Cabbage and bean soup

Another soup made from beans, root vegetables and cabbage:

  • 1 tbsp olive oilCanellini&cabbage_soup
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (chopped)
  • 3 bacon rashers (thinly sliced)
  • 1 largish potato (diced)
  • Piece of swede (same size as the potato – diced)
  • 550mls vegi stock
  • 1/2 400g tin of cannellini beans (drained)
  • 100g cavolo nero or savoy cabbage (roughly chopped, with thick stalks removed)
  • 1 tbsp basil pesto
  • Seasoning (black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice)

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the bacon and stir-fry until it just begins to brown. Turn down the heat and gently cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, potato and swede, and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Then add the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Turn up the heat and stir in the beans and cabbage, add more water (if necessary), and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the pesto and season to taste. Serve.

Tomato and celery soup


I had some chicken stock which I’d made after boning and skinning some chicken thighs, and the end of a head of celery, so I made this soup. Enough for 3:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • About 1/3rd of a head celery (washed and sliced)
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 750ml chicken stock (the real thing, or a cube etc)
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Lemon juice and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the celery and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the cream and blend using a hand blender. Reheat until just boiling. Remove from the heat and season with lemon juice and black pepper to taste.

Serve with croutons (see final paragraph sweet potato and red pepper soup).

Carrot and coriander soup


Enough for 4:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 1 heaped tsp grated ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 3 large carrots (finely sliced)
  • 2 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • 1 litre water
  • Juice of 1/2 orange (small)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander (torn)
  • Croutons (see final paragraph sweet potato and red pepper soup)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in  the garlic, ginger and coriander, and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the stock powder and water. Stir, and bring to the boil. Then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.

Purée (using a hand blender or a liquidiser). Add the orange juice and black pepper to taste. Serve with croutons and fresh coriander.


Tuscan bean soup


This is a quick hearty soup for supper (enough for 3).

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 medium carrot (diced)
  • 1 stick celery (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 200g passata (or half a tin of chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 litre hot water
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vegi-stock powder
  • large pinch of oregano
  • 1 large courgette (sliced)
  • 2 handfuls of pasta (something similar to macaroni is good, but any pasta will do)
  • about 20 green beans (topped, and cut in half)
  • 1 tin borlotti beans (drained)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 80g finely grated Parmigiano (or strong cheddar)

Heat a small amount of oil in a large saucepan. Add the diced onion, carrot and celery, and fry gently for about 5 minutes (this is the Italian ‘soffritto‘ which is the basis of many Italian dishes). Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the passata. the hot water, the stock powder and the oregano. Stir and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the courgette and continue to simmer.

After 5 minutes add the pasta and simmer more rapidly for about 7 minutes. The add the green beans and simmer for another 2 minutes, then add the borlotti beans and simmer for about 2 more minutes.

Make sure the pasta is cooked (if not simmer a little longer). Then add black pepper to taste, and serve with grated cheese.


Spicy lentil soup


Served here with croutons and fresh coriander.

This quantity will feed at least four people and with hunks of wholemeal bread makes a excellent supper:

  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced)
  • 1 large celery stick (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (sliced/roughly chopped)
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes (more if you like it hot)
  • a piece of fresh ginger (about 2cm square – chopped)
  • a good pinch of mixed herbs (or oregano or something similar)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (plus twice as much water)
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or stock cube equivalent)
  • 150g orange split lentils (washed under the cold tap in a sieve)
  • 2 tbs double cream
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chilli, ginger, herbs and turmeric. Mix the ingredients well, turn down the heat and stir frequently over a lowish heat for about five minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, the water, the stock powder and the lentils. Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for about thirty minutes.

Blend the soup – in a liquidiser, food processor, or use a hand blender (my preference because it is so much easier to clean than a liquidiser or food processor) in the saucepan.

Stir in the cream and heat the soup until it just starts to boil. Add  the lemon juice and pepper to taste. At this point the soup is still very thick. You can add some cold water which will reduce the overall temperature so that it can be eaten immediately (if you are freezing it, it saves space).

Smoked Haddock Chowder


I felt autumn coming on, and the need for a steaming, warming bowl of think tasty soup. As I had a smoked haddock fillet in the freezer and some streaky bacon about to go out of date, I decided to cook smoked haddock chowder.

This quantity would be a evening meal for two (with some bread) or a starter for four (in this case add more fish stock), you could also pad it out with more potatoes and sweetcorn):

  • oil
  • a small onion (chopped)
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon (thinly sliced (at right angles to the rind (or where it would be!)))
  • 2 medium sized potatoes (washed and cubed (sides about 1cm to 1.5cm))
  • 600ml water
  • 1/2 fish stock cube (or 1 tsp vegi stock powder)
  • a small fillet of smoked haddock
  • a 300 g tin of sweetcorn
  • 2 tbsp double cream (or you could reduce the amount of stock and replace it with milk)
  • lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped parsley

Heat a small amount of oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion, stir and decrease the heat so that it cooks gently for about five minutes. Turn up the heat, add the chopped bacon and stir fry for about two minutes. Add the cubed potatoes and stir for a further minute. Add the water and crumble in the stock cube (or the vegi stock powder). Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the fish (skin and all – this will add flavour and can be removed once the fish has cooked) and continue cooking for about five minutes (by this time the flakes of fish should be separating and you can remove the skin). If using frozen fish add to the soup about five minutes earlier so that it cooks for 10 minutes.

Add the sweetcorn and bring the soup back to the boil. Add the cream, stir and gently heat until it just boils. Switch off the heat, stir in the lemon juice (how much depends on taste), the black pepper and the parsley. Serve.

Sweet potato and red pepper soup


Enough for four:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 red pepper (cored, seeded and roughly chopped)
  • 500g sweet potato (peeled and sliced)
  • 750ml water
  • 1 heaped tsp of vegetable stock powder
  • freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Lower the heat and add the onion, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Stir in the cummin and cook for a further two minutes. Then add the red pepper and the sweet potato.  Cook for a further five minutes, then add the water and the stock powder. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat, Blend with a hand blender (or liquidise) and add black pepper and lemon juice to taste

Serve with croutons (two slices of wholemeal bread cubed, mixed with 2 tbsp of oil, grilled on a baking sheet, turning over occasionally).

Try these when you’ve got a cold!

I’ve no idea whether these two suggestions really do any good, but they always make me feel better:

  1. Lemon juice, honey and ginger ‘tea’ – juice of half a large lemon, dessert spoon of honey (I use manuka honey) and a piece of root ginger (approx. 2cm x 4cm) grated. Mix the lemon juice and the honey in a cup, put the grated ginger in another container and add sufficient water to cover the ginger (put a lid on top and leave for 5 mins). Strain the ginger ‘tea’ into the lemon juice and honey and top up with hot water;
  2. Garlic soup – 5 peeled garlic cloves (chopped), 4 small potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced), about 10g of butter, a litre of chicken stock, a little chopped parsley. Gently sauté the garlic and potatoes in a pan with the melted butter, add the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Blend the contents of the pan and add the chopped parsley to finish.
  3. I’d try this as well from Jack Monroe: Ultimate Feisty Soup

Setting the scene

Last week Sainburys had a deal on legs of New Zealand lamb. I had intended to only buy half a shoulder of lamb as I wanted to make lamb, squash and orzo stew.

The legs were altogether cheaper, so I bought one and carried out some amateur butchering. The bone was used for the stock required for this recipe (using up some green parts of leeks which had been left over for a few weeks, as well as celery, carrot, onion and a courgette). I had masses of stock left over so I made something which I would describe as Scotch Broth. This was a thick soup made from onions and a number of root veg which, yet again, were left overs (celeriac (the rest had been used for remoulade); swede (left over from Burns Night); and a parsnip (left over from Christmas – things last a long time in a crate in the garage in winter!); pearl barley; and some frozen petit pois (added just before eating). This in itself contributed to two meals.

Back to the butchering: I divided the meat into three pieces. The shank was used in the stew recipe above. The nice lean bit (the thigh?), I rolled and tied, and this was frozen along with the third portion.

I have since defrosted the thigh, seasoned it with ras el hanout and slow roasted it, served with harissa couscous and roasted vegetables. The third portion will probably end up in a Kashmiri curry.

No photos this time, as I only decided to start this blog yesterday. In future there will be images!