Awesome Autumn Minestrone Soup in winter again : )

Some of you may remember this post (awesome autumn minestrone soup (even though it’s winter))…or possibly the fact that when I started my blog, to get more readers onto my site, I used to make soups, all kinds of soups, make them look pretty, shoot them, and then blog about them along with their recipes. I stopped doing this after while, mostly because Handmade by Me started taking off and I had way more exciting things to blog about, but also because I started getting sick of making and eating soups!

This soup below is one of my alltime favourites, and after going through a whole bunch of recipes to help me decide what to make for dinner tonight I remembered this little gem of a meal . I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, its so tasty and hearty and it needs absolutely nothing else with it! I am actually really looking forward to making it again. If you are into soups, I have loads of other delicious and super easy recipes posted in the earlier days of my blog. Here is the post I did over a year and a half ago…

awesome autumn minestrone soup (even though it’s winter)

This soup has a pile of ingredients in it but it is oh so worth every one!!! I got this recipe off jamie oliver’s website and have simplified it quite a lot otherwise you’d be there cooking all day : ) If you want to grow your own beans, and cook them for an extra half an hour, and add some more ingredients to the list, feel free to use his original recipe….or….for anyone with no time on their hands and the desire to create the perfect 1 pot meal here ya go….

The Recipe: Autumn Minestrone Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 400g tin cannellini beans
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
4 rashers smoked pancetta or bacon, preferably free-range or organic
2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
½ a head of fennel, chopped (if you can’t find fennel crush 1 tsp of fennel seeds…don’t leave it out!)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves and stalks separated
2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes
a glass of red wine
2 small courgettes, quartered and sliced
200g baby spinach, washed and roughly sliced (including stalks)
565ml chicken, ham or vegetable stock, preferably organic
55g dried pasta (I used spelt pasta which is great if you want something wheat-free)
a block of Parmesan cheese, to serve

Method:
To make your soffrito, heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped pancetta or bacon, onions, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic and the finely sliced basil stalks. Sweat very slowly on a low heat, with the lid just ajar, for around 15 to 20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the tomatoes, courgettes and red wine and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Now add the spinach, stock and beans. Put the dried pasta into a polythene bag, squeeze all the air out and tie the end up. Bash gently with a rolling pin to break the pasta into pieces. Snip the end off the bag and empty the contents into the soup. Stir and continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked.

If you think the soup is looking too thick, add a little more stock or some of the reserved cooking water to thin it down a bit. Then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the torn-up basil leaves and with some extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. Put a block of Parmesan and a grater on the table for everyone to help themselves. Heaven!

Italian Chicken and Lentil Soup

I found this recipe on eatbetteramerica.com’s website and decided to give it a try. I have been looking for a chicken soup to make as I haven’t posted one up yet. I normally avoid chicken soup recipes as they usually involve a whole chicken which you have to cook first and then add and I just personally couldn’t be bothered. This recipe uses chicken thighs which are alot easier to manage. I also love lentils so it was already a good combination. The original recipe involves a slow cooker which I don’t have and american measuring units whcih I can never get my head around so I have transformed this recipe into a much easier good ol’ “put it all in pot on a stove” kinda way.

The recipe: Italian Chicken and Lentil Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
Olive oil
454g boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used boned ones)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium courgette, chopped (2 cups)
4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups)
230g dried lentils, soaked overnight
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
85g sliced mushrooms
1 tin diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired
Salt and pepper

Method:
First remove the skin and fat, if any, from the chicken thighs. Heat some oil in a pot and cook the chicken and the onion slowly for 10-12 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and mix well for a few minutes. Then add the lentils and do the same again. Add the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 20-25 minutes. If you are using chicken thighs on the bone, you can now remove them from the pot and shred all the chicken off the bone and return the meat to the pot. Give the soup a good stir and add any extra seasoning. Pour into bowls, add a good bit of chopped basil and grate any parmesan on top, and enjoy!

Warm and hearty chickpea and vegetable soup

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who came out to the Flea Market in THAT weather yesterday! It was a great success and all your support was much appreciated!

And since this cold, torrential rain and gale force winds never seem to cease here’s something to help warm you up a bit! I got this recipe from the Marie Claire recipe book, Lunch. Its actually a chickpea and vegetable couscous soup recipe, but I don’t particularly like couscous, plus the soup is already so hearty, so I leave it out of my recipe. I highly recommend the suggested serving of plain yoghurt and shredded mint on top, which is delicious and totally makes it by the way, but I left it out this time as I was making to freeze. This soup is so tasty with all the spices and chilli and is alot heartier than your usual soups. It makes for a perfect chilled dinner with friends and you can add some fresh crusty bread with olive oil if you like.

The recipe: Chickpea and Vegetable Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 large potato, cut into bite size pieces
1 large carrot, cut into bite size pieces
1 yellow courgette, cut into bite size pieces
1 green courgette, cut into bite size pieces
2 slender aubergines, cut into bite size pieces
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin drained chickpeas, rinsed
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon shredded mint

Method:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and chilli over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, or until they start to soften.

Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 -30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Remove from the heat and serve topped with the yoghurt and sprinkled with mint.

Sweet roast pepper and tomato soup with chilli

Another soup recipe from one of my favourite websites, www.tastemag.co.za. I’ve made this particular soup quite a few times…its cheap and easy and the chilli gives it a nice kick! And it goes really well with a melted cheese toastie. Optional of course!

The recipe: Sweet roast pepper and tomato soup with chilli
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
8 tomatoes
4 red peppers
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
2 chopped leeks
2 tablesppons chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1 red chilli
1 cup chicken stock

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Halve tomatoes and red peppers. Deseed the peppers. Crush cloves garlic and scatter over the red pepper, then rub the pepper and tomato with olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes, or until soft.

Place the pepper in a plastic bag and allow to cool before removing the skins. Leave them in for a while, the longer you leave them the easier the skins are to remove.

To a saucepan over a medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, chopped leeks, chopped parsley, bay leaf and a red chilli.

When the leek is soft, add the roast tomato and pepper, along with any pan juices and chicken stock. Using a stick blender, roughly purée to a thick consistency, adding more stock if necessary. Bring to the boil and season to taste.

handmade by me.

Unexpectedly delicious and comforting root vegetable soup

To be honest I wasn’t very excited at the idea of making this soup. But I had most of the ingredients in my fridge, and it was the end of the month, so I decided to give it a go. And… actually… I was really pleasantly surprised. Its so warm and comforting and the bright yellow colour made me feel like it was a bowl of sunshine. ( Thats what happens to you when you don’t see enough of it! : ) )

Anyways give this a go and see if you agree!

The Recipe: Avoca‘s Root Vegetable Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 onion, peeled and chopped
50g butter
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 leeks, washed and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
4 teaspoons double cream or créme fraíche (optional – I didn’t bother))
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Method:
Cook the onion in the butter for 10 minutes without colouring. Add the potato, carrot, celery and leek, and sauté gently for 5 minutes. Add the parsnip and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Allow to cool slightly and purée in a blender.

Reheat, check seasoning as you go, and serve with the cream and parsley.

Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Bacon

I made up the recipe for this soup combining bits of various other lentil or lentil and bacon soup recipes and I must say I think it is pretty damn good!! Just remember to soak the lentils overnight. I put them out into a bowl of water before I leave for work and they’re ready by the time I get home. Don’t worry if you forget, it just means your soup will take a little longer to cook.

If there are any requests for any specific soup recipes or you are looking for a recipe for a soup with a specific ingredient please let me know and I will see what i can do : )

The Recipe: Lentil and vegetable soup with bacon
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 courgettes, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 brown onion, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
250g brown lentils, soaked overnight
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Method
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the chopped bacon until the fat begins to run. Add carrots, courgettes, celery and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add the lentils, cook for a few more minutes until they are mixed in well. Add tomatoes and stock to pan. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, for around 45 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are soft.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and season with freshly ground black pepper.

awesome autumn minestrone soup (even though it’s winter)

This soup has a pile of ingredients in it but it is oh so worth every one!!! I got this recipe off jamie oliver’s website and have simplified it quite a lot otherwise you’d be there cooking all day : ) If you want to grow your own beans, and cook them for an extra half an hour, and add some more ingredients to the list, feel free to use his original recipe….or….for anyone with no time on their hands and the desire to create the perfect 1 pot meal here ya go….

The Recipe: Autumn Minestrone Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 400g tin cannellini beans
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
4 rashers smoked pancetta or bacon, preferably free-range or organic
2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
½ a head of fennel, chopped (if you can’t find fennel crush 1 tsp of fennel seeds…don’t leave it out!)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves and stalks separated
2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes
a glass of red wine
2 small courgettes, quartered and sliced
200g baby spinach, washed and roughly sliced (including stalks)
565ml chicken, ham or vegetable stock, preferably organic
55g dried pasta (I used spelt pasta which is great if you want something wheat-free)
a block of Parmesan cheese, to serve

Method:
To make your soffrito, heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped pancetta or bacon, onions, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic and the finely sliced basil stalks. Sweat very slowly on a low heat, with the lid just ajar, for around 15 to 20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the tomatoes, courgettes and red wine and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Now add the spinach, stock and beans. Put the dried pasta into a polythene bag, squeeze all the air out and tie the end up. Bash gently with a rolling pin to break the pasta into pieces. Snip the end off the bag and empty the contents into the soup. Stir and continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked.

If you think the soup is looking too thick, add a little more stock or some of the reserved cooking water to thin it down a bit. Then taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the torn-up basil leaves and with some extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top. Put a block of Parmesan and a grater on the table for everyone to help themselves. Heaven!