Comfort food

Soup. Although I absolutely loathe winter, soup just about makes it bearable. It's fast, gives you almost all of your vegie serves in one hit, and generally tastes pretty good too. So in the first of a series of thoughts on comfort food, here's to soup.

Basic Pumpkin Soup
1 medium sized pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tbspn olive oil
1 litre of vegetable stock
425g can cannellini beans, drained
black pepper to taste

Heat the oil and add onion. Saute until tender and translucent. Add the pumpkin and pepper, stirring to coat. Add the stock and beans, and bring to a simmer, covered. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender - around 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. When you're sure the hot soup mix won't burn you if it splatters, use a stick mixer to blend to a smooth puree. If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk. If it's too thin, red lentils or another tin of beans will do a nice job of thickening it up.

Add 1.5 tbspn of red curry paste after the onions and before the pumpkin. Replace the beans with coconut cream stirred through after blending the pumpkin.

Roast the pumpkin instead of boiling it.

Try seasoning with a little bit of nutmeg.

Quick Tomato Soup
This is almost as quick as heating up a can of campbells, but better value for money.

2 cans of tomatoes - chopped, peeled, seasoned, however you like them
1 tbspn tomato paste
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 litre of stock
Seasonings to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for around ten minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend with a stick mixer and voila! Serve with hot buttered toast to relive your childhood.

Add some chilli, pepper sauce or curry paste/powder for a warming hit. Tear some fresh basil leaves and add at the last minute for beautifully fragrant soup. Try a little chopped capsicum and cucumber for a hot gazpacho. 

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