A souper weekend

Over the summer we often have eggs at lunchtime, but as laying declines in the autumn and the weather turns colder I start to crave warming soups. I years long distant, I might have opened a tin, but my tastes have changed and now I just want home-made soups. Whilst I sometimes use meat stocks, most of my soups are vegetable-based. So, on Friday I went and bought in bulk from the regular stall in Newcastle Emlyn:

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my ‘haul’

I’ve spent much of the weekend in the kitchen. I started off with spicy parsnip soup – a Jane Grigson recipe. She is one of my favourite cookery writers and her ‘Vegetables’ book is pure inspiration. Second, I made spicy roasted pepper soup using a recipe from Riverford, but with a few modifications, including using yellow and orange peppers rather than red ones. Third, I made leek and potato soup – no specific recipe for this one, just leeks, onions, potatoes, chicken stock and water. Fourth, I made sweet potato and roasted pepper soup – inspired by, but not exactly the same as a recipe from a Women’s Institute cookbook. After this I’d still got ingredients left, so I made more spicy parsnip and more roasted pepper. I still have plenty more veg and I also have a freezer drawer full of portions of soup for two.

Buying in bulk means that the ingredients are very cheap and having room for storage means that I can take advantage of this; but also knowing what to do with all these raw ingredients is important. I worry that people who don’t know how to prepare fresh foods are stuck in a trap of being forced to rely on processed and pre-prepared meals. A friend mentioned the other day that at school in ‘cookery’ classes, all her son learned was how to put toppings on a pizza base and all about the dangers of cooking food for himself (hygiene issues, food poisoning etc). She said that he was so frightened by the horror stories of what could go wrong when preparing food, that he daren’t cook for himself any more. I could weep, but instead I will continue to share recipes and inspiration, to share home cooked food with my family and friends and to encourage everyone to cook their own food whenever possible.

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many lunches to look forward to

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33 Comments

  1. The thing I (especially) like about Jane Grigson is that her recipe books are organised by the main ingredient so when it is leek season you just look up leeks. So may other recipe books start with the dish and send you off to the nearest supermarket to buy lots of out of season items.

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  2. I love home-made soup and have not bought a tin or packet for years. I usually just make up my own mixtures or, like you, base them loosely on something in a book. Yummy and perfect for this time of year.

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  3. Ann Pole

     /  November 12, 2017

    Gosh, just one of those soups would be an achievement for me. I’m one of those who struggles to know the best combinations and the best way to cook the veg to bring out the flavours. I’m OK at ‘mush’ though….

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  4. Ann Pole

     /  November 12, 2017

    I think the thing for me was that a) I wasn’t inspired – school and home cooking consisted mainly of cakes, and although mum was a good cake cook, dinners consisted of meat and 2 veg. There was no experimentation. b) As a girl I was supposed to do cooking and sewing, and although I enjoy the sewing, I would rather have done woodwork.

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  5. I still make my own soups and freeze them for quick meals. I’m appalled at your friend’s son’s experience – so much for education!!

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  6. Murtagh's Meadow

     /  November 12, 2017

    You have been busy. And lots to keep you well fed and warm this coming winter:-) i should do some leek and potatoe soup as we have both in the garden

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  7. There is something so comforting about home-made soup. My sister has a few good recipes and so does my husband, Mike. I’ve used Sharon’s potato soup (corn chowder) and occasionally make an old Weight Watcher’s recipe when we’re feeding a lot of people. It’s always a hit. We’re able to buy vegetarian stock in a carton (less salty than bullion). You’ve inspired me to go make a pot of something.

    I’ve also been drinking almost 100% whole, loose “tea” (more Rooibos than anything), also inspired by you. I’m spoiled for life. Tea bags are now a distant second.

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  8. Laurie Graves

     /  November 12, 2017

    Knowing how to cook not only saves a person money, but also can lead to a healthier life. As for soups… I adore them, and we make them a lot in the winter.

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  9. I so wish they would bring Home Ec back into the school systems, but I also wish kids would learn these skills from home. Your soups look delicious.

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  10. I love soup too. In fact you have inspired me to cook up the pumpkin lurking in the fridge for dinner tonight! Some crusty bread and we are all set ~ even if it is a lovely 30º today. enjoy your soups.

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  11. I think you and I both mostly cook by instinct and what’s available. I can’t remember the last time I looked for a soup recipe, it’s mainly me thinking that I have some nice stock, what’s in the pantry and the fridge, what would work with that, and away we go. Today the Husband has a thermos of pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato and onion soup blended with some leftover chicken casserole gravy flavoured with garlic and five spice, and based on a good jellied chicken stock and with a dash of chilli added. I rarely use a recipe except for baking, and I give my mother the credit, as she had a true skill for extracting every last possibility from her ingredients and somehow making a little go a very long way.

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    • I do love browsing recipe books and I especially like books by people who write about food as well as providing recipes… Jane Grigson is a particular favourite, as mentioned, but also Simon Hopkinson, Elizabeth Luard… not forgetting Harold McGee…

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  12. I bought my mum the Jane Grigson book one Christmas – will have to actually read it myself next time I visit!

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  13. A good friend of mine did something similar recently, and she kindly sent us around10 portions of her various home-made soups as a wonderful treat – and you’re right, there’s nothing at all like home-made soup, rather than the mass-made stuff sold in tins, or cartons, as nice as some of them can be:)
    It’s especially good, with the cold weather coming in now 🙂

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  14. My brother will never cook chicken for himself because he’s so scared of doing it wrong and giving himself food poisoning. I took food technology (as it was called then but probably isn’t now) as a GCSE, and coming out of it I knew a heck of a lot about food laws and hygiene, but very little about actually cooking food. It’s useless really.
    Thankfully we have Google and I’ve taught myself, now my homemade goodies always taste better than the bought stuff. But I’ve no idea how to convince my brother he’s totally able to cook chicken…

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  15. I’m a self-confessed soup addict…I’ll even eat it on the hottest days of summer! I started making my own soups about ten years ago and now cannot abide canned soup from the store (I can’t actually remember the last time I bought soup). Making soup is so easy and so rewarding…plus, as you say, you end up with plenty of leftovers which makes for easy meal preps later in the season.

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  16. Hooraaaaay for home-made soup! I made a batch myself a couple of days ago, and it’s been great to have a whole week’s worth of easy, healthy lunches on hand. I’ll have to check out a Jane Grigson book or two next, and maybe pick up some new recipe ideas! Thanks for the tip 😀

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