It may be April but this week has felt decidedly autumnal at times. We have been beaten by hail storms, whipped by torrential rain only to then be treated with bursts of amazing sunshine. Today is no exception and rain is falling relentlessly from a dull sky and so my thoughts turned to soup.
I am having to be careful with my diet at the moment due to a nasty flare-up of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, no doubt exacerbated by a recent change of career,and so I consulted one of my favourite new cookbooks, 'Pippa Kendrick - The Intolerant Gourmet' and her blog www.theintolerantgourmet.com.
Pippa clusters her recipes by season and having flicked through Spring, I used her recipe for Garden Soup as inspiration to create my own Springtime Soup.
Springtime Soup (makes four servings)
1 red onion
4 sticks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
good slug of olive or vegetable oil
2 sweet potatoes
125g mix of frozen peas and broad beans
1 litre marigold vegetable bouillon
glass of white wine or sherry
1 bay leaf
1 bag of washed watercress
salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop the first four ingredients fairly finely.
2. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and chop the courgette into similar sized pieces as the potato chunks.
3. Warm the oil in a large pan (I used a casserole) and add the chopped vegetables. Sweat with the lid on for five minutes until softened, making sure that you have sufficient oil to stop the veggies catching. Season.
4. Add the sweet potatoes, return the lid and continue to sweat for up to 10 minutes.
5. Add the courgette, frozen peas/beans and pour in the stock and alcohol (if using). Add the bay leaf and season.
6. Bring to the boil then simmer with the lid on for around 20-30 minutes.
7. Remove the bay leaf.
8. Chop or cut the watercress and stir into the vegetables.
9. Remove from the heat and then either remove half of the mix and blitz with a hand-held blender or simply blitz it in the pan, depending on how chunky you like your soup.
10. Season again to taste, reheat and enjoy.
I added some tinned butter beans to a bowl for a protein kick and am looking forward to being welcome home from work by the leftovers throughout the coming week.