Category Archives: Soup

Red Lentil and Roast Capsicum Soup

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Roast Capsicum Red Lentil Soup

This winter we have had some of the coldest winter nights that I can remember in Sydney.  Lots of beautiful warm sunny days, but some really bitter nights and early mornings.  These are nights on which you crave something warm and hearty with loads of flavor for your evening meal.

For a lot of people that might mean a rich and chunky beef casserole, or a hearty minestrone, not a vegetarian or vegan soup.  This soup is rich and filling and full flavoured.  It leaves you feeling satisfied and warm inside, and in no way craving a hit of meat.

  • 4 red capsicums
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 lg cloves garlic
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 lg red onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 100 g kumara, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 c dried red lentils
  • 9 c good quality vegetable stock
  • 3 T fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 190C.

De-seed capsicum and cut into about 8 strips each.  Spread 2 T oil over a baking tray and place capsicums pieces on it in a single layer.  Press garlic over the capsicum and mix to distribute.  Place in oven and roast until capsicum is soft.

In a large soup pot on medium heat, sauté the onions and celery in the remaining oil until becoming translucent.  Add cumin, kumara and lentils with just enough stock to prevent sticking to the pan.  Cook for one minute then add remaining stock and bring the pot to a boil. Boil for one minute and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook until all ingredients are cooked.  Season to taste. Chop capsicum into small pieces (removing skin is optional – with this soup I don’t) and add to soup.  Simmer for 5 minutes, add coriander and turn off the heat.

Serve with thick pieces of fresh bread.  Enjoy!

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A soup and another award nomination!

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The wonderful summer break is about to come to a close after weeks of sun and surf, boating and seafood, and fun times with friends.  The kids return to school next Wednesday, and  I dread the return to routine (although it’s a pretty shoddy semblance of routine that’s followed in our house!) that must come with the return to reality. But it has been a lovely start to the year.

2013 Summer Break

Adding to my sense of well being receiving another nomination for blog award!  Always very exciting and validating. It’s a funny thing, but each award nomination I have received has come while I have been having fun at the coast.  I must go down there more often…!

Because this is actually my second time nominated for the Versatile Blogger award, I thought that rather than formally accept it, I would like to share some thoughts on the blog / blogger who nominated me.

The nomination came from Feed the piglet… . I have followed this blog for some time now.  I have to confess that I started to follow it because I couldn’t resist the name, but there are lots of lovely and healthy recipes to be found, entertaining tales and really fabulous photos. I go to this blog often when I am seeking inspiration.  The recipes are generally easy with ingredients that you have to hand or are easy to obtain, but often have something a bit different in them – some unusual or unexpected combinations of flavours.

I have added a number of his recipes to my ‘must make’ list – next is the Eggplant and Mushroom Pate, which looks mouth wateringly good.  The other day I made the Leek and Parsley soup (version 2), and it was delicious.  What really grabbed me was the idea of combining the soup with melted brie on toast.

Leek and Parsley Soup

Recipe, (as slightly modified from Feed the piglet…)

  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed and washed well
  • 200 g salad potatoes, washed
  • 1 stalk celery and 1 zucchini, chopped (not in the original but I needed to use up!)
  • 700 ml water
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1/2 t chilli powder / flakes (I omitted this so that my little one would eat it)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • single cream to serve

Saute the leeks, potatoes and celery for about 15 minutes on a low heat, then turn heat up to medium.  Add zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes. Add water, stock cubes, chilli, bay leaf and about half the parsley.  Bring to the boil, and cook until all vegetables are fully cooked.

Remove from heat.  Take bay leaf out and blend the soup til smooth. Taste to see if any salt or additional parsley are required.  Blend again if necessary, and return to pan. Re-heat to serve.   Add the cream to thin the soup if necessary – the cream is optional, it tastes lovely without too.

I served with the brie on toasted ciabatta and the combination was magic!

So thank you to Feed the piglet, for the nomination and the inspiration!

Broccoli Potato Soup

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On soccer nights I must have a filing and nutricious meal for the budding soccer star, but one that isn’t too heavy.  I feed him before he goes and then give him more when he gets home.  So he needs to be able to play sport after eating, and he eats right before bed because he comes home so late.  For this reason I often try to make a meat free option.  I was inspired to make a potato-based soup by a recipe I found on petit4chocolatier, where I often find ispiration.

Recipe

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 200 g button mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 750 g  potatoes
  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 t dried mixed herbs
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1.5 L vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c sour cream
  • handful grated tasty cheese

In a large saucepan, saute onion, mushrooms and celery.  Once cooked, add remaining vegetables, herbs, soy sauce and stock. Add water if soup is too thick.  Once all vegetables are cooked through, turn heat off and cool enough to blend.  Blend in batches with a bit of the milk and sour cream in each batch.  Return to pan, add cheese and heat gently.  Serve with hot bread.

Fresh Pea Soup

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I love peas.  Not those boiled to a pulp soggy sad things that used to accompany your average meat and three veg meals of years past.  Fresh plump juicy peas. Fresh peas are especially good raw.  They are sweet and crunchy, and great in salads or even just on their own as a snack. The other bonus is that they are really healthy: full of protein and fibre, and they help to lower cholesterol.

This is a wonderful rich tasting and satisfying soup, that is very quick to prepare.  With the high protein content of the peas it is also a great meat free option.

Recipe

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 small brown onion, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 800 g fresh shelled peas (or high quality frozen peas)
  • 2 small potatoes, washed but not peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 t dried mixed herbs
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 4 T sour cream
  • 4 T finely chopped fresh parsley, with extra to serve

In large saucepan, saute onion in butter until becoming translucent. Add celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add peas, potatoes, herbs and stock and cook until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat.  Once cool enough, blend the soup in batches, adding some of the sour cream each time. Return to pan and add parsely. Gently re-heat until ready to serve.

Serve with a loaf of warm sour dough bread, and some parsley sprinkled over the soup.

Sweet Potato Soup

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When I was little sweet potato was an uncommon vegetable on Aussie dinner tables – none of my friends would have recognised one. It was one of those foods that confirmed my status of ‘hippy kid’.  Sweet potato  became a regular feature in our kitchen when our bohemian pantry was at its most dreary – I think of that time as the Era of Culinary Austerity.  No extras on hand to spice up a meal so our cooked sweet potato was bland, and yet often the tastiest element of the meal.  Sad days.

This recipe has been adapted from one in the latest Woolworths Australian Good Taste magazine. Woolworths is running a promotion which involves inviting readers to cook specified recipes and upload to the www.taste.com.au website.  Since I am always on the hunt for inspiration, I thought I might as well give this challenge a go, and try to break my bad attitude towards the humble sweet potato.

I don’t think I would have tried this recipe if it weren’t for the promotion because I wasn’t convinced about using red curry paste in this kind of recipe.  I also thought there was a risk that the sweet potato would be too heavy a flavour for the soup. However, the result was a delicious and filling dish, and one that even the sprogs enjoyed.  We ate it with a crunchy crusted hot sour dough bread with lashings of butter, and it was a fabulous winter night’s meal.

Recipe

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1.2 kg sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lg brown onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 t Massel  chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 6 c boiling water
  • 2 t fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 t brown sugar or honey
  • 1/2 c light sour cream
  • 2 T chopped fresh coriander or parsley
  • 1 fresh red chilli, very finely chopped (optional)

Saute onion, celery and curry paste in oil for 4 minutes. Add carrots and sweet potato and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add boiling water and chicken or vegetable stock. Bring soup to boil for 2 minutes and then reduce heat to simmer soup for 30-40 minutes.  Cool slightly.

Blend soup until smooth.  Heat gently on low for 4-5 minutes. Add lime jiuce and sugar.

Combine sour cream, chilli (if using) and coriander or parsley.  Serve soup with hot bread and sour cream.

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Cauliflower Soup

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The sprogs are very good about eating vegetables – better than most. However, they aren’t necessarily big fans of all vegetables, and some vegetables are harder to feed them than others. Cauliflower is one that I have to think about to make it appetising for them.  Like most soup this one benefits from enough cooking time to allow the flavours to develop.  I always serve this one with crusty toasted sour dough bread.

Recipe

  • 1 T butter
  • 3 bacon rashers, finely chopped
  • 1 cl garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 lg potato, finely chopped
  • 1 whole cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 t dried basil
  • 500 ml stock
  • 500 ml water
  • 150 ml cream
  • 4 T finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

* For vegetarian option, omit bacon and replace with 1 t carraway seeds, and use 1 litre of stock and omit water.

Saute bacon (or carraway seeds), onion and celery until bacon is cooked, and onion and celery are becoming translucent. Add cauliflower, potato, basil, water and stock.

Simmer over medium heat until all vegetables are completely cooked. Allow to cool enough to be blended.  Blend in batches.  Pour some of the cream into the blender with each batch.

Return to pot and heat on low. Add 3 T of parsley 2 minutes before serving.

Serve with remaining parsley as garnish and some good quality bread toasted or oven heated.

Tomato Soup

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You know those weekends when you overdo it?  It starts on Friday when you have a wine after work to wind down, and next thing you know there is a pile of wine bottles empty on the table.  Saturday morning comes.  You get up at the crack of dawn to take those beloved offspring to whatever sport starts 3 hours earlier than you need to be awake, your head is pounding and your belly rumbles ominously.  You swear you will never drink again. But then at about 3 o’clock you start thinking hair of the dog is what you need to feel better, and then a couple of buddies pop over, and next thing you know you have another bigger pile of wine bottles empty on the table. Sunday morning is even scarier than Saturday, but thankfully the little sprogs have no sport on Sundays.  After a few hours of agony you start thinking about hair of the dog again.  What you really need is a serious health hit.  Something to expunge all those toxins and reinstate some lost vitamins and minerals.  This is when I make this tomato soup.

Recipes abound for tomato soup, and I have tried lots of them, but this one is so fresh and light I can’t go past it.  Wal calls it his liquid energy pellet.

Recipe

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, (crushed or grated)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 t yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 t tumeric
  • 1 t sweet paprika (can also use hot)
  • 2 T plain flour
  • 1 T honey
  • 3 c chicken stock (homemade is best, but any stock works)
  • 400 g can tomatoes
  • 1 kg fresh tomatoes. chopped
  • 4 T dried red lentils
  • sour cream and parsley to serve

Saute onions, garlic and celery in oil, when onions start to become translucent, add spices and flour. Mix well and add 1 cup of water as bottom of pan starts to become sticky.  Add remaining ingredients, and cook on low for at least an hour. The s0up cooks quickly but needs time for the flavours to infuse.  The lentils are important because they break down and help to provide body to the soup, but if you don’t have any you can add a chopped potato.  Blenderizing the soup is optional, I do it sometimes, but if you chop the ingredients finely it has a good texture as is.  Serve with sour cream (or cottage cheese) and a generous topping of parsley and warm bread or toast.  Don’t have a wine with dinner.