Thursday, 22 January 2015

Creamy Sweetcorn Soup

Creamy Sweetcorn Soup

There's an age-old debate in soup-making circles - where is the line between Soup and Stew? It is fought over as much as 'What constitutes a proper pie?*' and 'How do you pronounce Scone/Chorizo**'

The debate mostly seems to centre around the ration of solids to liquids in the soup/stew.  As I've been researching South American soups, a lot of them strike me as being much more stew than soup (For instance, check out the Aijaco Soup from Colombia I made a while ago.  There's barely any liquid in there at all, but who am I to argue with Colombia eh? If they say it's a soup then it is most assuredly a soup.  Of course, if you are really worried about where to drag this line, just do what I did with this recipe, which is to blend the heck out of it until it is smooth and silky.

Now I don't recommend doing this with every soup, too often it just reduces the whole thing to a homogeneous mess with less character than when it started (Can you imagine a Minestrone being improved by being blitzed?), but some soups, usually ones with milk/cream/potatoes in often work so much better when they are creamed, and passed through a sieve just to make sure they are smooth.

And that is definitely the case with this soup, which was inspired by my dabbling with South American soup recipes (Indeed, you could just not blend it and it would be pretty similar to many recipes from that continent) but as it is really cold at Soup Labs today I thought it would make the whole thing just that little bit more comforting.  I think I made the right choice, but feel free to leave yours chunky.  I wont judge you. Much

Also, another great thing about this soup is it's another great cupboard soup - I bet you have everything for this soup in your cupboard / freezer right now. Apart from the cream, which you could substitute milk for if you really wanted.

* Anything with something else on top of it can be a pie - Shepard's/Fish/Steak and Kidney included, but a double crust pie is one with something completely encased in pastry.
** S-kone and Cho-rit-zo


Ingredients
400g Frozen Sweetcorn
200g Potatoes
20g Butter
2 Stalks Celery
1 Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2tsp Red Chilli Flakes
1l Chicken Stock
75ml Double Cream
2 Tomatoes
Spring Onions
Salt and Black Pepper

Method
1. Peel and chop the onion and potato.  Thinly slice the celery stalks.  In your soup pan, gently heat the butter and then cook the vegetables until they start to soften

2. Add the garlic and chilli flakes, then the sweetcorn and stock.  Bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked and soft.  Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool.

3. Put the tomatoes in boiled water, leave for 10 minutes, then peel and de-seed them, keep for garnishing the soup.

4.  Blend the soup until smooth, pass through a sieve to remove all the bits amd then return to the pan.  Add the double cream and re heat.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.  Garnish with the chopped tomatoes and thinly sliced spring onions.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Chupe de Maní - Ecuadorian Peanut Soup

Chupe de Maní - Ecuadorian Peanut Soup

 Waaaay back last year, when everyone was talking about ball kicking tournaments, I was part of a small group of dedicated bloggers who took part in the World Cup Food Challenge.  This (I'm sure you remember) was a blog based challenge to cook between us, dishes from every country involved in said real-life-subbuteo competition.

In this challenge, I made a number of dishes (and some soups) from South American countries, and I fell in love with the cuisine of that continent.  Fast forward to Christmas, and as I tore open my presents from under the tree, I found that Santa had brought me not one but two recipe books on South America (along with 5 more on other things.  I'm so easy to buy for at Christmas - either cook books or Star Wars merchandise*) 


So I thought that I would do a few South American soups on the blog.  Starting with this one, from Ecuador.  You could use peanut butter for this recipe instead of grinding up your own peanuts, but I think the flavour is more intense doing it this way.  It's thick and creamy and satisfying and a great start to my South American soup adventure.  Let's see if my prediction made last summer - that South American cuisine would be the next big thing - comes true this year.  It totally should if this soup is anything to go by...

* Incidentally, I will be making at least on Star Wars inspired soup recipe in the run up to The Force Awakens being released, but that's not until December, so I have plenty of time. And yes, I am aware this exists... and I probably won't be making Bloodsoup, as I'm not a Sith Lord.  Until I do get round to making my own Star Wars soup, why not try this recipe for Bantha Steak Soup that I found
Cube 1 thick bantha steak; trim fat, pat dry. Saute meat in bantha butter until brown. Core, seed, and chop 2 large ootoowergs, 3 ripe dropes, 1 small koba if available. Add vegetables to cooked meat, cook til heated through. Put all in pot of boiling water. Cover, simmer at low heat for 3 days. Add roosha to taste. Serve 1-2.
Now, where can I get some ootoowergs from? I'm thinking Lidl? 

And for anyone else wanting to try Star Wars soups, here is a list of some that exist in the Star Wars universe, courtesy of the ever-helpful Wookiepedia. Although sadly Gungan bouillabaisse is made *by* Gungans, not *of* them. Mmmm, Cream of Jar Jar soup...

Chupe de Maní - Ecuadorian Peanut Soup

Ingredients
200g Potatoes
150g Peanuts
2 Large Tomatoes
2 Stalks Celery
1 Onion
1 Red Chilli
Fresh Coriander
1tsp Cumin
1.2l Beef Stock

Method.
1.  Heat to oven to 160ºc.  Spread the peanuts out on a baking tray. Put them in the oven and roast them for 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  Put them in a food processor and blend into a fine powder

2.  Peel and chop the onion and potato then slice the celery.  Heat some oil in your soup pan and gently cook the vegetables for a few minutes until they start to soften.

3.  Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan, along with the cumin, chilli and stock.  Then add the peanuts, bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove from the head and allow to cool.

4. Blend the soup until smooth, adjust seasoning to taste, reheat and serve. Garnish with more crushed peanuts, fresh coriander and thinly sliced red chillies.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Green Bean and Almond Soup


Green Bean and Almond Soup
The inspiration for this soup came from nothing more than "I have green beans, I don't need them for anything else.  Can I turn them into soup?" From there my mind went to 'green beans and... erm... what goes with green beans?'  Then I remembered green beans with almonds, which in my mind was always a side dish to a Thanksgiving dinner in America, possibly alongside a weird salad that has marshmallows in it.  I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea where this assumption comes from, apart from that I possibly saw it in an episode of Friends (The one where Joey gets the Turkey stuck on his head I assume...)

And then I googled Green Bean and Almond soup, and lo and behold, it is a thing.  When does a soup become 'a thing'? As in an accepted soup variety? Does it ever?  Is that the beauty of soup, that it can have literally any combination of meat, vegetables, herbs and spices and still be an acceptable thing? This is just another reason why I love the stuff...

Anyway, this is a tasty and sweet soup, thickened by the ground almonds, and although you don't have to put the white wine in, it will improve the flavour of the soup by 237% if you do...

Green Bean and Almond Soup

Ingredients
400g Green Beans
2 Carrots
1 Onion
75g Ground Almonds
25g Butter
3 Cloves of Garlic
Slivered Almonds
900ml Stock
200ml White Wine
Salt and Pepper

Method.
1. Peel and roughly chop the carrot, garlic and onion.  Heat the butter in your soup pan and then gently fry the vegetables until they start to soften

2. Cut the ends off the green beans and then slice the remaining beans in half.  To the onions and carrot add the beans, stock, wine and ground almonds.  Bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, allow to cool and then blend until smooth.

3.  Adjust seasoning to taste and then reheat.  Serve and garnish with slivers of almond.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

I just realised that all the soups I've blogged so far this year have been vegetarian recipes (assuming you use veggie stock, although I sometimes cheat and use chicken just to give it that extra bit of flavour)  This wasn't an intentional thing, so far this year I've made soups based purely on what is lurking in the vegetable drawer of the fridge.  Although I'm *still* not sure what that green slimy stuff is - possibly lettuce left over from last summer.  Best not dwell on that too much hey?

Today's soup is a variation on one of the ll time classics - carrot and coriander.  Although we are dropping the coriander and adding some red peppers.  When these bits are roasted in a bit of oil, they are transformed from a vaguely uninspiring bunch of brightly coloured veggies into a fragrant, tasty, sweet and delicious sensation.  Yes, the humble carrot, that thing you are bound to have a few of lurking in your kitchen right now, looking forlorn and lonely.  So my advice to you would be to grab a few, get some peppers in and start making this soup right now! You won't regret it...

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients
350g Carrots
3 Red Peppers
2 Onions
1 Chilli Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves
900ml Vegetable Stock
Oil
Salt and Pepper

Method.
1.  Heat the over to 200ºc.  Peel and roughly chop the carrots.  De-seed the peppers and cut into strips then peel and slice the onion.

2.  Place the vegetables in a roasting dish, toss in vegetable oil until they are covered, then place in the oven.  Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes.  They should be starting to go golden and brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool

3.  Put the vegetables in your soup pan, add the garlic and chilli - both finely chopped - and the stock.  Bring the soup to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

4.  Blend the soup until smooth, reheat, adjust seasoning to taste and serve with a swirl of fresh yoghurt.  Enjoy!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Leek, Potato and Blue Cheese Soup


Leek, Potato and Blue Cheese Soup

Cheese. It's a serious business. And we here at Soup Manors eat more cheese at Christmas than at any other time of the year.  Mainly because we do nothing but sit around watching all 6 Lord of the Rings movies, drinking enormous quantities of red wine and eating biscuits.  And nothing accompanies those things better than a nice bit of cheese (I think any hobbits reading this would agree wholeheartedly)

And this year, much to my surprise, when the hangovers cleared and Frodo had sailed to the Grey Havens, I found that we still had a big hunk of blue cheese left which needed something doing with (as we had decided to get all healthy and didn't really want to be sitting around in our hobbit holes when there was a whole outside world to be getting exercise in) so what better fate for a cheese than to be turned into a soup.  And what better soup to use said cheese in than a Leek, Potato and Cheese soup?

Because I'm being super (soup-er? Geddit?) organised this year I actually got round to making this soup a whole day before I got round to consuming it, so I thought I'd try something that I heard a while ago, which is soup made a day in advance, especially a milky/cheesy soup has its flavour intensified by being kept in the fridge for a day beforehand.  And what do you know, it really works - the soup had a much richer, deeper flavour than other sups of this kind I've made before.  So if you have the time, I highly recommend making your soup in advance.  Its ace...

Leek, Potato and Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients
2 Leeks
300g Potatoes
1 Onion
4 Cloves Garlic
100g Cambazola Cheese
30g Butter
1 Bay Leaf
600ml Vegetable Stock
400ml Milk
Salt and Pepper

Method
1. Peel and chop the potato, leek, onion and garlic. Heat the butter in your soup pan.  Add the garlic, onion and leek and cook for a few minutes with the lid on until everything is soft.  Add the potato and cook for a few more minutes.

2.  Add the stock, bay leaf and thyme.  Bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and just starting to break up.

3.  Crumble up the blue cheese and add to the soup, along with the milk.  Cook over a gentle heat until everything has cooked through and the cheese has melted into the soup.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Roasted Beetroot, Garlic and Goats Cheese Soup

Roasted Beetroot, Garlic and Goats Cheese Soup

Beetroot.  You can just tell that anything that brightly coloured has GOT to be packed full of goodness, vitamins and E numbers.  No wait, I'm pretty sure that one of those isn't true*

*Actually, Betanin, or E162 is an red glycosidic food dye extracted from beetroot. So there. Don't say you don't learn anything from this blog. Other beetroot facts are* :
Beetroot is an excellent source of folate and a good source of manganese,[9] and contains betaines which may function to reduce the concentration of homocysteine,[10] a homolog of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine. High circulating levels of homocysteine may be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease.[11] This hypothesis is controversial as it has not yet been established whether homocysteine itself is harmful or is just an indicator of increased risk for heart disease.[11][12]
The red colour compound betanin is not broken down in the body, and in higher concentrations may temporarily cause urine and stool to assume a reddish colour; in the case of urine this is called beeturia.[13] This effect may cause distress and concern due to the visual similarity to hematuria (blood in the urine) or blood in the stool, but is completely harmless and will subside once the food is out of the system.
Last year, I abandoned 2 blog posts as, after making the soups, I looked back through the blog and realised that I'd already written the same or very similar soups before.  I really should plan my posts better.  Regular readers (you know who you are! Hello Mum!) will probably know that I've done at least 3 beetroot soups before, but I thought, why the heck not do another one.  This one is slighly different, and who has the time to wade through old blog posts anyway.  This is 2015 dammit, we're all in a hurry, we want our soups right now...

Although this soup *will* take a bit of time, as you need to roast the beetroot first to release all those sugars and other goodies that make the little purple blighters taste even better, and make that addition of lemon juice a nice counterpoint.  I also used hard goats cheese, as it melts and goes all gooey when you put it in the bowl, covered in soup. Which is perfect at this time of year, when it's cold and you want tasty comforting foods.

*Isn't Wikipedia amazing...

Roasted Beetroot, Garlic and Goats Cheese Soup

Ingredients
350g Beetroot
2 Stalks Celery
1 Onion
6 Cloves Garlic
900ml Vegetable Stock
30g Butter
1 Lemon
1tsp Thyme
100g Hard Goats Cheese

Method
1.  Heat the oven to 180ºc.  Peel the beetroot with a potato peeler.   Wrap them up in some kitchen foil, with some salt and a splash of olive oil.  Then place in the oven, leaving them to roast for 45 minutes.  Set them aside to cool.

2.  In your soup pan, heat the butter.  Finely chop the onion, garlic and celery then fry them for a few minutes until everything starts to soften.

3.  Cut the roasted beetroot up into smaller pieces, then add to the pan, along with the stock, thyme and lemon juice.  Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

4.  Blend the soup until smooth and then reheat.  Adhust seasoning to taste then serve.  Garnish with some cubed bits of hard goats cheese.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Orange Soup


Butternut Squash, Ginger and Orange Soup

Disease and illness have been stalking the Soup household for weeks now.  Every room in the house is strewn with discarded boxes of potions pills and medicines.  Enough cough sweets have been bought to make the pharmacist think that I may be making crystal meth in my kitchen.  Far from that, I have in fact been labouring to produce the perfect vitamin laden soups to aid in cold-recovery.

As we hit the new year, everyone's  thought turn to feeling and eating a little more healthy.  And that's where it is soup's turn to shine.  Just think - pretty much every bowl of soup is just a whole heaping pan full of vegetables, with added garlic, ginger, turmeric and other things that science may or may not have decided are good for you.  And even if they don't possess any actual medical or restorative qualities, they certainly make you feel like they do, when served in a bowl of soup.

So the first soup I made in this bright and shiny year of our lord 2015 was this healthy and tasty butternut squash soup.  Its a perfect combination of vegetables, sweet and spicy bits. To be honest, you could make a brilliant soup by cooking pretty much any vegetables, adding some chilli and coconut milk (except sprouts) but then if you all did that, there would be no reason to come back and visit this blog, would there.

So remember, freestyling soup is dangerous.  Only attempt to make soup recipes that have been prepared by a soup professional.  You have been warned...

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Orange Soup

Ingredients
1 Butternut Squash
1 Onion
2 Stalks Celery
1 Orange
1tbsp Ginger Puree
1tbsp Garlic Puree
1tsp Dried Chili Flakes
1tsp Cumin
750ml Vegetable Stock
250ml Coconut Milk
Salt and Pepper
Chili Oil

Method.  
1.  Heat the oven to 180ºc.  Peel and de-seed them squash, then cut into chunks.  Put the chunks in an oven proof dish and toss in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper then put in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, until the squash is soft and the edges are starting to go a golden brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside

2.  Finely chop the onion and celery.  In your soup pan, heat some oil and add the onion and celery,  Gently fry until the onion is soft and staring to brown.

3.  Add the Ginger and garlic and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.  Then add the cumin, chili and roasted butternut.  Stir it round so the spices cover everything then add the stock and juice of the orange.  Bring the soup to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes.

4.  Remove the soup from the heat, let cool and blend until smooth.  Add the coconut milk, adjust seasoning to taste and re-heat, then serve with a swirl of chilli oil.  Enjoy!