Another thick and creamy soup using cashews and soya milk – this time, the always popular leek and potato. I don’t know what it is, but my leek and potato soup never comes out as nice as the ones in the tins, but it’s probably the cream and additives and other unhealthy stuff, but I’m sure I’ll make the perfect vegan leek and potato soup one day – I’ll just have to keep experimenting.
Again, as with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I made the other day, I started this soup off in the frying pan, and finished it in the soup maker. If you haven’t got a soup maker, just add the stock and seasoning to the pan, simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, leave the milk out until the end, then blend.
Although my VonShef Soup Maker acts as a great blender, I’ve been lazy and have just chucked all my ingredients in, pressed the start button and buggered off to leave it to it. This method ends up with a smooth, creamy soup but slightly lacking in flavour with the onion and garlic not being fried first. This is only to be expected – after all, boiled onion doesn’t sound appetising, does it?
So, yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of creamy, yet bland, soup and took a bit more effort with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I’d decided to make. Yes, it meant more washing up but only one pan, so it’s not that much of a hassle and it was totally worth it.
I’ve made mushroom soup in the past (see here, here, here and here) but this one is definitely my favourite. I had a brainwave and wondered if cashews and soya milk would give it the creaminess some of my soups are lacking and yes, it certainly does. I usually use a potato to thicken my soups up but cashews are definitely the way to go in the future. Cashews will obviously add a lot of calories to a soup – if you’re bothered about that kind of thing – but they’re good calories and full of protein and apart from protein being good for you, it keeps you full up and this soup kept me full all afternoon.
This morning, I opened the freezer to get some frozen fruit to make myself a nice healthy smoothie. Then I saw the crumpets… but – get me and my steely resolve – I resisted them, telling myself I’d have the crumpets for lunch instead.
I don’t know what happened but, instead of toasting the crumpets at lunchtime, I made some spinach and tomato soup. Not really the same thing, is it? Ho hum.
I made this vegan soup in my soup maker but if you’re going to make it on the hob, then fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 20 minutes or so, then blend.
You can use any stock you like but I made my own ‘instant chicken’less bouillon powder’ from the recipe on the Gentle Chef website.
Despite this soup being the easiest soup in the world to make, it wasn’t the easiest soup to guess in my Guess The Soup game. I didn’t think it would be so difficult; it’s just one vegetable, after all, and a seasonal vegetable at that (I’m assuming it’s seasonal – it came in last week’s veg box, anyway).
Maybe the stock discoloured it. I don’t know what goes into most ready-made stock powder and cubes (I should probably be ashamed of this) but this stock was a home-made one, made from The Gentle Chef’s Instant Chicken’less Bouillon Powder, which is easy to make and much nicer than anything you’ll find in the shops. Just make a batch up and store it in a jar until you need it.
These instructions are for a Von Chef Soup Maker. Your settings might be different. If you want to make it on the hob, just simmer all ingredients for about 20 minutes then blend at the end and add the soya milk.
Author: Planet Veggie
1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp home made or store bought bouillon powder
3 cups water
salt and pepper
50ml soya milk (optional)
Put all ingredients except the soya milk into the soup machine
I haven’t done any cooking in there for a week or so. Despite the novelty and convenience of having Papa John’s pizza on a Monday night, pre-packaged pasta and couscous salad on Tuesday night and leftover Papa John’s last night, today I craved something not out of a box or a packet, then remembered I had a soup maker somewhere (if you think the kitchen looks bad, you should see the state of the dining room where the floor is covered with the contents of the former kitchen) and looked in the fridge where I found some spinach and carrots.
I didn’t take much notice of how much spinach was in the bag or how much water I used, so all weights and measures are approximate.
Spinach and carrot soup (serves 2-3)
2 carrots, chopped into chunks
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tsp stock powder
1 onion, chopped
3 dried whole chillies
salt and pepper
Chuck everything into the soup maker and put on the setting that blends as it goes along.
I’ve reinstated my Riverford Veg Box delivery and last week I received a box containing – amongst other vegetables – kale and parsnips. Parsnips are usually something I only ever eat when they’re forced on me but they do make a delicious soup, especially when spiced up with a bit of chilli. This soup was a great way to use up some of the kale, too. I felt approximately three-hundred-and-thirty-six times healthier after eating it (until I had some hot chocolate and a couple of biscuits immediately after, that is).
I made this in my soup maker. If you’re making it on the hob, fry the onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes first, then add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for about 20 minutes or so until the parsnip is tender, then blend at the end.
Soup Machine Parsnip and Kale Soup (serves 3-4)
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 large handfuls of chopped kale (minus the thick middle stalks)
1 green chilli, chopped
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1L vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Chuck it all in the soup machine and let your soup machine do its thing.
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 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.