Soup. Is there anything easier to prepare? Is there anything more nourishing? Anything more heartwarming?
Here at 42rvh we don't think so and this past week has seen an abundance of soup - some planned in advance, some off the cuff, some not quite as expected and some surpassing expectations - but all delicious and fabulous.
It started with me deciding to spice up our usual pumpkin offering with a bit of fresh chilli. Now we all know that chillis can be hot, medium or mildly ticklish and it depends on your tolerance level as to where any chilli you encounter registers on that scale. In other words, it can be a bit of a lottery. Here in France we are often told that the chillis we are buying are 'tres fort' only to find they are nothing of the sort.
So I spiced up my pumpkin soup expecting a mildly warming effect and was slightly surprised to find the result more attention seeking than planned - but nonetheless quite delicious.
This soup was for a client dinner and I was suddenly a bit hesitant about it's use given that everyone's tolerance is different. I needed an alternative to offer and frozen peas were my saviour. I adore freshly podded peas but there is absolutely nothing wrong with frozen peas and I always have some lurking in reserve for just such an occasion. Shallot, stock, peas and mint - what could be simpler? - add some cream and crispy fried bacon bits and you have a soup to die for.
At the dinner two went for pumpkin and two went for the pea and all bowls were emptied with obvious satisfaction.
The following day Debrah roasted up some lacklustre winter tomatoes and turned them into the most wonderfully warming tomato soup made with the roasted tomatoes, some gently fried shallot, some stock and some seasoning all whizzed up together in the processor.
The weather had turned a little chillier again and naturally a warming bowl of home made soup was what we were still craving as the week progressed. It wasn't a market day so we had to make do with what was at hand - which turned out to be a bunch of carrots and a bunch of coriander. It couldn't have been better - the sweetness of the carrots, the aromatic coriander and some heat from ground black pepper worked a treat
It's so easy and it's so good. An onion, some stock and some vegetables - it's all you need for a fantastic lunch or a refined first course for a dinner - give it a go.