The perfect winter warmer: soup

In the bleak mid-winter a bowl of soup is my favourite comfort food to ease me into an evening on the sofa, see below for two of my favourite recipes.

I have tried many diets and have little willpower to follow them strictly, anyone who finds success with the 5:2 has my awe (starvation made me angry).

Slimming world is much more appealing and while I don’t follow it rigorously, (limiting the wine intake proved difficult), I have adopted some cooking principles like avoiding butter and oil or firing up the grill instead of a pan.

Both of these soups are good stomach fillers, dieters can use Fry Light spray or if you feel a tad gluttonous use butter… the real stuff all the way.

Potato and Leek soup

Potato and Leek soup

Potato and Leek soup

• 5-10 grams of butter (or a few squirts of Fry Light)
• 1/2 an onion
• 4 leeks
• 6 medium sized potatoes
• 1 litre of chicken stock (vegetable is acceptable)
• 2 slices of streaky bacon (optional, this is for decorative purposes)
• Salt and pepper to season (but you know that already)
• 1 small cup of milk

In a saucepan melt the butter over a low heat or use a few squirts of Fry Light.

Finely chop an onion, add to the pan and gently sauté. If using Fry Light add a ladleful of stock to stop the onion sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Wash and chop the leeks. If you want to dress the soup at the end, reserve a handful of the leeks. Add the leeks to the saucepan.

Peel the potatoes and chop into chunks and add to the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, add the remaining stock and bring to a boil.

Now let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.

When the potatoes are soft, liquidise the soup in a blender until it is silky and smooth, return to the saucepan, add milk and heat through.

If you are going the decorative route chop the bacon and fry with the reserved leeks. Once they are crispy pat dry and sprinkle on to the centre of the soup.

This adds a slight crunch, texture I believe the professionals call it. This serves four.

Carrot, Coriander and Ginger soup

I have been perfecting my carrot and coriander soup for a few years now and usually always get it right, although I do recall aborting one batch because I let it boil dry, but surely every cook would confess to the odd burnt bit.

Ginger has been a recent addition after I sampled this variation in Snax n the City. Basically I have added ginger to my original recipe and it seems to work, lending a bit of heat to the sweetness of the carrots.

IMG_0106 (2)

• 1/2 an onion
• Roughly 35 grams of ginger (unpeeled, otherwise it might be to gingery)
• 5 coriander seeds, crushed
• 6 medium sized carrots
• 1 litre of vegetable stock
• 5-10 grams of butter (or Fry Light)
• ½ cup of milk

By this stage you know the drill, melt the butter, chop the onion and gently fry to soften. Peel and grate the ginger and add to the pan, then chop and add the carrots.

Mix well and season, add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the carrots are soft.

Blend the soup with some fresh coriander and return to the saucepan and if you like your soup creamy add 1/2 a cup of milk.

Garnish with a sprig of coriander or chopped parsley and serve with wheaten bread for a perfect winter warmer.

Serves two to four depending on how hungry you are.

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