilst super if you’re going to use them that day, aren’t going to last a whole week, even for soup.  However, if you can get bags of just watercress then go for it – the strength of flavour would probably make the dish a little less bland than it turned out.

I served it as the original recipe suggested – with a ‘crouton’ made from a slice of baguette and goats cheese – this was really nice, but the reason the rest of the cheese ended up in  the soup was because I can’t be bothered fiddling with that sorta thing every time I dish out soup ;)

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Sunday Soup – Curried Carrot

I bought carrots last week for… something and I cannot remember what so I decided to make soup from them.  I didn’t want to just make carrot and coriander and a quick search brought up this curried carrot soup recipe from Food Network.  I upped the amount of curry in it by accident (misreading teaspoon as tablespoon) but this actually gave a really nice soup, so I’ve modified my version accordingly =)

Curried Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 5-600g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 500ml veg stock
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

  • Chop the carrots, celery and onion.
  • Add the oil and curry to a pan – I used mild/medium powder – and heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the chopped veg to the pan and mix well, letting it soften for ten minutes.
  • Add in the stock and tomato paste then boil for ten minutes.
  • Leave to cool and skim the oil from the surface, then blend.
  • Add the lemon juice, stir and serve.

Extra Notes

I often mix stock flavours unless it’s a particular flavour soup (chicken, for example).  This is a habit I learned from my mother and I’ve found that it really helps boost the flavours in some soups – lentil made with half chicken, half ham stock tastes much better to me than made with just one or other but, of course, using just one type would work and it’s all dependant on what you like!

This soup is warm.  I don’t really like ‘hot’ spicy food, but this has the kind of heat which leaves your mouth heated but not burning – perfect for me.  If you really don’t like a lot of spicyness you’ll want to tone it down a little, adding a little less powder and, conversely, if you like a little heat add hot curry powder rather than mild/medium.  A really nice soup to eat on a cool, misty autumn day.

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Smonday Soup – Celery, Herb and Almond

Whoops, got caught out this weekend and didn’t get my soup done in time, so for this week only (hopefully)  we have a Smonday Soup ;) Inspired by this recipe, here.

Celery is the marmite of the vegetable world – most people either love or hate it.  I’ve gone from hate to love – especially when it comes to adding it to soups – so it was a natural progression to try a soup with it as the main ingredient.  Despite that, though, this soup is only mildly celery flavoured with the odd burst of it when you crunch through an unblended stalk.

Celery, Herb & Almond Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 sticks of celery
  • 2 tbsps fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsps fresh marjoram
  • 2 tbsps fresh sage
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 50g almonds
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 300ml skimmed milk
  • 3 heaped tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt

Directions

  • Chop the onion and celery whilst the oil is heating in a saucepan.
  • Add the onions and celery to the oil and heat until softened.
  • Add in all other ingredients except the yoghurt.
  • Boil for around 15 to 20 minutes – the celery should be fairly soft.
  • Allow to cool slightly then blend with a hand blender.
  • Add in the yoghurt, and heat back up, stirring well.

A relatively simple, quick and tasty soup which was made quickly and used products that the garden happily provided.  I don’t often get to use marjoram, but its flavour comes through very well – you could probably leave the dill out, though, as the other herbs overshadow it.

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Saturday Soup – Chicken, Asparagus and Soy Bean

This week’s recipe brought to you by a last-minute kitchen search.  Last Sunday we were in a rush for our weekly shop and I forgot to grab anything for a soup – something I only realised mid-day today.  Oops.  Luckily Andy had been out one night this week unexpectedly and I had spare asparagus and some soy beans from that day’s aborted dinner.  A quick google and I was inspired by this recipe here to make the title soup.  I figured I could jazz it up a little with some other fresh ingredients – any excuse to use up more of the overgrowing parsley ;)

Chicken, Asparagus and Soy Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • Knob of butter
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 potato
  • 200g frozen soy beans
  • 1l stock – half chicken, half vegetable
  • 2 medium-small chicken breasts
  • ~12 spears of asparagus
  • ~8g fresh parsley (small handful)
  • Juice of one lemon

Directions

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and flour and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add the potatoes, soy beans, chicken, lemon juice and stock.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the parsley and asparagus, simmer for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove two to three ladelfuls, blend the remaining soup and add the chunky pieces back.

For something I put together at the last moment I’m really rather happy with how this turned out.  It was full of veg and, whilst creamy, didn’t have any excess fat in it.  For those super conscious about fat levels you could easily substitute the butter for olive oil or even just omit it if you have a good non-stick pan. It was super-easy to make, makes plenty and is a nice touch of bright flavour in the midst of what is becoming a rather dreary autumn.

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Saturday Soup – Lightly Spiced Pumpkin

Ok, I know, I know – we’re barely into October and here I am eagerly grappling with pumpkins but, the truth is, I’ve never cooked much with pumpkin before and as soon as I saw the culinary ones arrive in Tesco I knew I had to do something with them.  The first something is this soup!

The recipe is adapted from one by Barney Desmazery over at BBC GoodFood.

Lightly Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

  • 500g pumpkin flesh (~1 kg pumpkin, if you wish to make the base a bowl)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 600ml stock
  • 100ml water
  • 150ml carton of double cream
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Optional

  • 2 rashers streaky bacon
  • A few fresh coriander leaves
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds (made from those in the pumpkin, if you want!)

Directions

  • Heat the oil and add the onions to it to soften.
  • After the onions have softened, add the pumpkin flesh, cumin, coriander, ginger and a little black pepper mixing well and heat through for about ten minutes.
  • Add the stock and top up with the water, bring to the boil and simmer for ten to 15 minutes – until the squash is tender.
  • At this point add the cream, mix well, and bring back to the boil.
  • Take off the heat and leave to cool for a little while, then use a hand blender to purée.
  • Whilst the soup is cooling, cook the bacon and chop up the fresh coriander if you’re going to use it.
  • Reheat the soup, slice the bacon into small strips and sprinkle it, the seeds and the coriander onto the soup.

Extra Notes

  • You can bump up the amount of spice to your own taste – the amounts given are relatively mild so as not to overwhelm the pumpkin flavour.
  • To make your own roasted seeds simply wash, shake dry, put salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil on them and stick in the oven for 30 minutes or so at a medium-high heat.
  • If you make a bowl out of the base of the pumpkin, try and get as much flesh out as you can to minimise wastage without making holes in your bowl =)

Tasty, not too thick, and filling.  I’d definitely make this soup again but I suspect that I’ll only be able to make it once or twice a year since Tesco doesn’t stock pumpkins outside of October =(

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Saturday Soup – Cabbage and Fleischwurst

This recipe was one based on a soup my mother used to make but which I don’t have a recipe on-hand for.  Trying to find one online didn’t work either as most cabbage and sausage soups seemed to be tomato based which wasn’t what I was looking for.  The creamy soups I’ve been having for the last few months have spoiled me a little, but either way this soup is not the best I’ve made – it needs a little something to boost the flavour – though the blended version seemed to have brought them out better.   I actually love soft boiled cabbage, but if you don’t then this soup is definitely not for you!

Going to have to go back to the drawing board on this one, really.

Saturday soups is probably going to have to change to Sunday soups from now on.  During the summer, I had free Saturdays and busy Sundays and whilst Sundays remain busy, I now have tabletop gaming on a Saturday throughout the day. This means I can’t sit and write a post during the day and get a bit overtired at night (as happened yesterday).  This week blind-sided me a little, hence the post today, but I’m going to give it a few weeks of trying to get most of a post done on a Friday night before admitting defeat!

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Saturday Soup – Parsnip & Potato with Feta

This week I’ve ventured out into the big wide internet in search of interesting soup recipes rather than staying within my little BBC comfort zone.  Knowing I wanted to use up some leftover potatoes, I took that as a starting point and eventually came across the interesting ‘parsnip & potato with feta soup’ recipe over at taste.com.au.

I was first introduced to parsnip soup by an aunt of mine when we went to visit her – I’d never liked parsnips so I was a bit dubious about the notion of them as a soup but it was thick, creamy and delicious.  My palate has grown up a little since then and I relish parsnips alongside other things I hated when I was younger such as tomatoes, mushrooms, and chickpeas.

The only downside I’ve found to parsnip soup is that it can wear a little bit by the end of the bowl – getting a wee bit cloying because of the rich, thick parsnip flavour and texture.  The addition of the feta takes that away – it’s a nice, sharp, light note alongside the soft, sweet rooty veg.  The portions with this recipe are good too – the recipe is for four and each of those would get a generous portion and it’s easy enough to make with the ‘toppings’ being the only fiddly bit.

I decided to have a small second bowl with dinner – adding some beetroot salsa to the bottom of the bowl instead of the feta on top and it tasted quite nice – having the same cutting effect as the feta had though in a less sour way.  Both the beetroot and the mustard contributed to this flavour explosion and I’m tempted to actually try some sort of parsnip-beetroot or parsnip-mustard concoction.

My aim, next week, is to try to pick a very different soup!  Almost all of the ones I’ve done so far have been creamy or potato-ey.  Perhaps it’s time for a go at the classic french onion soup, or a thai noodle soup?   With the millions of recipes out there, I’m sure I can find something along that vein ;)

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