A Very Easy Soup…

I recently failed to make green split pea soup, because the plague of uncookability that’s affected GSPs across the world for the past few years has now affected the last bastion (as far as I know), of GSPs that perform properly in the pan** – the organic supply from Canada.

**Which is to say they absorb water, soften, swell, and collapse into a thick, silky-smooth mush, to which you then add more water to get your preferred consistency. Instead, they break down into inedible green grit, which thickens the liquid not at all and just lurks balefully at the bottom of the pan. Adding flour will thicken it, and it will look like pea soup, but it won’t taste like it.

So I gave up and made split red lentil soup, instead. And that didn’t work either. However, it turned out that this was my fault, after I’d had time to think.

I’d not made it for some years, having become obsessed with getting edible pea soup which, admittedly, I prefer and, being used to making it in a much smaller pan, I failed to scale up the recipe sufficiently, the result being a thin and not very tasty soup.

I decided to put that right.

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Green Split Pea Soup… Or Not.

This was going to be a pea soup recipe. To the best of my knowledge not a traditional pea soup, as it contains root vegetables besides onions. It is, though, how it was made when I was a kid in darkest Manchester, and is one of the earliest things I learned to make.

As well as the veg, it was also usual to make it with 50% yellow split peas, and 50% split red lentils, not a good mix in my view, and I eventually switched to 100% green split peas, which I continued to use until a couple of years ago (and the lentils, of course, went into lentil soup), when the green split pea supply went to hell. They just wouldn’t cook. Instead of absorbing water and becoming soft and mushy, before disintegrating into a thick, silky-smooth soup, they just – taking hours to do so – became hard, green, grit and the “soup” would remain as watery as it was at the start.

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Spicy Organic Red Lentil Soup, with sweet paprika, cumin, and dates.

I thought it was time I cobbled up a new vegetarian soup recipe as I tend to stick with two favourites lately, Roasted Cauliflower & Potato which, frankly, is amazingly good (I’ve made it with King Edwards and with Rooster, and I prefer Rooster, though both are very good – not just my opinion, by the way), and Cannellini Beans and Vegetables .

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Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Soup…

This recipe came about after buying an organic Savoy cabbage and two organic caulies from Tesco – which tasted of bugger all. So, left with one caulie, and always loathe to throw out food, last night I decided to break it down into florets, slice up the stalk, douse it in melted clarified butter, and roast it. In my mini oven, to keep the cost down (if you’re on benefits and, like me, have no gas supply, then a mini oven is vastly cheaper to run than the one in an electric cooker; a good one will set you back close to £100, or even more, but a basic one can be had for around £30).

Once roasted, it was left

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Veggie Kitchen Tips – Cutting costs and colouring soup…

One of the problems making soup (specifically this one) with canned beans is that there is no bean stock for flavour. While weight for weight, canned beans cost the same as soaking and cooking your own (more or less, depending on brand – I use Napolina exclusively – and special offers), there’s no getting away from the lack of stock. The solution is to soak and cook your own – and cut food costs while doing so by using a slow cooker.

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