Vanessa’s SPINACH AND CELERY SOUP
I love soup, I have even been known to order it in the scorching hot summer. My ultimate soup would have to be a seafood chowder but a close second and a totally different soup that I totally love is the Thai Tom Yum Goong and Gai. I chose to make spinach soup this week as it was really a matter of what I had in the fridge. I didnt have fresh spinach but a bag of frozen. This soup is super easy to make and can be bumped up with cream, milk or even sour-cream/creme fraiche. To add a bit of fancy pants garnish to my soup I topped it with toasted almonds rough garlic croutons. These croutons really added texture to the soup. I highly recommend them. Serve them on the side so your guests can keep adding them. They go soggy pretty quickly so add and eat and then add some more.
- 50g butter
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 500g spinach washed and stems removed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- pinch nutmeg
- sour cream or unsweetened yoghurt
- Melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is clear.
- Add spinach, stock, salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to the boil, cover and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the spinach is limp but still very green.
- Add sugar.
- Puree in a blender until smooth.
- Add nutmeg.
- Serve garnished with a swirl of sour cream.
Notes + adaptations
I used 300g frozen spinach and about 5 stems of chopped celery. I added the celery to the onion and garlic mix. I omitted the sugar and nutmeg. I didn’t have any fresh stock so used stock cubes – one per cup of water.
Croutons – all I did was combine roughly chop sliced white bread, crusts and all, a few garlic cloves chopped up and slivered almonds. I added salt and pepper and a splash or two of olive oil and grilled it in a baking tray for about 5 minutes or until golden. Check frequently and give the tray a shake. These are totally worth making – better than regular croutons!!!
Ingrid’s CREAMY TOASTY MUSHROOM SOUP
My partner Jim grew up on a mushroom farm, and I remember when I first met his family I wondered if they were lovers or haters of mushrooms after so many years of growing and picking them (they are still lovers!), I was surprised at how fast they grew (from a pinprick to fully opened – 3 days!), and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these massive long dark tunnels in which they grew. It never occurred to me that mushrooms grow better in the dark, I totally expected to visit and see a huge field of white button mushrooms staring back at me. It was hard graft, early starts, labour intensive, but I always thought how wonderful it was that the whole family got involved from the three boys (Jim’s brothers) to the amazing Grandma Grace who was still picking mushrooms well into her 80’s. I’m also a mushroom fan, my favourite mushroom dish of all time happens to be Vanessa’s Balsamic Mushrooms. However, I’ve never made mushroom soup – no idea why – just haven’t, so this was a great opportunity to try my hand at modernising the Edmonds Cookery Book’s Mushroom Soup recipe. This is super quick, no tricks, blending or special skills required, so a perfect dish for slap up lunch on a wintery day.
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 500gm mushrooms, sliced
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 2 Cups milk
- 1 Cup chicken stock
- ½ tsp salt
- white pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- chopped parsley/chives
- Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook until onion is clear.
- Stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Gradually add milk and stock, stirring constantly.
- Bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until soup thickens slightly.
- Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Serve garnished with parsley.
Notes + adaptations
I added 100 grams of saute shitake mushrooms (fried in a splash of olive oil until golden) piled high on the top of each bowl of soup. I also add a teaspoon of cream cheese to each bowl just prior to serving. It’s looks good, as well as adds flavour and thickness to the soup when mixed through. I served each bowl of soup with a toasted slice of heavy rye bread spread with butter.