food: 3 foolproof winter soups

I’m not the world’s greatest chef, nor am I totally useless in the kitchen.

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I’m somewhere around average, and when I have time I can usually muster up something fairly decent. Something I’m pretty confident with is soup – homemade, fresh soup, which, in the colder months, is a total godsend. I make up a batch most weeks for lunches at work and I wanted to share my repertoire. I pretty much circulate these three offerings, but they’re all varied enough to keep me satisfied.

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First up, I’ve got a childhood favourite. Lentil and tomato. This is my mum’s trademark soup, and it can be used without so much stock to work as pasta sauce also.

What you’ll need:

1 onion

1 celery stick (optional – I rarely use this!)

125g red lentils

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1.5 pints of vegetable stock

Salt and pepper

1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice

How you’ll do it:

Because I’m watching my weight, I start with a squirt of Fry Light in a large saucepan. I throw in the chopped onion and fry it off until it softens. This is where you’ll add the celery if you have it. After that, it’s a case of chucking it all in – tomatoes followed by the lentils and stock. Season, add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Simmer until lentils are soft and then blend to make a smooth soup. Simple!

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Up next is a healthier twist on the classic Leek and potato. I discovered this version when I was on Slimming World last time and it’s genuinely super tasty.

What you’ll need:

1 large onion

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

700g potatoes

1 large leek

Salt and  pepper

150g fat-free natural fromage frais

How you’ll do it:
Firstly, this recipe makes a much bigger batch of soup than the other two do. Worth noting! Once your onion is chopped, throw it in a saucepan with 150ml of the stock you’ve made up. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Dice your potatoes (700g of potatoes is alot so I often go a little bit less here if we’re running low. Trial and error really!) and chop the leeks, throwing these into the saucepan with the rest of the stock. Bring to the boil again and let simmer for 25 minutes until all is soft. Blend with a hand blender before adding the fromage frais. Season and reheat before eating!
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And finally, let’s finish off with my most recent find – roasted butternut squash. My friend Jo told me about this one, and it’s definitely the easiest out the lot.
What you’ll need:
1 butternut squash
1 onion
2 gloves of garlic
1 pint of vegetable stock
A mixture of whatever veg is lying around
How you’ll do it:
Peel your butternut squash and chop into chunks. Chop your onion into quarters, and your garlic too. Then slice up whatever other veg you have – peppers work great, carrots, whatever is lying around! Throw these all on a baking tray with a good seasoning of salt and pepper (I use Fry Light here to lubricate but oil will make it richer). Roast for 30-40 minutes. When soft, blend together with hand blender, adding the stock as you go. Super easy!
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You can play with any of these simple soups as much as you want. I sometimes add chilli to the lentil or butternut squash ones, to add a little kick. And I have added fromage frais to them in the past too, to make them a bit creamier. There’s no real rights and wrongs with soups and it’s a great way to use up what’s in the fridge!

Which is your favourite winter soup?


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