Pea and Mint Soup

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Soup – such a simple, short word that belies the depth of variety and flavours to be had from this liquid food. From light consommé to thick, hearty stews containing delicious chunks of meat and vegetables, soups serve to make wonderful meals and are great for using up leftovers and vegetables close to their sell by dates.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

1.2l of vegetable stock

900g of frozen peas

2 tsp of dried mint (or couple of sprigs of fresh mint, washed and finely chopped)

Salt and pepper to season

Dawn: There’s nothing to beat the taste of a really good, homemade soup and the real benefit of crafting your own is that you know exactly what has gone in to it. 

Andrew: Yes, and I really like how soups can be served piping hot or chilled – which remind me of Mediterranean holidays!

Dawn: Dreaming in the kitchen! Yet that’s the beauty of food: it can transport us to places and times bringing make memories whilst creating new ones. So, let’s press on and create a memorable meal here. 

Method

  • Place the onion in a medium sized saucepan and add a little of the vegetable stock. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onion starts to become transparent in look.
  • Add the frozen peas and the rest of the stock. Bring to boiling point and then lower the heat to low, to allow the ingredients to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the peas are soft. Test with a fork by prodding a pea or two to test if they are soft.
  • Add the mint and sample the taste. Add seasoning.
  • With a hand held blender, blend the ingredients until all are combined. Serve with warmed, crusty bread.

Andrew: Soups can have traditional accompaniments such as croutons and grated cheese that are served with French onion soup as well as ingredients such as cream or yoghurt swirled on top like here. 

Dawn: Or crispy bacon bits, fresh herbs – even small pasta pieces! You can just about use anything that compliments the main ingredients and enhances a soup’s flavours. You really are only limited by your own imagination! 

For more imaginatively simple, easy and economically appealing meals and tips, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and the Cooking Duo’s Twitter account @Love_Food_UK and see you there for a daily new recipe. 

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Mushroom Soup

DSCI1421 A real “must” for when Winter bites!

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

450g of mushrooms, peeled and sliced

1pt of vegetable stock

1pt of milk (full, semi or skimmed, whatever is your preference)

1 tsp of dried basil

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • Place the onion in a deep saucepan with a little splash of warm water: cook until the onion is tender and becomes transparent in look.
  • Add the vegetable stock and almost all the sliced mushrooms, keeping back a few to use to garnish the dish when cooked.
  • Bring the ingredients up to boil and then turn down the heat to allow the ingredients to simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a frying pan, add the remaining sliced mushrooms and a splash of water: cook until they appear caramelised and then set aside.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and while stirring the mushrooms, slowly pour in the milk, stirring all the time. Return the saucepan to the hob and heat gently, adding the dried basil and season to taste.
  • Serve in warmed dishes and atop each with the seperately cooked mushrooms.

Dawn: A simple and easy soup recipe to serve any time of day. 
Andrew: Very nice, too. For more easy-to-cook meals, follow thsi blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and our Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK.

Roast Butternut Squash and Rosemary Soup

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Here’s a lovely and tasty, low cost soup to snuggle up with – costs pence to make and once you start making your own, you’ll really taste the difference between gorgeous homemade soups and those that are shop bought, mass produced ones.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 medium sized butternut squash (thoroughly washed)

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

1.2 l of vegetable stock

1 tsp of dried rosemary

Salt and pepper to season

Dawn: What I love about this recipe is that by roasting the butternut squash prior to adding, the final taste when eating the soup gives an almost ‘toffee caramel’ taste. 

Andrew: And just to point out that the butternut squash doesn’t need to be roasted beforehand as it can be peeled, de-seeded and cut into small chunks to add when required. 

Dawn: That’s right, Andrew and all you need do is keep checking the squash is cooked by pressing a fork into it: when the fork goes in all the way, the squash is cooked. I do like to leave the outer skin on though and roast it before making this soup – it really adds to the taste. Remove the wee ‘knot’ of the stalk, beforehand, obviously. 

Andrew: How do we start this Winter Wonder, Dawn? 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200 °C electric.
  • Cut the washed butternut squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and pulp surrounding them. Score with a sharp knife, diagonal lines and criss-cross the length of the squash. Place on a non-stick baking tray and place in the centre of the oven.

Dawn: Scoring the flesh of the squash before placing it in the oven makes it easier for the baking to add to the roasting effect, giving the heat rough edges to cling onto and so adding to the toffee caramel taste I simply adore! 

  • Cook until the squash starts to acquire a chargrilled roasted look to the cut parts. This will take approximately 45-60 minutes to achieve.
  • When the butternut squash has cooked, put the dried rosemary into a medium sized saucepan and toast for 2-3 minutes until the rosemary has started to release its sweet aromas.
  • Add the chopped onion and a little warm water. Cook for about approximately 5-10 minutes until softened and starting to become transparent-looking.
  • Tear the butternut squash up into smaller chunks and add to the onion along with the vegetable stock. Bring the ingredients to the boil and then cover, simmer for 20 minutes.
  • With an electric handheld blender, pulp the ingredients until they have combined to form a thick gooey consistency. Add the salt and pepper to personal preference.
  • Serve in warmed bowls on its own or with a mixed green salad.

Dawn: Butternut squash is a marvellous source of betacarotene which helps to protect against heart disease and cancer. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, calcium and pitassium.

Andrew: WOW! A real “super food”, Dawn! And in this instance, cooking with the skin on retains a lot of the goodness, too. 

For more easy-to-make recipes and cooking tips, follow the Cooking Duo’s blog here and the Twitter feed over @Love_Food_UK