These autumn days are so enjoyable for me. I’ve just got into mushroom foraging and September and October are glorious times to be outside! This weather is making me crave comforting foods like stew and dumplings, rich, warming soup and cosy curries! I’m not one of those lucky people who can eat anything and stay slim. In fact, at the moment I feel like I might be carrying a pound or two more than I would like.
I’m not much of an active person now, but I used to go to an all girl’s boxing class twice a week which I loved. Sadly the class ended when the coach moved to Australia (female boxing coaches seem to be hard to come by in Colchester). Our coach was an awesome lady who taught us that exercise is really only a small part of the battle! They say abs are made in the kitchen not the gym for a reason! When I feel my jeans getting a bit tight I start busting out foods that will really satisfy me with “bulk” as well as great flavour without being massively calorific!
The title of this soup is party soup which is a family name for it – someone misheard my mum describing it as a “hearty soup” and the name has stuck. It really doesn’t matter if you don’t use all of the ingredients or switch something out – the soup is really versatile! I find using root vegetables is a good way to fill you up though! This makes a large stock pot of soup which is suitable for freezing.
1 large leek, washed and chopped
2 large onions, diced
1 medium swede, peeled and cubed
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
100g cavolo nero, chopped (I keep the stems in)
Crushed garlic (I use about 8 cloves in this – trust me it works)
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
A butt load of dried herbs and fresh if you have them! I add fresh thyme, fresh oregano, dried basil, dried parsley and dried oregano and dried mixed herbs
A couple of vegetable stock cubes
Half a tube of tomato purée
This is so simple I literally throw all the chopped veg (apart from the cavolo nero), garlic and herbs into the pot with the canned tomatoes, purée and stock cubes.
I refill each of the tomato cans with water and chuck water in to just cover the veg. I stick it on medium and cook for about 20 minutes, then add the chopped kale and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender – adding water as it needs it!
To serve you can either have it on its own, or with grated cheese on top (if you can afford the calories!)
If I need a more substantial meal I add in cooked orzo pasta (pictured), cooked pearl barley or cooked quinoa.