The last couple of weeks have been pretty exhausting with one thing and another. The standard spring-time head cold doing the rounds, back-to-back Fashion Weeks, hectic work schedules, even more hectic social weekends… all leaving us feeling a little run-down. Ever get to the stage where you can practically feel your body craving vitamins?
The solution? A couple of super tasty soups, crammed full of veggies and heart-warming goodness.
First up, a spring green minestrone from Waitrose magazine (the below is generous for two people as the recipe suggests, so you should be able to eek it out for a healthy lunch the next day too):
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 150g spring greens, stalks discarded, leaves roughly chopped (I used curly kale, but you need less if so)
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 50g pasta (recipe suggest amori, but I used trottole tricolore for bulk and colour)
- 75g garden peas
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 25g parmigiano reggiano, shaved
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leek, celery and carrot; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the spring greens, then add the stock and 250ml water; bring to the boil.
3. Add the pasta and simmer for 6 minutes.
4. Add the peas to the pan and cook for another minute, then stir in the lemon juice and season. Divide the soup between 2 bowls and top with the shaved parmigiano reggiano.
Next up, a seriously more-ish chicken noodle soup from model-turned-cook, Lorraine Pascale. I was lucky enough to get both of her ‘…Made Easy’ cookbooks for Christmas this year and they really do live up to their name. The best bit is her unique, honest, home-spun voice that comes through every description of each piece.
This particular goodie is aptly named, ‘Duvet Day Chicken Noodle Soup’ – for those days where you really wish you could just bed down, sleep and eat. This gave two of us decent dinners two nights in a row. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – if you cook regularly, you’ll have most of what you need already. And once all the chopping is out-of-the-way, it’s simples to throw together.
- 1.5l good quality chicken stock
- 1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed, sliced and the white/green bits separated
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (I use 2, but then we love the spice)
- 1 x 2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 6 black peppercorns
- sea salt flakes
- 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 stick of celery, trimmed and sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- 150g quick cook this noodles (I use Sainsbury’s vermicelli nests)
- Small bunch fresh basil leaves
- Small bunch fresh mint leaves
- 1 lime, cut in half
1. Put the chicken stock into a large pan with the spring onion whites, garlic, chilli, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns and a good amount of salt. Bring to a simmer, then carefully slide the chicken breasts in and cover with a lid. Cook for 12 minutes.
2. Then throw in the celery and carrot and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste the soup and season if necessary.
3. Remove the chicken, cinnamon stick and star anise from the soup with a slotted spoon and at the same time put the noodles into the broth and cook, uncovered, for as long as needed (3 minutes for my vermicelli).
4. While the noodles are cooking, flake the chicken into bite-sized pieces with two forks. Just before the noodles are ready, put the chicken back into the broth to heat through and taste the soup again to check if you need any more seasoning.
5. Rip up half the basil and mint leaves, stir through the soup with the spring onion greens and then divide the soup into bowls. Scatter the remaining herbs over the top and serve with a wedge of lime for diners to squeeze over the soup to taste.
Lorraine Pascale’s Home Cooking Made Easy is available on Amazon for just £9.99. Best tenner you will spend from your food budget this year.