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.
I love halloumi. I love the saltiness, the squeakiness and the oh-my-god-it’s-just-so-fucking-delicious-ness of it. In the fridge languished half a block that needed to be used up and instead of stuffing it in the portobella mushrooms that are also languishing in the fridge needing to be used up, I decided to batter the halloumi, like they do in my local chippy.
I’ve made Yorkshire Puddings and battered tofu before, but I’ve never made a chip shop type batter. I whisked up the flour, milk and baking powder and seasoned it with salt and pepper but I felt it was missing something. The Meat Eater said it wasn’t and said that was how batter is made so I took his word for it, even though he couldn’t tell me how he knew how to make batter. He also assured me that it’s supposed to be the texture of wallpaper paste.
This battered halloumi was so, so good. It was even better than the chip shop’s. The halloumi had softened and lost its squeak and weirdly developed the texture of fish.
I don’t have a deep fat fryer, so I used the Tefal wok-type pan I use for almost everything. I’ve had it over ten years and I still think it’s brilliant and you can buy one here. (This post isn’t sponsored by Tefal, I just wanted to tell you how much I love my wok.)
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
While I was in the supermarket this morning, I pondered over which spread to make for lunch. I’d just bought a far bigger bag of spinach than I needed so I thought I’d put that to use. I’d gone past the dairy aisle and didn’t want to go back to get some yoghurt to add to it but I remembered the jar of tahini I’d bought the other day and concocted this delicious dip when I got home.
This recipe doesn’t make a huge amount, as you know how spinach disappears into nothing, but it’s easy enough to double or triple the quantities.
Spinach, tahini, cumin and garlic spread
2 large handfuls spinach
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
Add everything to a food processor and blitz until it’s the texture you require.
I’ve been experimenting again with dips and spreads. I had half a tin of kidney beans and half a tin of chickpeas in the freezer so I blitzed them up with some Greek yoghurt and curry powder and the result was this gorgeous spread that’s perfect to have on oatcakes or in a wrap with some salad.
What a great way to use up any leftover beans!
Curried kidney bean and chickpea spread
Half a can of kidney beans
Half a can of chickpeas
2-3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp curry powder (or to taste)
Salt and pepper
Place the kidney beans and chickpeas in a food processor and blitz until they’re mashed up.
Add the Greek yoghurt and carry on blitzing until you get the consistency you require.
Add the curry powder to give as much or as little heat as you like.
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.