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.

Ham, Leek and Pea Soup

This is possibly the easiest AND tastiest version of pea and ham soup I have ever found. It uses frozen peas rather than the dried split peas which gives the soup a brighter colour and a fresher flavour…and it uses gammon steaks which is great if you like to avoid the likes of ham hocks etc.

The Recipe: Paul Rankin’s Ham, Leek and Pea Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1½ onions, chopped
300g gammon, chopped
6 leeks, chopped
600g frozen peas
900ml chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6tbsp double cream (optional)

Method:
Heat some olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, gammon and leeks and cook for around 6 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the peas and stock to the saucepan and cook for around 10 minutes. Season.

Take the saucepan off the heat and blend the mixture until the soup has a smooth texture. Heat the soup through without boiling. When its ready, pour into bowls and garnish with the double cream if using.