Soup

Soup recipes

Fruit and vegetables all have a season. Eat seasonal highlights which food products are at their best each month to allow you to choose produce that is in season.

Eat Seasonal

These days supermarkets offer all sorts of produce all year round. If you want strawberries in the winter you can get them. Apples in the spring? No problem. With fresh fruit and vegetables available all year round it is easy to forget that they have a season. Fresh fruit and vegetables have different times of year when they crop. Eating fruit and vegetables when they are in season will guarantee they taste better. The products will also be cheaper as they have been grown naturally and not been fooled into thinking it is time to grow.

Have you ever grown your own tomatoes? If you have you know that when you pick them off the vine after they have ripened all summer they taste fantastic. Compare the taste to the supermarket tomatoes you get in January. By comparison they are taste flat with little flavour. If you want meals that are full of flavour then choose ingredients that are in season.

What is in season in January?

January is a cold month which often brings frost and snow. The last few mornings have brought frost and I have had to take care on my morning walks in case I slip. Despite this plenty of vegetables and fruit are in season. Most of these are grown in the UK. A few of the fruit and vegetables are from more exotic climes but should be enjoyed whilst still at their best.

The best vegetables this month are root vegetables, think carrots, parsnips, turnips. Cabbages are also in season, red, white and green. Kale, a superfood which is rich in iron is at its best this month. The last of the apple and pear crop can be found in January as well as citrus fruits. Clementine’s, blood oranges and lemons should be enjoyed now. Don’t forget that meat, poultry and fish also have a season. Salmon is starting to come into its own in January. I have put together a graphic that shows what is seasonal in January. You can also download this and print it later as I have made it into a printable.

Parsnip and cauliflower soup

After Christmas I had a glut of vegetables in the fridge needing to be used up. I had rather a lot of parsnips as well as a cauliflower that I hadn’t got round to using. Knowing they would go off I turned them into a parsnip and cauliflower soup. Soup is perfect for this time of year when it is cold and frosty outside. There is something magical about putting a load of vegetables into a pot and watching them  transform into a delicious soup. The delicious smell while they are cooking fills the kitchen with promise. When a streaming bowl is placed in front of you with a crusty bread roll it can’t help to warm you and make you think of spring.

Parsnips and cauliflowers work well in a soup creating a lovely creamy texture without the need for cream. The root vegetables are filling and warming. To add a little spice to the soup I added fennel seeds, caraway seeds and turmeric. I have been adding turmeric to a lot of things recently. Not only does it add a lovely golden tone turmeric is meant to have many health benefits. It is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflamitory as well as having properties that may prevent heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Adding a little to a dish gives it a lovely taste so it is a great way to take advantage of the possible health benefits.

Parsnip and cauliflower soup

Parsnip and cauliflower soup recipe

Parsnip and cauliflower soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp oil
  2. 1 cauliflower
  3. 3 parsnips
  4. 2 onions
  5. 2 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  7. 1 tsp caraway seeds
  8. 1 tsp turmeric
  9. 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Chop the cauliflower into pieces.
  2. Peel and chop the onions, garlic and parsnips
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the vegetables
  4. Cook gently for ten minutes until soft
  5. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes whilst stirring.
  6. Add the stock and simmer for thirty minutes until the vegetables are tender
  7. Place in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth
  8. You may need to add a little more water to get a pourable soup.
Notes
  1. This will freeze if needed
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
Why not pin the recipe to try later?

Parsnip and cauliflower soup. A simple and tasty soup which is creamy with a touch of spice. Healthy

Here are some other recipes that use seasonal ingredients for January if you want to try them.

Potato Soup

Potato soup

Leek and potato soup
leek and potato soup

St Stephens Pudding

St Stephens Pudding

Do you use seasonable ingredients? Let me know below.

Linking up with the kitchen clearout linky on Madhouse Family Reviews as I used up loads of vegetables.

kitchen clearout

Hijacked By Twins
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Spicy pumpkin soup is a warm and satisfying soup for a cold Autumn night. Infused with a subtle spice from tumeric and fennel seeds which add flavour and depth.

Now October is here pumpkins are appearing in the shops. These golden squash have become popular in recent years and are commonly used in Halloween lanterns. Hollowed out pumpkins with faces carved in them are placed in windows to help ward off evil spirits. As well as helping fight against evil pumpkins are also a healthy food to eat. They are high in antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory food to help with joint pain. They are high in fibre and also contain carotids which helps prevent heart disease. Why not make this spicy pumpkin soup with the flesh left after hollowing out your pumpkin?

Spicy pumpkin soup

Spicy pumpkin soup

Are you carving a pumpkin for Halloween this year? I love pumpkin lanterns, there is something magical about the way they cast their light on the walls and ceiling when they are lit at night. It makes the house feel cosy and safe. After carving there is always a big mound of pumpkin flesh and seeds left over. The seeds can be toasted to make a great snack. Just sprinkle them with a little oil and salt and bake at 180C for around 10 minutes until golden brown. You can also add a little chilli and other flavourings to ring the changes. If you don’t fancy toasting the seeds why not try planting them? You may find you have your own pumpkin patch next year.

Spicy pumpkin soup

The best thing to make with left over pumpkin flesh is pumpkin soup.  Warming and low fat, pumpkin soup is perfect for this colder Autumn nights. It is easy to make as well, taking less than twenty minutes. The perfect dish to come home to after going trick or treating or standing around watching fireworks on bonfire night.  You will be warmed by the creamy velvet texture of the soup and the subtle spices will bring a glow to your heart.

Spicy pumpkin soup recipe

The spicy pumpkin soup recipe is simple to make. Heat some fennel seeds and caraway seeds in a pan with a little oil. Add some onions and garlic and fry until soft then add a teaspoon of turmeric. This adds a subtle spice that works well with the earthy flavour of the seeds. Throw the pumpkin flesh into the pan with the stock and simmer until the pumpkin is soft. Blend until smooth and serve piping hot with a few pumpkin seeds scattered on the surface.

Spicy pumpkin soup

 

Spicy pumpkin soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp caraway seeds
  2. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  3. 1 tsp tumeric
  4. 1 onion
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. flesh from one pumpkin
  7. 800ml vegetable stock
Instructions
  1. Heat some oil in a pan and gently fry the caraway seeds and fennel seeds for a minute.
  2. Peel and chop the onion and garlic
  3. Add to the pan and cook until soft
  4. Add the stock and the pumpkin flesh
  5. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft
  6. Blend until smooth
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
Why not pin the recipe to make later?
Spicy pumpkin soup. A tasty and delicious low fat pumpkin soup with fennel seeds and tumeric for a gentle background spice. A great way to use up Halloween pumpkin

If you are looking for other recipes that use up pumpkin then pumpkin pie is another favourite. Why not try my pumpkin pie with a base of ginger which is a lovely Autumn dessert?

Pumpkin pie

What are your favourite recipes for using up pumpkin? Let me know below.

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It looks like Spring is finally here. The mornings are getting much lighter. When I take the dog out in the morning I see the sun rising and no longer have to find my way along muddy paths in the dark. Spring flowers are starting to appear, I have seen crocuses pushing their way out of the earth and daffodils. Even the birds are active and starting to investigate places to nest. My dog is determined they are not going to enter the garden and spends his time patrolling the outskirts, barking if any dare to land in the tree. Whilst it looks warm outside, it is still cold. The mornings have been frosty and a freezing wind catches you when you go out.

It is days like this that soup comes into its own. Served at lunchtime it fills you up and provides a welcoming warmth that keeps you going for the rest of the day. Keeping the chill at bay and making you feel that Spring is really here as you look at the sun out of the window. Everyone loves onion soup. Usually it is served in the French way with toasted bread and cheese on top. Recently I have been experimenting with different beans and pulses. Cannellini beans are one of my new favourites, with a soft buttery taste they are perfect for adding to all sorts of dishes. Hence cannellini bean and onion soup was born. It sounds boring but the creamy taste of the beans works really well with the sweet onion flavour.

cannellini bean and onion soup

Even better it can be cooked in the slow cooker, the only effort involved is chopping up the ingredients. Once this is done you just leave the slow cooker to work magic and come back a few hours later to a lovely steaming hot bowl of soup. I have to admit that I love my slow cooker on cold days, it is lovely to come home from work and have a meal ready to eat. There is something about the cold that just makes you want to get into the warm and have dinner quickly.

cannellini bean and onion soup

You could use dried beans instead of tinned beans but they would need to be boiled before putting in the slow cooker to ensure they were not hard. It is much easier to use a tin of beans. These do not need to be soaked overnight either. Using the beans in the soup makes it more filling which keeps you from craving chocolate mid-afternoon.

cannellini bean and onion soup

Slow cookers are also perfect for making soup as I discovered when I made ham and pea soup. This used up split peas that were in my cupboard and it was a great way to use them.

Cannellini bean and onion soup recipe

Cannellini bean and onion soup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large onions
  2. 2 back bacon rashers
  3. 1 potato
  4. 1 garlic clove
  5. ½ tsp cumin
  6. 1 litre chicken stock
  7. 400g tin cannellini beans
  8. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the onions, potato and garlic into small pieces.
  2. Add to a slow cooker with the cumin and beans
  3. Pour in the hot chicken stock and stir
  4. Cook on high for 3 - 4 hours
  5. Season with salt and pepper
Notes
  1. If you prefer a smooth soup you can blend it
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
Do you have any great slow cooker soup recipes? I would love to know about them.

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January 25th is Burns Night, a celebration of the life of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet. In Scotland Burns Night will be celebrated with a Burns Supper. It is a time to celebrate Scottish heritage and traditional Scottish fare is served. The star of the meal is haggis, normally served with neeps and tatties or swede and potatoes. The haggis has such a starring part that it is piped in by bagpipes and then the host recites the address to the haggis.

Address to the haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm

While I have some Scottish roots in the family and have visited Scotland many times I have never attended a Burns Night. Our most recent visit to Scotland was a trip to the Highlands for a wedding. It is a gorgeous place and we really got a feel for how difficult life must have been for the crofters in days gone past. While the scenery is stunning it must have been hard to make a living, especially in the winter months. On another visit to Dumfries and Galloway this was brought home to us when we visited Thomas Telford’s birthplace. It was remote enough when visiting by car, it must have been really hard to commute from town to town via horse or on foot.

Neep and Tattie Soup

Neep and Tattie soupNeep and Tatties is a traditional Scottish dish, one that was eaten by poor crofters. You can understand why, root vegetables would have been easy to grow in harsh conditions and a reliable crop. Tasty and filling it goes with any type of meat or poultry, although haggis is traditional. Recently I received my latest issue of BBC Good Food and spotted a recipe for Neep and Tattie soup. I am loving my subscription to BBC Good Food magazine , it is a great source of recipe inspiration and would make a great gift.  As the weather has been so cold recently I decided I would give this a try. At the moment I have been making lots of soup, it has been really frosty recently. When I take the dog out in the morning I have to be really careful not to slip and come in with cold fingers and toes. Soup makes a perfect warming lunch on a freezing cold day.

Neep and Tattie soupMy son was not impressed that I was making soup. He told me he was starving and why could I not just open one of the packets of soup in the cupboard. Apparently making soup from scratch takes too long and he just could not wait. Being a cruel mother I made him wait until it wad ready, fortunately it did not take that long. It really is just a question of chopping up some vegetables, cooking them in water until they are soft and mixing them in a food processor. Some milk is then added to make it more creamy. I added some chopped up bacon to the top and a swirl of cream. If you want to be more traditional you could crumble some cooked haggis onto the top.
Neep and tattie soup

Fortunately when the soup was ready he loved it and managed to devour two bowls. He remarked that the soup tasted sweet and he was right, it had a touch of earthy sweetness to it that made it more warming. It really is the ideal soup for a winters day, perfect for eating when the wind is howling round the house and you can rejoice in the fact you are inside.

Neep and Tattie Soup Recipe

Neep and Tatte soup
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Ingredients
  1. 25g ( 1oz) butter
  2. ¼ tsp ground corriander
  3. 1 onion
  4. ½ swede (around 200g, 7oz)
  5. 1 carrot
  6. 1 celery stick
  7. 140g (5oz) potatoes
  8. 1 tsp mixed spice
  9. 400ml (14 fl oz) milk
  10. chopped cooked bacon or haggis
  11. 2 tbsp double cream
  12. 400ml water
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the vegetables into small pieces
  2. Melt the butter in a pan, add the vegetables and fry for around five minutes
  3. Add the water, bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft
  4. Season with salt, pepper and mixed spice.
  5. Add the milk
  6. Place in food processor and blend until smooth
  7. Cook the bacon or haggis and crumble into pieces.
  8. Warm the soup, add to a bowl and top with the bacon or haggis.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
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At the moment I seem to be making lots of soup. Last week when faced with an excess of lettuce I made a lovely vibrant green pea and lettuce soup. This week I was faced with a glut of leeks and decided to make an old favourite, leek and potato soup. This is a classic soup and makes an ideal warmer on a winters day. It is quick and easy to prepare and freezes well. Why not double the recipe and freeze half for another day. If you want an elegant starter you can add a swirl of cream to impress any guests you have visiting. Home made leek and potato soup is much more tasty than tinned or packet soup, you can really taste the gentle onion taste of the leeks and the warming creamy taste of the potatoes. It is a classic soup for a reason, it is a soup for all seasons. It can be served warm in the winter but also makes a lovely cold soup in the Summer.

leek and potato soup

Although the rain seems to have stopped for now, the weather has turned really cold. This morning it was frosty. Not a gentle frost, the sort of frost that paints patterns on the car windows and refuses to be removed no matter how hard you scrape. You can see your breath steaming in the cold air and your hands get gradually numb. It would be sensible to wear gloves if only you knew where they were. The days remain grey, with wisps of fog looming over the trees. It seems like ages since we have seen the sun. You start wondering if Spring is ever going to come. On days like these soup is the perfect dish. It warms you when you come in out of the cold. There is something heart warming about a bowl of steaming soup and a slice of crusty bread. If served in a mug you can wrap your fingers round the cup and allow them to thaw gently, savouring the smell that wafts into the air.

leek and potato soup

Leek and potato soup is a satisfying soup to make. Peel a couple of potatoes and an onion, chop them up with a couple of leeks and simmer in some stock for a short while. A lovely aroma fills the house and all that needs to be done is to blitz the soup in a food processor. You can blitz it until it is smooth or leave a few chunks of leek in for a more hearty soup. Season to taste and serve. It is so simple to make and ready in a hurry. It is filling as well. So often the colder days leave you feeling hungry and needing more to eat. This will keep the hunger pangs at bay, it even filled up my teenage son which takes some doing. He is always raiding the fridge and cupboards looking for more food to eat, teenage boys are always hungry. Anything that helps to fill them has got to be good.

Leek and potato soup recipe

Leek and potato soup
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 leeks
  2. 1 onion
  3. 2 potatoes
  4. 50g butter
  5. 850ml vegetable or chicken stock
  6. 275ml milk
  7. salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the onion and potatoes into chunks
  2. Trim the leeks and cut into fine pieces
  3. Melt the butter in the pan and add the leeks, onions and potatoes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and cook gently for around ten minutes until softened
  5. Add the stock and the milk, cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Blend to a purée and serve
Notes
  1. Add a little cream if desired
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
What are your favourite soups? Do you know any recipes I should try?

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