I always love old classics and this is a favourite of “Bistro cooking”, the sort of no-fuss, hearty and comforting cooking you might find in a true Parisian Bistrot. I know there are less and less of those haunts in Paris nowadays but they are worth seeking out. This soup reminds me of late night suppers after a play or a dance in Paris… It was a perfect student days pick-me up and it was served at my own wedding to give strength to the dancers around midnight – with this, most of us managed to last until 6am on the dance-floor!
(This serves about four bowls. You can easily freeze it too if you are doing it for yourselves.)
- Roscof onions, 5 to 6 ( a lovely pink onion from Brittany)
- Garlic cloves, 2
- Ghee or butter, 2 Tbsp
- Grape or date syrup, 2 Tbsp
- Chicken stock cube, 1
- Bay leaf and “bouquet garni” to flavour
- Water, 500 ml
- Cider, 200 ml
Peel the onions and garlic and chop it all together in a food processor- this will save lots of tears!
Melt the onions in a large saucepan with the ghee or butter. Leave to melt on low heat for about 20 minutes, watching closedly in order to avoid burning the bottom.
Add two spoonfuls of grape or date syrup – a little fruit sugar is needed to counteract the bitterness of the onions. I use grape molasse for its lovely spicy taste. I source it from Middle Eastern shops.
Add the chicken stock (made of one cube and 500ml water) and the bay leaves and bouquet garni. If you prefer, replace with a bunch of thyme and tarragon.
Herbs should play a big role in our spring cooking: they give it seasonal flavour, awaken the senses and have anti-viral properties.
Reduce and simmer for another 30 minutes.
The soup should be thick and golden. Add salt and pepper to taste, just before serving.
Beautiful Roscoff pink onions
I serve this with a thick brown toast, brushed with garlic and spread with olive oil. It is also nice with melted cheese on toast. Dip in and enjoy!
This is health in a bowl. A perfect Friday supper after a couple of drinks down the pub! Onion soup is strengthening and good for recovery; the reason it is usually served at midnight during late parties in France is because it clears the head and gives you a nice boost before heading home…
When I am in need of energy, comfort or just recovering, I usually turn to soups! So I devised this one last week in order to get extra protein in after running the London Marathon – and it was a real success with my last born…
The day after the race, my thigh muscles felt so weak – as if they had been shredded to bits! I am not a big fan of sports protein drinks but I felt I needed to rebuild the muscular tissue with some healthy plant protein and so I imagined to mix coral red lentils with sweet potatoes, carrots and indian spices for a restorative orange dish. Orange is such a powerful colour anyhow! Just the colour is enough to replenish depleted energies…
- Shallots, 2
- Sweet potato, 1 diced and baked
- Carrots, 2
- Red split lentils, 1 cup or 150g
- Smoked paprika, chilli powder, turmeric , to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Water, 1 litre
- Small tin of coconut cream or 100ml coconut milk
Bake the sweet potato peeled and chunked until soft: about 15 minutes in a hot oven.
Put all the other ingredients, save the spices, into a pan and cook covered until the carrots are soft. Add the diced cooked sweet potato. Blend or not according to what you prefer, put the spices in, mix the coconut cream and serve with a sprinkling of coriander. Easy! And bright orange to lift you out of yourself…
This is full of healthy plant based protein and good carotene and minerals. With the add zing of the spices, it is a properly restorative and energising soup, ideal for shaking off any lethargic feel and opening to Spring.
Providing food and away giving recipes is my way to show love and caring. I discovered this recipe whilst researching healthy and strengthening soups to restore energies in convalescents or after an operation. I love it because it is a highly alkaline soup and full of plant power. That does not mean that it does not also tastes delicious and will probably be the last cold soup I will want this year!
I dedicate this to Jim, from New Zeland, who enjoyed it with us in Jersey.
Seasonal display in Borough Market
- Avocados, 2
- Fresh lemon juice, 15 ml
- Garlic cloves, 2
- Tomato, peeled, 1
- Big handful of spinach or kale
- Green or yellow pepper, 1
- Cucumber, 1
- Red onion, 1
Blend in all in a food processor until smooth, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve fresh with big slabs of wholemeal bread. It is a kind of green Gaspacho and it tastes as fresh and healthy as it looks! Go and visit your greengrocer this week end and put together your own version! Let me know and I ll publish it if you wish…
Pure green fuel
A nice soup to warm you up, body and soul!
Parsnip (or “panais” in French) may not be yet on your “favourites” shopping list but it has the advantage of being plentiful and cheap at this time of year. The British here use it cut as long chips and roasted with olive oil and thyme, but only recently I have enjoyed it in a very typical soup paired with Curry.
A bit of Britain and a bit of India in an unlikely but winning combination…
Curried parsnips soup
- 300g parsnips
- 2 medium onions
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 25g butter
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 chopped fresh red chilli
- Sweet paprika to taste
- 1.2L chicken or vegetable stock
- 150g potatoes
- 1 tablespoon creamed coconut
- Olive oil
- Diced red pepper to decorate
Fry the chopped onions with a little oil and add the garlic cloves and butter.
Peel and cut the parsnips and potatoes in chunks of similar size so they cook more or less at the same speed.
Add the stock and the seasoning and boil for 20 minutes on low heat – which is achievable once you have got it to a rolling boil on high heat.
Blend all the ingredients, once cooked through, and add the creamed coconut just before serving. Blend some more until the soup is very fine and creamy.
Decorate with chopped red peppers and smoked paprika in the plates.
This is a lovely way to enjoy a not much loved winter vegetable! The sweet taste of the parsnip makes a very comforting and warming dish, especially with the addition of the spices. I think that the association with the curry and paprika is proper genius! As for the coconut cream (or milk), I already knew that it goes perfectly with all sorts of winter delights: pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes AND now parsnips!
Do try it as well with sweet potatoes in a very energizing soup on this blog.
Have a bowlful and you are ready to brave the cold outside your front door: Snow is predicted for the week-end!
I never think of soup as a purely winter staple and in fact, I find there is a soup (or two) for every season. Try this one for Springtime!
Ingredients list :
- Large shallot, 1
- Water, 1 L
- Pre-soaked Mung beans, 250g
- Knorr vegetable cube, 1
- Golden miso paste (Shiro Miso), 1 Tsp
- Umeboshi paste (pickled plums), 1 tsp
- Dash of almond or soya cream to serve
- Olive oil
I soak the Mung for 24h to 36h prior to using them in soups, stews or salad. Just rinse them and cover and put in a dark cool corner of the kitchen. If they sprout too quickly, you can reserve in the fridge under a cloth. Use them when the white tips are just appearing.
Chop the shallots finely and fry on medium heat in one Tbsp of olive oil. When they turn brown, add the soaked beans and the hot water – with the vegetable stock cube dissolved in it.
Boil for 15 minutes until the grain is soft.
Add the Shiro miso and Umeboshi paste and let those melt on low heat for a few minutes.
Note: Never let the miso or Umeboshi boil up for fear of loosing their health properties. They both promote an alkaline digestive environment and are therefore invaluable in any effort to acquiring better health. I find these ingredients at the Japanese centre in Lower Regents street W1 : Always buy from a reputable brand and check for added sugar.
Added and hidden sugar…This is my new bug-bear! Hear more on the Sugar as Toxin by a scientist called Robert Lustig, here.
This soup is a great springtime pick-me-up. The energy from the sprouting seeds is just what you need when Spring is a bit late to come and you want to feel attuned to the renewal of life all around… Or so it should be … Mung beans are also good at this time of year because they are meant to be very cooling and soothing for the internal organs.
Serve hot with wholemeal bread and a dash of almond cream. Add a little salt and pepper to taste but only if you need to. I don’t liquidize it but you could.
A crunchy stir-fry in springtime colours