Tag Archives: soup

Joy of Soup

Red Winter Soup

One of the lovely things about the darker nights and colder weather is that home-made soup is on the menu more often.

Tonight we had Red Winter Soup which packed full of Vitamin C to help ward off colds.

In our local Co-op this morning I found four tins of Chestnut Puree in the bargain bucket for only 34p each so I bought them all for future use in Chestnut and Bacon Soup

Pea and Ham Soup

With root vegetables becoming seasonally cheaper, lovely lentil and vegetable soups can be recycled for days.
Make a huge pot and on Day 1 cook some chops or chicken pieces in it.  On Day 2 add some sausages and on Day 3 eat it on its own with good bread and a chunk of decent cheese.

Raid your local butcher or delicatessen and ask them for ham bones for hearty Pea and Ham Soup.

There are still patches of new nettles out there

And of course, let us not forget that Halloween is coming up.  Don’t just carve pumpkins, scoop out the flesh and use it for Pumpkin Soup.

And the beauty is that most soup can be made from Storecupboard Ingredients!   Put Soup into the ‘Search’ box for more souper recipes.


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Leftover Stilton (or the cheese that broke the camel’s back)

In which is demonstrated the uses for leftover Stilton Cheese in Cauliflower or Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Leek and Stilton Soup, Cauliflower or Broccoli Cheese, Huntingdon Stuffed Pears and Stilton and Nut Mousse.

* * *

If, like me, you have been left with a chunk of Stilton large enough to set up in business as a purveyor of fine fromage, you will, by now, be staring at your cheese plate with a mixture of admiration and fear.  On Christmas Eve, I went to Welton’s in Great Bowden to collect my Christmas order of a small Pork Pie, some Black Bomber, some Brie and a modest amount of Colston Basset Stilton.

A proportion of the Stilton was consumed at Christmas Tea with a chunk remaining that was manageable by a single adult over a period of a week.  But as luck would have it, I was given a massive chunk by Sister the Second who had been over-serviced by her supermarket.  It is sitting in the fridge glowering at me like The Cheese in the Railway Carriage so evocatively described by Jerome K. Jerome.

I was going to spin this out over a couple of days, but that would be too much like the Stilton. 
This is what you can do with it. 

HUNTINGDON STUFFED PEARS  have been featured earlier.  Click on the link for the recipe

CAULIFLOWER OR BROCCOLI CHEESE  use the cheese sauce recipe in the link but substitute Stilton for Cheddar. It’s rich but gorgeous. 


1 x medium saucepan
1 x stick blender or ordinary blender

1oz / 30g butter
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 medium cauliflower or largish head of broccoli – broken into florets
1 pint / 600ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tblspn mixed herbs or a bouquet garni
½ a medium potato – peeled, diced and cooked
½ pint milk
4oz / 120g Stilton Cheese

Melt the butter in the pan
Add the onion and fry gently until soft
Add the cauliflower or broccoli, herbs and stock and milk
Bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetable is soft
Allow to cool slightly, add the potato and remove the bouquet garni if using one
Mix to a smooth puree with the blender
Stir in the cheese until it has melted

** Post post note:  Leek and Stilton also make an excellent soup.  Cook 2 large, finely sliced leeks in with the onions then add the stock and proceed as per the recipe.


8 x ramekin dishes – greased & with a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom
1 x medium saucepan
1 x whisk

1oz /30g butter
2 level tablespoons plain flour
7floz / 200ml milk
7floz / 200ml vegetable stock
1 sachet of gelatine
40z / 120g Stilton cheese
2 eggs – separated – whites whisked to form stiff peaks
¼ pint / 150ml crème fraiche
2oz / 60g walnuts – chopped

Melt the butter in the pan over a medium heat
Stir in the flour to form a thick paste
Gradually whisk in the milk and stock until it thickens and starts to bubble
Remove from the heat.
Sprinkle over the gelatine and whisk until it has dissolved and is thoroughly mixed in
Add the cheese and stir until melted
Whisk in the egg yolks and season to taste
Fold in the crème fraiche with a metal spoon
Then fold in the whisked egg whites and gently stir in the walnuts
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dishes
Chill until set
Serve with a green salad


Filed under Christmas, Entertaining, Food, Leftovers, Recipes

Spicy Parsnip Soup

We haven’t had a recipe for a while so I thought I’d share my supper with you.  This recipe serves 6 and is very filling.   Remember that soup freezes well (probably just by leaving it outside the back door at the moment) so consider making a double quantity and popping it in the freezer for an instant, warming treat for another time.

Also remember that spicy vegetables are rather good for the liver.  I know mine needs help…

I was going to talk to you very seriously about the iniquities of socks , but I’m rather tired so I’ll leave that for another day.   I have Opinions about socks so keep your eyes peeled.


1 x large pan
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x hand blender

Ingredients: *mostly storecupboard
3oz / 90g butter
2 medium onions – chopped
2lb parsnips – peeled and cubed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin (freshly ground if poss but from the jar is fine)
½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ pints of chicken or vegetable stock *
¼ pint double cream *

Melt the butter in the pan
Add the onions, parsnips and spices and cook until the parsnips are softening (+/- 10 mins)
Add the stock and bring to the boil
Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the parsnips are soft enough to puree
Allow to cool slightly then puree with the hand blender
Stir in the cream
Serve with crusty, seedy bread

* If you have no cream, use ¾ pint of stock and ¾ pint of milk

Also, if you don’t have the full amount of parsnips, a few carrots can added quite happily.  In fact, for variation and excitement, carrots can be substituted entirely, but try parsnips first.


Filed under Food, Recipes

Chestnut and Bacon Soup

This is a luxurious, warming and filling winter soup that I often serve when I have friends round for lunch.  If you keep a can of chestnut puree in the larder, it can be produced, with or without bacon, at the drop of a hat.  If you are feeding Vegefriends, leave out the bacon and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

I know I give you quite a few soup recipes but they are just such good food.  They can operate as warming, energy giving fast food and you can hide all manner of things in a soup that a child or fussy person might sneer at if presented in recognisable form.

1 x chopping board
1 x large saucepan
1 x measuring jug

2oz / 60g butter
1 medium onion – finely chopped
4 rashers of bacon – chopped
1 tblspn dried sage or 2 tblspn fresh chopped sage
1 x 436 tin of chestnut puree
1 pint of chicken stock
¼ pint / 150ml double cream

Saute the onion, bacon and sage in the butter until the onion is translucent
Add the chestnut puree and stir well
Gradually add the stock, stirring briskly to break down the puree
Simmer for 15 minutes
Add half the cream
Serve immediately using the remaining cream to put a generous swirl on each bowlful
Serve with tasty bread


Filed under Food, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

A Red Winter Soup to keep out the chills

This soup is full of vegetables and herbs that are blood cleansing, immune system boosting, low fat  and full of vitamin C.  Like most soups, it is quick and easy to make and it uses predominantly storecupboard ingredients.  I would not recommend that people with arthritis eat too much of this, as it is quite acidic; tomatoes and peppers are well known to exacerbate arthritis.

Red Winter Soup 19.10.091 x large saucepan
1 x medium saucepan
1 x stick blender
1 x chopping board
1 x wooden spoon

1 oz / 30g butter
1 medium red onion – finely chopped
1 red pepper – finely chopped
2 large carrots – sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
8oz / 240g  red lentils – cooked according to the instructions on the pack
1 pint / 600ml chicken stock (vegetable stock if you prefer)
1 tspn paprika
1 tspn turmeric
½ tspn cumin
A little cream to swirl on top if you like

Melt the butter in the large pan on a medium heat
Add the onion and pepper and cook until soft but not browned
Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil
Turn down the heat and simmer until the carrots are soft.
Puree with the blender.
Serve with a swirl of cream and nice bread

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Filed under Food, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Chickens and How to Use Them: Day 3 – Inadvertant Broccoli Soup

In which the Wartime Housewife makes Broccoli Soup out of what she can find in the larder.

Broccoli Soup 05.08.09My plan for ‘Chicken – Day 3’ was to give you a recipe for my acclaimed Celery and Apple Soup, a lovely refreshing and bodily cleansing summer soup.  However, I had not taken into account the guerrilla style tactics employed by The Boys in pursuit of a midnight feast.  I suppose I should be glowing with pride that the things that went missing from the larder were the celery, the last carrot, the apples, the last of the cheese and a packet of oatcakes. 

Realistically, of course, they know that that there are nine levels of Hell reserved for those who take The Last Flapjacks, and the prospect of spending the rest of the summer holiday in the icy darkness of Level 9, with nothing but demons with pointy teeth for company has clearly made an impression.

Consequently, I was forced into level nine of the larder, fridge and freezer to scavenge what I could to make supper.  This, of course, is what the Wartime Housewife is all about, being able to produce a nutritious meal out of nothing.  The scouring began.  I found an onion (always a good start), one stick of celery and a bag of frozen broccoli.  Let the soup begin!


1 large saucepan
Chopping board
1 stick blender

1 onion – chopped
1 good knob of butter with a little splash of oil
1 stick of celery – chopped
1 x 1kg bag of frozen broccoli
1 pint chicken or vegetable stock
1 heaped tspn dried parsley
1 pinch nutmeg
¼ pint of full fat milk (or 1/8 pint cream if you have it)

Melt the butter and oil in the pan on a moderate heat
Add the onion and celery and cooked until translucent
Add the broccoli and toss about in the butter.
Add the stock and parsley and cook until the broccoli is soft
Add the nutmeg and the milk and blend until smooth.
Season to taste.

Now wasn’t that easy?  And completely scrumptious.


Filed under Food, Recipes, Storecupboard

Chickens and How to Use Them – Day 1: roast chicken, stuffing and stock

Happy Chickens

Happy Chickens

I love chickens.  They are very pleasant creatures, with a friendly calming disposition and can be kept for their utterly delicious eggs even in a relatively small garden.  Also one moderately sized bird (about 4lb / 1.9kg) can make several economical meals if it is used to its full potential.

I based the following on feeding a family of four.


1.     Pre-heat the oven to 200 / 400 / 6

2.     Stuff with Simple Stuffing detailed below

3.     Sprinkle the chicken with mixed herbs and a little paprika.

4.     If you hate cleaning your oven, wrap the chicken in foil and put it in a roasting tin

5.     Place in the oven for 20 minutes

6.     Turn the heat down to about 140 / 275 /1 and cook for about an hour

7a.   If you’re using foil, turn the heat up to 200 / 400 / 6 again and open up the foil on top and put the bird back in to crisp up for 10 minutes.  To test if the chicken is cooked, dig a fork deeply into the bit between the leg and the body.  If the juices run clear then it’s cooked.  If they are pink or have red bits in, give another 15 minutes and then test again.  Presuming the chicken is cooked, go to 7b.

7b.   If you’re not using foil, turn the oven off and leave to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes while you cook the vegetables.

8.     Carve all the meat off the chicken and set aside half of it for the next day.  Keep the bones, you’re going to need them.

9.     Remove all the stuffing and serve on a plate with the carved roast chicken.  Anything that isn’t eaten is gorgeous in a sandwich with jam or redcurrant jelly.  Really.

Serve with boiled or roast potatoes and at least two different kinds of lightly cooked vegetables and use the vegetable water for the gravy. 

If there are any leftover bones and skin add them to the other bones for stock. 


1 onion – medium, finely chopped

1 good knob of butter

8oz (250g) sausagemeat

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or ½ tbsp dried parsley

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage or ½ tbsp dried sage

Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice


1.     Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and soften the onions until translucent.  Take the pan off the heat.

2.     Add all the other ingredients and mix well with your hands, really squishing it all together.

3.     Stuff it inside the cavity of the chicken.

NB:  If you’re feeling saucy, how about adding a small tin of chestnuts, chopped, to the mixture.  A couple of garlic cloves add a bit of zing as well.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how to use the remaining half of the chicken for a tasty peasant style Italian Risotto that is equally nice for vegetarians if you leave out the chicken.


1.     Put all the remaining bones and skin into a large pan and cover with water.  Pop in a bay leaf and some 6 peppercorns. 

2.     For a light stock, simmer gently on a low heat for 3-4 hours with a few pieces of    chopped carrot, a bit of celery and a bit of onion.  Strain and use as required..

For a heavier stock follow step one, but keep it simmering for a couple of days, topping up the water, adding any vegetable water you have, and any other bones until the stock is quite dark.  Strain and use as required.

*   *   *

Before I sign off, there must be a Word about Welfare.  I know that it is very tempting to buy two chickens for £5 in the supermarket.  Before you do, have a look at the http://www.chickenout.tv website.  It is  impossible to produce a chicken for £2.50 if it has been cared for properly, with freedom to move, to peck, to roost, socialise and been fed a natural diet.    Chicken doesn’t necessarily have to be completely free range, although obviously that is what we should all be aiming for, but there are plenty of chickens available that have natural light and freedom to roam but which aren’t actually free range.  Yes, they cost more than £2.50 each but a decent chicken will last three meals and I truly believe that with a properly produced bird, who has had time to mature naturally, you don’t actually need to eat as much.  And one more thing.  Before anyone suggests that they can’t afford it, the Wartime Housewife lives on a lower income than most of you can possibly imagine but I would rather go without chicken than eat an animal who has had a miserable life. 

Look out for future blogs on meat buying and cooking with cheaper cuts.

May I extend my grateful thanks to Mr de Worde who kindly sent the photographs of his very beautiful and very happy chickens.
Inquisitive Chicken

Inquisitive Chicken

Three Happy Chickens

Three Happy Chickens


Filed under Ethics, Food, Livestock, Recipes

Soup Beautiful Sooooop

Soup 1

Soup is a wonderful thing.  Not only is it cheap and nutritious but you can make soup out of almost anything and it can be a marvellous way of using up left-overs.  It is also an excellent and sneaky method of concealing vegetables that your children claim not to like.  My younger son resolutely refuses to eat peppers but hide red peppers in a red coloured soup and he will invariably have a second bowlful.  Served with nice bread and perhaps a bit of cheese, a pot of soup will feed a family comfortably, fill you up more than you might think and cost next to nothing.  Also, the great thing about soup is that you can get away with vegetables that are a  little older.  If you shop at the end of the day or first thing on Monday morning, there are often fantastic bargains to be had in the reduced sections.  At the weekend I bought a 3lb bag of carrots for 20p, a bag of onions for 30p and some mixed peppers for 30p.  Together with some lentils, a pot of Lentil, Carrot and Red Pepper Soup cost about 50p and provided me and boys with a hearty supper two nights running.  Any remainder can be put in tubs and stored in the freezer (taking care to label the tubs so you know what you’re eating later).  Plastic Chinese takeaway tubs make perfect portion containers.  It also means that when you’re feeling too tired to cook, you always have a nourishing meal in the freezer which can be ready in a few minutes without resorting to something you might regret.

The basic ingredients for soup are stock, a little oil or butter, an onion and whatever else you want to put in.  It really is as simple as that.  I would recommend making your own stock when possible but Chicken or vegetable Oxo cubes do the job just as well and can always be kept in the cupboard (see future blogs for basic essential storecupboard ingredients). A stick blender is also your friend here and a basic one can be bought from Argos and elsewhere for as little as £4.89.  The great thing about soup is that you can make it how YOU like it – thick or thin, plain or spicy according to taste. 

Lentil, Carrot & Red Pepper  Soup

 This soup is packed full of Vitamin C and protein, so good for everyone!

1 onion – finely chopped *
1 tablespoon of oil *
1 knob of butter *
(4oz) 120g red lentils – cooked as per instructions on the packet *
2 large carrots – finely sliced
1 red pepper – finely sliced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes *
1 pint stock (approx) – vegetable or chicken *
1 heaped teaspoon of dried parsley *
1 flat teaspoon of coriander powder *
Salt and pepper to taste *

Put the oil and butter into a large pan on a moderate heat (oil stops the butter from burning).  When melted, add the onion and cook for five minutes or until translucent.  Add the carrots, pepper and tomatoes, then add the cooked lentils.  Add the stock a bit at a time, stirring as you do it.  Add the parsley and coriander.  Cook on a low simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are completely soft.  Blend to a puree with your stick blender.  If you need a little extra stock to make it thinner, then pour it in a bit at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.  Season to taste.

Serve with tasty bread and perhaps a nice bit of cheddar

* Denotes compulsory store cupboard ingredients.  I will expand on this in a future blog.

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Filed under Food, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard, Uncategorized