mushroom soup

Meat free Mondays doesn’t have to be boring nor tasteless. With a few simple ingredients and beautiful fresh produce, you can enjoy a flavourful vegetarian dish, without feeling you have missed out on life.
By building a strong foundation, adding the right spices and umami for richness, you can create a sensational meal.
Mushrooms are a rich, low calorie source of protein, fiber and antioxidants and may reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
This soup has a strong, earthy taste and smell with beautiful umami flavour from the shitake mushrooms and soy sauce. It is creamy and comforting with a complex texture.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, halved and sliced
2t garlic, crushed
250g button mushrooms, sliced, halved & quartered
150g shitake mushrooms, halved, sliced & quartered
200g brown mushrooms, sliced
1/3C soy sauce
6 thyme stalks, leaves only + extra for garnish
3C chicken stock
1t paprika
1/2t smoked paprika
1/2C cream
2T olive oil
2T butter
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
creme fraiche, optional

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and butter and sauté the onion until glossy. Add the leeks & garlic and cook for a further two minutes while stirring.
Add the mushrooms, stir to coat and then add the paprika and cook for two minutes while stirring.
Pour the stock and soy sauce into the pot followed by the thyme.
Stir and bring the mixture to the boil. Turn the temperature down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the mushrooms are fork tender.
Remove the pot from the heat and using a stick blender, puree only half of the soup. Taste and season with salt & black pepper.
Return the pot to the heat and stir in the cream. Cook for 5 more minutes on a low heat.
Stir the chopped parsley through the soup.

Serve warm with a dollop of creme fraiche, additional black pepper and thyme leaves.

split pea soup (with pork)

Cold, wet days are perfect to indulge in beautiful, thick, tasty soups. In my view soup just isn’t soup without fresh crusty bread, with lots of salted butter or crispy cheese toasties. This, however, is my opinion and one I will not change any time soon.
We are (sadly) nearing the end of our winter season with spring around the corner. But with the icy chill in the air and the snow capped mountains I am by no means ready to start cooking or dressing spring.
Pea soup brings back many childhood memories for me. Not only was it a favorite in my mothers’ kitchen but also the kitchen of my paternal grandmother. The lingering smell of this soup sits firm in my memory bank.
This recipe, however, is my simple version of a pea (and ham) soup…I used pork rashers instead of ham and I enjoy the addition of cubed carrots. I also prefer to blend my soup to achieve a beautifully smooth, silky, velvety texture before adding the carrots.

ingredients | serves 6 – 8 | easy
1T olive oil & a little extra to fry the rashers
1T butter
500g split peas, rinsed
4 pork rashers (about 400g)
1 large white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 large carrots, cubed
2t fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
4C chicken broth
3-4C water
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
fresh parsley, for garnish
creme fraiche, garnish

cooking method
In a large pot with tight fitting lid, heat about a tablespoon of oil and brown the pork rashers on both sides. Set aside.
In the same pot, without wiping it clean, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and butter and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Add the celery and peas to the pot, stir to coat and cook for another minute or so.
Pour the chicken broth into the pot followed by the water.
Add the thyme & bay leaves and season with salt & pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil and add the pork rashers.
Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork rashers making sure you removed any bone that may still have been in the rashers. Set aside to cool.
Using a stick blender, blend the soup mixture until silky smooth. Add the cubed carrot, cover with the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes . occasionally stirring, until the carrots are soft.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir the chopped meat through the mixture.

Serve the soup warm garnished with fresh chopped parsley and a good dollop of creme fraiche.

brown & split red lentil soup

an edible legume, lentils are an excellent source of protein and make for a wonderful, tasty soup. perfect for vegetarians and vegans, if using vegetable stock.
lentils are an Indian staple, where the majority of world production comes from.
i love a tomato based lentil soup to which you can add almost any vegetable. for a meatier taste add a nice piece of lamb or beef.
lentil soup calls for affordable ingredients you most likely have in your pantry and is a well-balanced and nutritious meal.
any leftovers freezes and thaws really well.
and of course, no soup should be served without freshly baked bread, salted butter and dollops of double thick cream…

ingredients | serves 6
3tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2c red split lentils
1/2c brown lentils
1 large carrot, grated
1 can chopped tomato
2tbs tomato paste
3 celery stalks, chopped
1tsp dried thyme
pinch red pepper flakes
3tbs brown sugar
1 1/2tsp salt
black pepper
2lt chicken stock or vegetable stock
1tsp lemon juice
1c freshly chopped parsley

heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. sauté the onion & garlic until glossy. add the red & brown lentils and stir until coated, about 2 minutes.
add the tomato paste, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
add the carrot, celery, dried thyme, brown sugar, canned tomato, chilli flakes, salt & pepper, stir to combine and cook for three minutes.
pour the stock into the pot, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 30 – 35 minutes until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
stir in the chopped parsley and cook for two more minutes. adjust the seasoning if necessary.
remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice.
serve hot with dollops of double thick cream, crusty bread and salted butter.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

chickpea, butternut & chilli soup

another easy and very tasty winter warmer, perfect for long rainy days.
this soup is thick and hearty and best served with warm ciabatta, salted butter and fresh cream.
use vegetable stock if you are opting for vegetarian / vegan option and omit the cream.
i also think crumbled feta or grilled halloumi will be perfect served alongside or on top.

ingredients |. serves 6
4tbs oliv oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
300g butternut, peeled & cubed
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
2c spinach or swiss chard, torn
1 large carrot, cut into blocks
1 small red chilli, chopped with seeds
1.5lt chicken stock
2tbs brown sugar
1/2c cream
1tsp salt
black pepper

in a large skillet, heat the olive oil.
saute the onion & garlic until glossy. add the vegetables, stir to coat with olive oil and saute for about 2 minutes.
add the chilli, brown sugar, salt & pepper and stir through. pour the chicken stock into the pot and bring to a rapid boil. turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. remove the lid and cook for a further ten minutes or until the vegetable are tender.
remove the pot from the heat and cool the mixture down for about twenty minutes.
blend the mixture until smooth. pour the soup back into the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. (add more water if desired)
stir the cream into the soup and simmer for a further ten minutes.
adjust the seasoning if necessary.
pour into soup bowls, drizzle with fresh cream and enjoy.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

creamy coconut & veg soup

soup is so underrated and really actually deserve more little gold stars. i love soup, summer right through winter and this creamy coconut soup, packed with goodness, is right at the top of my ‘delicious ladder.’
add chickpeas, white beans or shredded chicken for some extra protein and decadence.
i prefer a thick, smooth consistency for this soup but there is nothing wrong with chunks of tasty veggies in a light broth.
serve this soup alongside a fresh, crusty bread and some rich, creamy cheese…

ingredients |
3tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
500g butternut, cut into blocks
300g cauliflower, broken into florets
2 large carrots, peeled & cut into blocks
2 celery sticks, chopped
2lt chicken or vegetable stock
250ml coconut milk
3tbs brown sugar
1tsp salt
black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4tsp ground cumin
fresh parsley, garnish
toasted flaked almonds, garnish (optional)

in a large pot, heat oil & butter and saute onion & garlic until soft & translucent. add the vegetables, sugar, cayenne pepper & cumin and stir to coat. pour the stock into the pot, turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes on low, until vegetables are soft.
blend the mixture until smooth, adding more stock/water if you desire a thinner consistency.
season with salt & pepper.
stir the coconut milk through the soup mixture and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
garnish with fresh parsley & toasted almond flakes and serve with fresh bread, butter and cheese.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x