This time of the year we are transitioning from winter eating to spring (and dare I say it a recent hint of summer) eating and seasonal produce. The warming comfort foods of soups, stews and curries may be substituted for more hearty salads and stir fries but the soup still remains supreme for now. Soup is so versatile in the ingredients that may be included, seasonal veg. can be utilised and swapped around for other readily available delicious vegetables. Once all the chopping is done it doesn’t take that much effort to make in one big saucepan and if an electric hand blender or jug blender is to hand then voila you have soup!
My favourite soups to make are
- Carrot & Ginger
- Sweet potato & carrot
- Sweet potato and red lentils
Heat coconut or grapeseed oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes until onion starts to soften. Add the grated or chopped ginger. If using lentils add now & stir for another minute. Add spices as required such as 1 tsp garam masala/cumin/paprika/curry powder – the possibilities are endless but these go well especially the cumin with the carrot & ginger or the paprika with the sweet potato and lentils.
Note: spices can be adjusted as per personal preference. Up the curry powder measurement if a mild variety is being used and you’re a curry head like me.
Stir once again to mix up the spices and then add the chopped carrots and/or sweet potato. Stir around for a few minutes.
Pour in the vegetable/chicken stock (about 1 litre if aiming for 4 portions) bring to a boil, and simmer for at least 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Note: sweet potato – depending on chunk size – cooks a lot quicker than chopped chunky carrots.
I like soup to have some decent protein to bulk the soup up so that it makes for a hearty filling lunch so my options are
- lentils (as mentioned above)
- beans – i have tried cannellini, butter beans and black-eyed beans. The black-eyed beans added lovely flavour and depth to a spicy sweet potato soup and whilst the soup colour may look a little unusual it tastes delicious!
Beta carotene goodness is right there in the orange vegetables, so it’s a good way to get some antioxidants into a single bowl.
Porridge is still a staple for these warmer – but still a hint of cool – mornings. There is still a risk of early morning grass frost according to weather reports and the chill of those dark winter mornings is still fresh in the memory bank – that’s my excuse to keep on the porridge anyway.
Berries will soon be back in season. I have noticed recently that the variety of fresh blueberries and raspberries that are appearing in local supermarkets are beginning to show less air miles than the variety available during the winter/early spring months.
But in the meantime whilst waiting for those in season berries, I have been using frozen berries to get my daily quota and they are not a bad replacement, especially the blueberries. Used directly from the freezer (once rinsed they thaw very quickly or soften into porridge) also means I don’t have as many wasted blueberries when they start to go furry 😕
Other vegetables in season currently are beetroot, outdoor rhubarb (not everyone’s favourite but I did have an amazing rhubarb crumble with hazelnuts recently when out for Sunday lunch) , spinach and spring greens.
So Happy Easter and happy seasonal eating!