Creamy celery soup

Here in Scotland we’ve had our fairly typical clash of weather: unseasonably hot and sunny not so long ago, and today I woke up to snow. Likewise, eating choices have switched from a bit of salad back to soup.

It’s not to everyone’s taste, but I’m a big fan of celery and its delicate peppery taste. Last week I was using it as a crudite to dip in houmous, but as ever – even if the weather hadn’t turned on me! – I ended up with half a head or so left in the fridge in danger of going soggy. Time to have a go at a celery soup, methinks!

celery soup

I was having a conversation with a colleague during the week about how soup is usually such a large batch to use up all the veg you’ve bought, that you’re fed up of it before you’re done. I’ve been there many a time (thank goodness for freezers, eh?!) – and relatively recently (esp with the parsnip soup, my first ‘milk’ soup and one I wasn’t willing to try freezing) ‘twigged’ how to reign myself in and make smaller batches! This one was even more restrained that the 2-3 portions of chicken and rice soup that really only started off as one portion – this one *is* one portion! But, given the purpose was to use up the celery then that’s perfect.

You can find my cobbled together recipe here. I added potato for a little extra thickness, and to be honest it was maybe a bit much with the roux base – or, I should have used plain flour instead of trying to cheat with cornflour!

If you want a really smooth soup you’re going to have to prep the celery much better than I did, removing the stringiest bits. Blenders are going to struggle with this, I think. I didn’t bother too much.

I used to love cream of celery soup – from a tin, argh! – when I was a kid. This tasted pretty much spot on for those memories. The milk made it creamy but not unhealthy, and – main aim! – my fridge is wilt-y celery free 😉

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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 😉

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! 😉