Spicy parsnip soup

Parsnips. Love ’em. The second most festive vegetable – but sprout soup doesn’t exactly appeal  😉 So, parsnips it was, and the quest was on to find something a bit interesting to do with them. Step forward: spicy parsnip soup, with ginger and garam masala, creamy but not too unhealthy.

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It’s been a long time since I made a new soup that impressed me quite as much as this one! I was a little concerned about using milk in a soup, but it worked fine, and means you get that creaminess without the calories of cream.

It does mean I’m not so sure about freezing any leftovers, which is one reason for the odd quantities in the recipe – well, that and I only had three parsnips! Actually, I quite like doing a smaller batch once in a while: less work, and no risk of getting fed up of the soup before it’s eaten!

One note: this isn’t the prettiest of soups, particularly while it’s cooking where the spices turn it a rather odd mushroomy colour. Don’t let that put you off – it tastes fantastic!

Butternut squash and sweet potato soup

Oh dear – I’ve managed to wander off again from this site, haven’t I? Cooking has been happening, and indeed I’ve had a minor foody revolution after taking some nutrition ‘lessons’! But apparently I don’t get much mileage out of salads when it comes to food blogging (which I should work on, next year, as there’s a lot to be said!), but now that the weather is heading back to autumn, we find ourselves back in soup season and boy, do I have a lot of soup recipes! 🙂

The veg of the moment has been butternut squash, and I’ve been using quite a bit in butternut and red pepper soup of late. However, as it gets colder I’ve been hankering after something a little more substantial-feeling, and I discovered this butternut and sweet potato recipe lurking in my archives – you know, I don’t even remember making this?! Time to rectify that!

This recipe is one that lends itself well to my ‘bung everything in a pan’ method. I was quite surprised not to be roasting the squash, but nope: all in the pan. I could call this “all the orange” soup: squash, sweet potato, carrots, and red lentils.

Once cooked, I was a little surprised to see a slightly oiliness to the soup – but I hadn’t bothered using oil, or softening the onions. Ah! That’ll be from the tomato puree! But, a little fat in your cooking isn’t bad, and indeed can help make the flavour react better on your tongue, or so I read!

This is a nice hearty soup, with a thick and satisfying texture. both from the lentils and the starches in the sweet potato. The mix of flavours has a sweetness plus a little bit of depth. I think it’d go very well with some ham added, maybe even some beans, if you wanted to make it a bigger meal. Experiment with the herbs used, too, as this is the main additional flavour and therefore quite prominent.

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Enjoy! 🙂

Spicy carrot and potato soup

spicy carrot and potato soupWhere would the new year be without lots of warming soups? I’ve been stuck in a rut enjoying cooking up batches of my usual favourites, such as winter veg and lentil, hearty lentil with kale, and minestrone with different beans and pasta shapes.

But it was high time to try a new recipe – or to put it another way, my fridge was full of veggies to use up, what could I find that would help?!

Step forward Spicy Carrot and Potato Soup. It’s been a while since I did a purely veg soup (no lentils or beans) as I tend to find them less satisfying. The heat from the spices here, however, add not only a lot of flavour but a sense that you’ve eaten your fill, however odd that seems!

As ever, I went with the super-easy, bung-everything-in-pan approach, and it worked excellently. Still raving about my stick blender for ease of pureeing the soup once it’s cooked, too.

As you can (just about) see from the photo, I served this with some cheesy rolls (part-baked rolls, taken out of the oven ~1 min ahead of time, halved and topped with some garlic powder, cheese, and chives before getting the last 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese). Made for a super-yummy, healthy, winter tea 🙂

Butternut squash and red pepper soup

Ah, the Scottish weather: one week it’s sunshine and salad, and the next we’re plunged back into winter (week? Sometimes this occurs on the same day. Seriously!).

This soup is, in my opinion, a good bridge between the seasons. It’s the lightest, most summer-y soup that I’ve tried, nice and light and yet still warming.

Despite the instructions in the recipe, I kind of forgot this time (I was having a bit of a binge-cook, and it got hectic!) and did my usual throwing everything into the pan – and it worked! You probably lose a little of the depth of flavour that roasting would give, but if you’re in a hurry then it’s an acceptable alternative.

I was using up the other half of the butternut squash (and a stray bit of yellow pepper, which went very well!) I’d used for the Butternut Squash and Bean Crumble, giving me half portions of each – so, three large portions of soup (although it freezes very well).

 

I’ve gone and bought salad for this week, so I imagine it’ll be snowing by Wednesday. Again 😉

Sweet potato and chilli soup

bowl of soupMORE soup?! I do cook other things, honest, but in this season I also cook a *lot* of soup! Generally I try to whip up a big pot every other weekend – this gives me a healthy, go-to meal for thle week (either lunch, or supper if I’ve eaten a bigger meal during the day), and the remainder can (usually) be frozen. I say ‘every other week’, as I don’t want to get fed up of eating nothing but soup!

This week, it was the turn of Sweet Potato and Chilli soup. With no lentils (for a change!) this is a thinner soup than many that I make, so you might want to add a little less liquid; it also tends to feel a little less filling – good or bad, as the situation calls for.

It also needs blended – I’ve become a huge fan of stick blenders for this, after realising that they don’t hurt the saucepan. No more transferring batches to my not-quite-big-enough jug blender! Just make sure you don’t lift the blender out of the pan while it’s still on – recipe for mess, and I speak from experience 😉

I’ve put fresh chillies in the recipe, but to be honest I’m lazy and I’ll usually just use powder. I prefer it, finding it easier to gage the heat. This time I went with fresh, and discovered my little packet was near heat-less, which was a tad disappointing. Stick to a quarter to a half teaspoon of chilli powder, depending on taste.

Minestrone

January and attempts at healthy eating go together like bread and butter, peaches and cream… oh, yeah 😉 In this cold weather, that means soup!

Minestrone was never a favourite of mine, until I stumbled across this recipe. Now it’s a regular, not least ‘cos it’s a great way to use up that tin of tomatoes from the back of the cupboard as well as a nice change from my usual lentil and veg based soups.

I like to use carrot, peppers and shredded cabbage in mine, but you can use things like courgettes or other (summer) veg, if you prefer. Also, try to use good quality tomatoes: the flavour really comes through if you don’t.

The ‘odd’ ingredient is perhaps the soy sauce – but trust me, it totally makes it! Also, don’t try to cut corners on the times: the long cooking time helps make this the nicest minestrone I’ve ever tried!

One last note: I don’t find this freezes particularly well – ok, if you have to, but the spaghetti goes a bit strange. So, try not to make too much at once and enjoy it fairly fresh instead.

Winter veg and lentil soup

Recipe is here.

Happy New Year, and time to get serious about this blog! What better way to start both the cooking and the year than with a healthy and hearty soup.

I first made this during November in an attempt to use up lots of veg I’d bought to make Root Vegetable Cobbler. I do like finding coordinating recipes – more on that later! The soup recipe I stumbled across was Winter lentil and vegetable on AllRecipes, but adapted it to suit (in particular, I didn’t like the thought of tomatoes and parsnip as a mix!). In the end, it turned into my fall-back carrot and lentil with extra veggies – but wow, those extra flavours were nom!

Plan is to have more photos to match the recipes soon, but in the meantime this is a healthy and very, very easy soup to make. A great way to start to redress some of the festive period’s overeating! 😉