Let it be known that I am one of soup’s biggest advocates. When Absolutely Souper opened in my local shopping centre (Milton Keynes, I admit with slightly less pride) I grinned at the witty beauty of its name and shed a small tear that finally a whole building had been dedicated to the hot pot of runny love that is a hearty bowl of soup.
I’m here to share with you that souping is the way forward. It doesn’t have to be the ‘light option;’ choice of extreme dieters and people who don’t like to eat a lot of food. In actual fact the condensed nature of a bowl of soup causes it to have a natural ‘put more in’ attitude. Far easier I find to eat-drink seven squashed down, juiced tomatoes than seven all on their own. It’s a chance to use up a lot of vegetables that perhaps just don’t make the cut in their natural form… A strange shape? About to go off? They’ve made a new cut folks; chop them up, give them a chance. The onion that’s sprouting its own forest might not be ready to be thrown, but instead crying out to be cocktailed alongside its other veggie friends in a cauldron of soup magic.
If you live with other people ask if they would like to contribute some of their vegetables to your concoction and make it a communal affair, make a soup baby together. The beauty of soup is that you can load it with virtually any vegetable you want and always—or mostly always (I try to forget the time I tried soya milk mushroom soup)—get something delicious tasting. Don’t forget the rock: The potato. The great thickener. Neither is this limited to the pale, knobbly spuds we all know. The potato has an exotic cousin, the sweet potato; long, slim and orange, she is a rival to any girl at a night club. However she’s not packed with Jägerbombs, but with essential vitamin A, which supports eyesight and is recognised as a lifesaving super-vitamin in many third world countries.
If, like me, you normally cook when at the point of starving, chop the veg up as small as possible so that you can soften everything quickly and eat sooner. Still unsure of what you’re going to be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner?—And yes, it absolutely works for breakfast—then here is an encouraging foodie fact: When everything is crushed down in soup form the nutrients in the food can be absorbed into your body faster. It is very easy to pack in your five a day when you soup it up because as I mentioned above, the more you blend the more you can add.
Soup is great because it’s for everyone. When you boil the kettle for your morning tea, overfill it and add some to a pan of veg. Just let it simmer away for a bit with some spice or herbs and now you’ve got lunch sorted too.
Not sure where to start? Grab a bag of basics carrots and boil them down with some cumin, coriander and salt for an instant and money saving classic. For a more gourmet option, try throwing in some dumplings or frozen spinach. Leftover curry is perfect for a filling mulligatawny with some chickpeas and boiled rice. Oh, and if you can help it, avoid the canned variety! Trust me, it will be so much more satisfying when you’ve made your own—for both your waist, your palette, and your wallet. So go on, get the kettle on.