Tomato & Bean Soup

This is such a lovely hearty soup, that almost verges on being a vegetable stew.  We eat this most weeks throughout the year.  It warms you up in the winter, and is somehow refreshing in the summer months.  You can add some croutons if you like, which gives a lovely crunch.

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Ingredients

Olive oil, for frying

1 Large onion, chopped

1 Large carrot diced small

2 Sticks celery, diced small

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tin of cannellini beans

1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

Good pinch of sugar

4 Leaves of Cavolo Nero cut into thick shreds

Good handful of Parmesan Cheese

400ml of Vegetable stock

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Fry off the onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes gently in a little olive oil.   Then add the garlic cloves, tomatoes and simmer for a further five minutes.  Then add a generous pinch of sugar (this helps to stop the tomatoes tasting too sharp) then add the chilli flakes, cannellini beans, parmesan, cavolo nero, vegetable stock, plus seasoning of salt and pepper. If I have a rind of parmesan then I will add that too, making sure that I remove it before serving.  Gently cook for around 20 minutes or so with a lid, until the carrot is tender.  If you need more stock then just add it.  Taste for seasoning.  Then serve.

 

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Asparagus Soup

Roll on the better weather when we can enjoy this fabulous soup when it comes to asparagus season.  There is nothing like the taste of locally grown asparagus which usually appears from April-June.  Although the fickle British climate means you have to keep your eyes peeled for when it does start to emerge, but for an asparagus lover like me it is well worth the wait.    You can use foreign grown stuff, but I try to avoid it where possible and prefer to wait until it comes into season here and support my local farmers and growers.

 

asparagus soup

 

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Knob of Butter
450g Asparagus, finely chopped
1 Large onion finely chopped
500ml Chicken stock (Hot)
Salt & Pepper
Some double cream to swirl on top

Optional – Croutons

Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Then add in the onion and fry for four minutes, until transparent. Take the asparagus and add it into the pan and allow to cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Once cooked, take a hand blender and blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper. As a finishing touch add a swirl of cream, or mix it through the whole soup. You can also add some croutons on top when served into a bowl, which adds a nice texture and crunch.

Pea & Mint Soup

I love this soup, in fact it is probably one of my favourites.  It is so simple and does not need a long list of ingredients as most of them are already in your home.

More recipes available at Midweek Meals Made Easy

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700g Peas – frozen can be used as well a fresh
1 large onion sliced
1 medium potato cut into cubes
2tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
1 litre of vegetable stock
Good handful of mint leaves
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pan.
Add the onion and potato and gently cook for around 5 minutes.
Add the stock and cook with a lid on for  further 10 minutes so that the potato is cooked and soft.
Add the peas and mint and fast simmer for a further 3 minutes.
Blend the mixture until smooth.  For extra smoothness the soup can be passed through a sieve which will leave it ultra silky.  You can alter the texture and thickness of this soup to your liking by adding a little extra stock.

You can as an option, swirl some single cream or creme fraiche into it, with an extra mint sprig for decoration.