Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekend Foodie: Quick & Easy Soups

Soups are a handy thing to be able to knock up for lunch or a light dinner. Forget buying cans of soup - these are ridiculously easy, much tastier and much more nutritious, not to mention cheaper.

Here are two ideas for really easy and quick soups:

1. Amazing 5 Minute Green Soup

This is a quick and healthy soup you can knock up in about the same time as it takes to take a pre-preared can of soup from the cupboard, open it and heat it up. Only this soup has the the benefits that you know exactly what's in it, it won't have any nasty preservatives, thickeners or flavour enhancers and it's much cheaper too.

I always try to make sure I have a stock of frozen vegetables in the fridge, such as peas, broccoli, spinach and other greens. They come in handy when you're out of fresh vegetables and because they are frozen as soon as they are picked, the nutrients don't deteriorate like they do with fresh vegetables that have been sat in your fridge for a week. They also don't require any cutting.

Ingredients (for 2)

1 handful frozen broccoli
1 handful frozen greens (like curly kale or spinach)
1 handful frozen peas
1 handful of tiny soup pasta (the type that cooks in 3-4 minutes)
1 carrot (optional)
1 stock cube/ 1tablespoon of stock powder

1. Fill the kettle and boil.
2. Add the frozen broccoli, greens and pasta to the pan and pour over the boiled water to just cover the vegetables and pasta. Add the stock cube/powder and stir well. Bring almost to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Scrub the carrot, chop off and discard the ends, grate and add to the pan.
4. After the vegetables have been on for 4 minutes, add the peas.
5. Continue cooking for the final minute, then blend a little with a hand-blender (or a potato masher if you don't own a blender) until you have a thick green soup, but not so much that you loose the individual textures.  Season to taste and serve with some crusty wholemeal bread.

Easy-peasy (pardon the pun). And much better for you that the canned variety!

2. Roasted Tomato and Courgette Soup

Here's another easy homemade soup. Not quite a speedy as the 5 minute green soup, but as effortless and nutritious. Fantastic served with a slice or two of warm Irish soda bread.

Ingredients (to serve 2-3 for lunch, or 4 as a small starter)

500g mixed tomatoes
2 courgettes/zucchini
2 cloves garlic
teaspoon of dried oregano
1 onion (brown or red, whatever you have)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
300ml hot stock
sunflower oil
fresh basil leaves, washed.

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/350F.
2. Wash the tomatoes, halve or quarter any bigger ones and put into a shallow baking tray. Wash the courgettes, trim off the ends and slice in half lengthways. Using a teaspoon, remove and discard the seedy, fluffy middle, then slice and add to the baking tray of tomatoes, together with a glug of sunflower oil, the garlic, roughly chopped and the oregano. Rub the lot with your hands and pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
3. Peel and finely slice the onion and cook on a medium heat in a saucepan with a little sunflower oil and a pinch of salt until soft and transparent. Then add the balsamic and allow this to cook down and caramelise the onions slightly.
4. When the tomato/courgette mixture is roasted, remove from the oven and add to the pan, making sure you get all the juices in too. Add the stock and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Take off the heat, blend using a hand blender (cover with a teatowel to avoid tomato splashes) or in a food processor to a rustic consistency, season to taste and serve with a few basil leaves and some warm Irish soda bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment