soups, entres, starters

Recipes - Starters

Is there anything quite as comforting as a nice bowl of hot soup on a cold day? Well, yes I suppose if you really wanted to think about it AND spend a lot of money we could probably all think of something … but for arguments sake humour me.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1lb (450g) old potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Good sized leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced small
300ml unsweetened Soya milk
250ml water
1 medium onion diced
2 heaped tablespoons Nutritional yeast
2 stock cubes
1 desert spoon of oil or vegan margarine to fry.

  • Cube the potatoes and simmer in the water for 5 minutes until they are not quite cooked through, set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, fry the onions and leeks in the oil or margarine until the onion becomes opaque.
  • Add the stock cubes and stir into the leeks / onions.
  • Add the potatoes (set the water aside)and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat.

  • Allow the soup to cool and add the soya milk. Make sure not to do this too soon as boiling can make some non dairy milk curdle.
  • In a large saucepan, fry the onions and leeks in the oil or margarine until the onion becomes opaque.
  • Return the soup to the heat and simmer gently, stir in the nutritional yeast until it dissolves. This should thicken the soup along with the starch from the potato. If it needs a little more thickening, add 1 heaped teaspoon of corn flour which has been made into a paste with a little water..

  • I usually allow my soups to stand for at least an hour before reheating thoroughly to serve, as this will improve the flavour immensely but it can be served straight away if you are in a rush or just can't wait. Serve with a warm baguette or just as it is with a sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper and sprig of parsley.

    Everytime I buy fresh beetroot, I wonder what to use the leaves for as they look so bright and tender. Apart from using as a vegetable or in a salad, why not try this easy to make, warming soup?

    1 tbs veg oil,
    2 sticks celery (chopped),
    1 carrot (chopped),
    4 cloves garlic (minced),
    1 big white onion (chopped),
    2 teasp cumin,
    leaves of 12 beetroots (well washed and roughly chopped),
    2 tbs balsamic vinegar,
    2 stems of fresh oregano (leaves only, 3 teasp dried oregano otherwise),
    1.5lt veg stock,
    1 tin chopped tomatoes,
    2 tbs tom puree,
    sea salt and cracked black pepper.

  • Heat veg oil on medium in a suitably large pan, add onions and soften for a couple of minutes, add celery and carrot and continue cooking and stirring for a couple more minutes. Then add cumin, garlic and balsamic, allow the vinegar to evaporate (getting rid of most of the acidity) then add your beetroot leaves and season with salt and pepper, stir in well.
  • Cook for a few minutes and when the leaves are wilting add the tomatoes, the oregano leaves and the puree, stir in and heat through, then add your stock and bring it all to the boil. Lower heat and cover, cook for 20 minutes, until all veg is tender. Then blend together using a hand blender or in batches in a food processor. The soup should be smooth, no lumps, check seasoning.
  • Can be served with a swirl of non-dairy cream / yoghurt . Lovely with a crusty bread bun too!