It’s taken me a while to start eating ‘normally’ again after Christmas. When I say ‘normally’, I mean actually eating something. I’ve been skipping breakfast (okay, so no change there then – I can’t stand the thought of eating first thing; it seems the height of gluttony to me to stuff your face the moment you wake up) and lunch and I’ve only been eating dinner because it seemed like something I should be doing and even then my dinners have consisted mostly of cardboard boxed frozen stuff heated up in the oven. Unsurprisingly, this diet of nothing has made me sluggish and unfocused and so I went hunting and foraging for vegetables in my local Tesco with which to make some soup and get some vitamins inside me.
I’ve made the best soup in the world. Yes, it sounds a bold claim to make but I truly believe this vegan courgette and broad bean soup is the nicest soup I’ve ever had. I used up the courgette and broad beans I had left over in my veg box and to spice it up a bit, I added some chilli and fennel which totally brought the soup to life, giving it a taste not dissimilar to Thai green curry.
If you like a smooth soup, you can fully blend it, or leave it chunky and just blend some of it, as I’ve done here. Blending some of it gives it a wonderful creamy taste and texture without adding extra calories from cream or cashews. As usual, I blended it in my Optimum G2.1 blender – I really can’t recommend this blender enough; it’s revolutionised my soup-making.
By the way, a few weeks ago I bought a big bag of frozen crushed garlic from Asda for 97p. It’s great – it’s 100% garlic and so convenient to have in the freezer on standby in case you’ve run out of fresh garlic (I should probably confess I haven’t bought any fresh garlic since buying this frozen garlic, it’s that good).
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 125g broad beans
- 1 courgette, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- Chilli powder to taste
- salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until the onion is soft
- Add the sliced courgette and fry for another couple of minutes
- Add the broad beans, stock, fennel seeds, chilli powder and season with salt and pepper
- Bring to the boil and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the courgette and broad beans are cooked
- Pour a third of the soup into a blender and blend on high speed, then return to the pan and warm through
Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for Froothie and any links to their products in this post are affiliate links which, if purchased through, won’t cost you any more but will earn me a small commission. I only endorse products I am happy with and I have not been paid for this post. For more information about the Optimum G2.1 blender mentioned in this post, you can read my review here.
I said yesterday I’d give the VonShef Soup Maker another go, so I used it today to make a batch of red pepper soup.
Just like last time, when I plugged it in, it was lifeless and could only be revived by giving it a whack on its side. And again, it only started doing something after I’d randomly pressed all the buttons, except this time it decided my soup needed 35 minutes instead of 30. I left it alone during the 35 minutes and let it do its thing, especially as I wanted to know if it would automatically blend the soup at the end. It didn’t. It switched itself onto standby and only blended when I turned it back on again and rotated the dial a bit. The only positive thing I can say about the soup maker is that it blends ridiculously quickly.
I’m going to tell Domu to come and take their almost useless machine back.
Soup Maker Red Pepper Soup (serves 4)
3 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
- Put all the ingredients in the soup maker.
- Whack the soup maker on the side to bring it to life.
- Press all the buttons until it starts to do something.
- At the end, turn it back on and turn the dial and blend the soup.
- Contact Domu and tell them to come and take back their stupid machine.
I mentioned before how excited I was about getting a VonShef Soup Maker from Domu. It arrived just a couple of days after placing my order and I thought the onion, tomato and chickpea soup recipe in the free book 200 Super Soups that came with the soup maker would go well with the olive, cheese, sundried tomato and jalapeno bread I’d made.
I plugged in the soup maker and nothing happened. The instructions, which appear to have been translated from Martian into some weird form of English spoken by no one ever said the display should light up and go on stand by. Well, it didn’t. Not until I’d whacked it on the side, dodgy-80s-television stylee, anyway, then it lit up. But how to make the soup? As I said, the instructions are unfathomable, the display doesn’t help much and I had no clue how to use the machine. Apparently you can add a bit of oil to the bottom of the jug and fry onion and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients and I thought the instructions said you do this by pressing the ‘stir’ button but that just blended it. The time and temperature are set by default to 30 minutes and 100C respectively and I think it starts to heat up as soon as you switch the machine off standby. It started to heat up after I’d pressed all the buttons about a billion times and was on the verge of throwing it out the window in frustration and making some toast instead, anyway.
I added the rest of the ingredients and waited around for a bit to see what it did and the timer started to count down so I assumed it was cooking. After a couple of minutes it started bubbling rapidly (see video below – it’s the right way up when you click it) and I wondered if it was blending but I think it was just boiling as when I turned the temperature down, it stopped. I couldn’t get it to simmer like my hob-made soups do, and I didn’t know at which temperature soup is supposed to simmer (100C sounded too hot to me but what do I know?), so I just kept turning the temperature up and down during the cooking. I thought it was supposed to blend the soup without me doing anything but when it got to the end, I stuck my spoon in and the tomatoes were still lumpy, so I pressed the ‘stir’ button until it was smooth, then I added the chickpeas.
Despite the machine needing whacking on the side to start (and if it happens next time I want to use it, it’ll be returned to Domu) and me not having a clue how to use it, it did make gorgeous soup. But if all it does is heat it up and then require you to press the button to blend it, it’s not really any better than a saucepan and a blender. It also takes up a lot of room – this is a big machine.
Still, I’ll give it another go. Now I’ve worked out how to use it (I think), I may grow to love it. I will report back.
Since recently discovering cheese-topped baps in Tesco, they’d become my lunch, filled with Violife vegan cheese slices, vegan mayo and salad (yes, I know there’s not really much point putting vegan cheese and vegan mayo into dairy cheese-topped baps but I’ve still got loads of Violife cheese slices to use up and I prefer vegan mayo to the eggy stuff).
But after eating homemade muffins and sultana loaf and having pizza and galic bread over the weekend, I was a bit breaded out. So, today I went back to making soup (I should have been meeting uni friends for pancakes but the screenwriting tutorial timetable scuppered that plan).
Today’s soup was lentil and mushroom, taken from Rose Elliot’s The Bean Book.
I’m going to post the recipe as it appears in the book (well, sort of) but it was way too thick to blend at the end, so I added about 300ml more stock. This soup is thick, tasty, salty and earthy.
Lentil and mushroom soup (serves 4 not very hungry people)
(from The Bean Book, by Rose Elliot)
125g green lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
125g mushrooms, chopped
900ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 4-5 minutes, then add the lentils and stock.
- Simmer gently, covered, for about 1 hour until the lentils are tender.
- Blend in a food processor or blender and season with salt and pepper.
You shouldn’t really need instructions on a tin of soup, but here’s one for Amy’s Kitchen Rustic Italian Vegetable Soup:
Make sure you’re hungry before eating it.
This is a big soup – like yesterday’s Amy’s Kitchen Cream of Mushroom Soup, it’s substantial. My bowl was absolutely brimming with vegetables (onions, courgettes, red & green sweet peppers, diced tomatoes, tomato puree, kale, mushrooms, garlic) rice and chickpeas and is so thick you could eat it with a fork.
Amy’s Kitchen Rustic Italian Vegetable Soup is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Hooray, at last I’ve managed to get hold of soups from Amy’s Kitchen. And what a tasty, wholesome looking range it is too. Most are suitable for vegans and all are suitable for vegetarians.
I had the mushroom soup for lunch and it’s not as creamy as the soup by that famous brand with the red tins but it’s a lot more substantial (and still has those lovely bits of mushroom in it) – this is a proper meal.
Amy’s Kitchen has added a store locator to their website, so you should be able to find your local stockist.