Although a staple of student diets, soup does not need to come from a tin, tasting like it does more harm than good. Autumn and winter are great seasons for hearty vegetables such as broccoli, chard, courgette, fennel, kale, leeks, parsnips, spinach, squash and sweet potatoes, so incorporate them into a soup, perfect for these cold and windy days. Served with a hunk of bread, soup is a quick, healthy and filling meal, which can be prepared in advance for maximum ease.
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Honey and parsnip soup
Parsnips are more than something to be eaten as a novelty at Christmas or Thanksgiving. With a taste and texture similar to that of a potato, parsnips are perfect roasted, fried or mashed. Their sweet flavour means that they are complementary to many ingredients, from bitter vegetables to game.
One onion, roughly chopped
A couple of cloves of garlic, crushed
One carrot, sliced finely
Five small parsnips, in small pieces
300ml vegetable stock
Two teaspoons runny honey
Sour cream, to serve
Honey, to serve
Over a medium heat on the hob, sauté the onion, garlic and carrot with a dash of salt and pepper, until the onion has softened (about 10 minutes).
Add the stock, honey and parsnips and bring to the boil. Then cover and leave to simmer until the vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).
Purée and serve warm with a dollop of sour cream and honey.
Mint and kale soup
Despite its status as the ‘in’ food this year and as Gywneth Paltrow’s best friend, kale is hardly a passing fad. Sweet but peppery, kale is rich in antioxidants and is known for cancer-preventing qualities.
Four medium-sized potatoes, peeled
One large white onion, diced
A handful of garlic cloves, chopped
A large handful of kale, chopped
A medium-sized handful of spinach
500ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Single cream, to serve
Crusty bread, serve
Sauté the potatoes, onion and garlic over a medium heat in a generous drizzle of olive oil, and season with pepper and salt.
Once the onion has softened, add the kale and spinach, and leave to wilt for a few minutes.
Add the mint and stock, and bring to the boil. Return the heat to medium, and cook until the potatoes are soft (about 5 minutes).
Purée and serve with a drizzle of cream, finely sliced mint and crusty bread.
Roasted fennel and carrot soup
The aniseed-taste of fennel means that it is brilliant braised or roasted, sautéed or barbecued, so don’t discount it just because you don’t like liquorice. Fennel is great as the star of a dish (such as in this soup), or as the base of a meal, like in a stew or with roasted pork.
One onion, roughly chopped
5 carrots, peeled and roughly
One fennel bulb, trimmed (2cm above
the bulb) and sliced
Half a teaspoon of cumin
Half a teaspoon of nutmeg
500ml vegetable stock
100ml orange juice
In a preheated oven, roast the onion, carrots and fennel on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with the cumin, nutmeg and seasoned with the salt and pepper.
Once the vegetables have softened, (about 40 minutes), remove them from the oven and place in a pot.
Over medium heat, simmer the vegetables with the stock and orange juice for ten minutes.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.