Spinach Soup

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Just a quick post today to tell you about my scrumptious spinach soup.  I have an autumnal cold and while I’m not feeling particularly unwell, it is nevertheless uncomfortable and annoying.  At 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon I realised I was hungry but had not planned anything for lunch.  Some hot, soothing soup was all I could think about but did not have any in the house.  Anyway, I really don’t like shop-bought soups: I find they’re over-flavoured, mainly of onion, and that this flavour lingers at the back of the mouth for hours afterwards.

So I made spinach soup.  First, I took a medium-sized potato, peeled and diced it and sweated it in butter for about 15 minutes (simmering oven).  Then I added 450g frozen spinach (I didn’t happen to have any fresh spinach in the house; this soup was not planned) and lots of salt and pepper and let this cook for another 10 minutes or so before adding 500ml of chicken stock.  It was fortuitous that I’d made lots of stock the previous day, but I expect a stock cube or some Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder would have done the job too.  I grated in some nutmeg, brought it all to simmering point and let it cook (in the simmering oven) for another 15 minutes.  I took it out and let it cool for a few minutes before blending it in the pan using my handheld blender.  I then checked the seasoning and temperature and ladled some into a mug, drizzled on a little cream and voilà.

One of the reasons I haven’t blogged much lately is that I’m unhappy with the photos I’ve taken of what I’ve cooked.  I read so many beautiful blogs and food websites that I’m sometimes embarrassed to include my pathetic iPhone camera efforts.  Since I’m not particularly interested in photography (unless someone else is taking the photos), I might just have to overcome the shame and carry on regardless.

My next post will probably be about Christmas cake.  Too early, you might say, but you’d be wrong.

Leek and Potato Soup

Strictly speaking, this post should be entitled Leek, Onion and Potato Soup, but there can’t be many soups which DON’T have onion as an ingredient, surely?  One of the reasons I’m writing about soup is that I bought supermarket soup for lunch on Friday; it was just me and I wanted something quick, but I wish I hadn’t bothered.  I don’t know about you, but I find shop-bought soup, with the possible exception of Heinz tinned cream of tomato, however delicious it might taste at the time of eating (drinking?), tends to leave an oniony aftertaste.

So, with a plan to make soup in mind, I paid my usual Saturday visit to Whiteladies Road Market yesterday morning to buy crusty bread.  A rummage in the fridge then produced some ageing leeks, an onion and potatoes, which made the decision about what soup to make very easy.  I always use Delia’s recipe for this; it’s in her original “Complete Cookery Course” but if you haven’t got that book (you haven’t?) it’s on her website here.  It’s very easy to make, and delicious and warming.  It can be chilled and eaten cold (and renamed Vichyssoise) but I prefer it steaming hot.  Take care not to let it boil though.

Incidentally, ever since my mother gave me a handheld stick blender, just two or three years ago, I’ve been making soup a lot more often.  I have no idea how I came to this wonderful gadget so late in life, but thank goodness I did.

For Aga owners: I started the vegetables off on the simmering plate before putting the lid on and sweating them for about half an hour in the simmering oven.  Once the stock/water/milk had been added and it had been brought up to simmering point on the hotplate, it was returned to the simmering oven for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables were soft, left to cool for 10 minutes or so, and then blended.  The addition of a little cream to each serving is entirely optional.