Remember my things I love series I did in May?
I thought I'd surprise you all with a few more! :)
I am quite mad about soup. It's one of those meals that manages to satisfy your stomach and soothe your soul at the same time.
I remember my love of soup beginning when I was a teenager. I would scour my mother's old recipe books and make soups for lunch on the weekend and during school holidays. I remember having weird ones with mushrooms, sherry and chives in them, and more homely ones that were basically pureed vegetables with a big dollop of Promite stirred through. I made potato and leek, minestrone, and chicken and corn.....and sometimes I'd just be lazy and heat up a can of Rosella tomato and have it with toast. I must (sheepishly) admit that in those days it wasn't so much what something would taste like that I was worried about but...how many calories did it have in it? How much fat? Oh, what a waste of time and effort that turned out to be! I lost 25kg the year I turned 16, but I'd put it all back on, plus more, by the time I was 22. But that's another story! I, as you probably guessed, learned to love my food again and develop a better relationship with it. But my love of soup has always prevailed.
My mum makes one of the best soups in the world - sweet potato and pumpkin. Whenever I make it now, I make it exactly to her recipe, and the first mouthful from the stockpot is always heavenly and squeezes at my heart a little, because it tastes like home.
Some of my favourite soups have been discovered by trying them in a cafe or restaurant, and then trying to recreate it at home. When I lived in Hobart, there was a wonderful cafe called 4Lunch which always had an impressive line up of soup cauldrons. A friend and I got a soup from there one day which was moroccan chickpea and lentil. It was so incredibly amazing that I looked up recipes on the internet, and tasted and tweaked until I got it just about right! I still make it now.
Another of my favourites is a version of minestrone which has short pasta, vegetarian bacon, and every vegetable in the world you can think of, topped with a dollop of chunky homemade pesto.
Soup really is one of the most nourishing meals I can think of. It can be as light as you want, or a thick and hearty complete meal in itself. It's all I want to eat when I'm ill or feeling a bit delicate. Last week we were in Wales with Tom's family, and I was beset with pre-monstrosity. Tom's mother gave me a steaming bowl of vegetable soup, laced with barley, and suddenly my horns disappeared and all was right with the world.
Even though it hasn't been "soup weather" in London lately, it has certainly cooled off and after today's ferocious, almost horizontal, downpour I knew exactly what I was in the mood for. When the sun has disappeared from the sky, the air is cool and the clouds are black, a bowl of something warm and delicious is just the ticket!
Tonight's was butternut squash, chilli and lime.
Would you like the recipe?
I made it up, based on the offering in the staff canteen today! It was 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks, 1 onion, 1 medium fresh red chilli, 2 cloves garlic, 1 knob ginger, a bit of sweet chilli sauce, the juice of two limes, and vegetable stock. Simmer it all together for about half an hour, then whizz. Simple.
The other soup I love, that is my never fail soup when I have a cold, or just want to whip up something impressive for unexpected friends on a rainy Saturday lunchtime, is this one, which I was introduced to by a workmate when I lived in Melbourne four years ago. We used to go to the Queen Victoria markets on Tuesdays at lunchtime, as it was a short walk from our building, and do our fresh produce shopping. It took me ages to learn to shop for one! I always bought so much stuff! But anyway, I remember her picking up a bunch of English spinach and asking her what she was going to make with it. She told me about the soup, and gave me the recipe. I've never looked back, apart from, when I stopped eating meat, replacing the chicken with Quorn fillets and the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Even with those amendments, it's still an absolute winner. Try it, it's absolutely glorious.
So, while I'm grasping at every last drop of summer sunshine and gorgeous muggy heat in the air, I'm not too despondent knowing that summer will breathe its last at some point, the autumn leaves will start falling, it will start getting darker earlier, and there will be soup.
What's your favourite soup?
Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two p
ennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
- Lewis Carroll