Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Minestrone (The Big Soup)

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve held off making this soup for an age. Mainly because the traditional Irish vegetable soup ticks all the boxes and that’s what I’d normally go with. Today I fancied something different, so here it is.


  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp of sea salt crystals
  • a large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 red onions
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • ¼ red pepper
  • ¼ orange pepper
  • ¼ yellow pepper
  • 2 closed cup mushrooms
  • 50g soup broth
  • 25g red lentils
  • 100g pasta (any type)
  • ½ tsp pimento powder
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of mushroom ketchup (optional)
  • 1 tsp of vegetable stock powder
  • 1 can/carton of chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water


Place a large saucepan (at least 3l capacity) over a medium heat and add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Chop the onions roughly, crush the garlic and add to the pan. Dice the carrots, celery, peppers and mushrooms and add to the pan once the onion has softened. Next, add the soup broth, lentils and pasta followed by the spices, balsamic (mushroom ketchup, if using) and vegetable stock. Stir well and add the tomatoes.

Once the tomatoes start to bubble, add the water 500ml at a time allowing to come to a simmer between adding each batch. Cover and allow to boil for 15 minutes before reducing the heat to simmer for a further hour and a half or until the soup thickens and the soup broth pulses soften. Add small amounts of water during cooking, if needed.

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Homemade Vegetable Soup

May 17, 2009 Leave a comment

The staple of good kitchens throughout the land is a bowl of freshly made vegetable soup. Cheap to make and plenty of hearty warmth.


  • 125g soup mix (mainly pearl barley, yellow and green split peas)
  • 125g red lentils
  • 4 small onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 25g flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 litre vegetable stock


Rinse the soup mix and red lentils well under cold water. Add to a pan large enough to hold around 4 litres of liquid and pour over 2 litres of water. Bring to the boil and keep boiling partially covered for an hour until most of the liquid has evaporated and resembles an aromatic grey sludge. The mixture needs to boil vigourously to kill the toxins and soften the beans, etc instead of soaking overnight. While boiling skim off the foam from the surface.

Finely chop the onions and celery and crush the cloves of garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and stir all three in to the pan. Add the salt and litre of vegetable stock followed by another 500ml of water. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for an hour.

Chop the carrots and parsley and slice the leek. Add to the pan along with another 500ml of water and simmer for a further hour. The soup is ready to serve when the carrots are done.

Categories: Soup

Potato and Leek Soup

March 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Another of my favourite soups . . . one of the rare occasions I feel butter is warranted over an oil. It helps the leeks’ flavour come out and also gives the creamy texture to the end product.


  • 50g butter
  • 4 leeks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large pinches of black pepper
  • 5 large white potatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock


Melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold about 3-4 litres of liquid over a medium heat. Chop the leeks and crush the whole cloves of garlic and add to the pan. Add the salt and pepper, stir and cover. Let the leeks sauté for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat a little if they start to catch the bottom of the pan.

Wash and dice the potatoes into ½cm cubes and add to the pan. Chop the parsley and stir into the mixture. Cover again and let stew for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add little amounts of water or stock if it starts to catch.

Add 250ml of stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Every 15 minutes add a further 250ml. Keep covered while simmering and allow to cook for about an hour. Stir regularly throughout as the butter makes it more likely to catch than if using oil.

Finally, set aside to cool and purée in a food processor. For best reults store overnight in the fridge to allow the flavour to develop.

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Spicy Lentil and Tomato Soup

February 21, 2009 Leave a comment

A delicious and hearty thick soup, an ideal lunchtime snack.


  • 250g red lentils
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 4 small onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 red finger chillies
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp pimento
  • 1 tsp salt
  • large pinch of black pepper
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 litres of vegetable stock


Halve and deseed the red peppers and place skin side up on a baking tray under a grill on maximum heat. Chop the onions, carrots and celery while heating the oil in a large saucepan (that can hold 3-4 litres of liquid) at medium-high heat. Keep checking the peppers while chopping the other vegetables and make sure they blacken evenly over their skins.

Add the onions to the pan and stir, after a few minutes add the balsamic. Once the onions have softened and most of the balsamic has evaporated, add the remaining chopped vegetables and whole chillies and stir. The peppers should be done by now; remove the blackened skin and dice the remaining flesh and add to the pan. Add the pimento and basil along with the salt and pepper and stir. After 5 minutes add the lentils and stir well. Reduce the heat and add the can of tomatoes. Cover and let the mixture simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Add the first 500ml of vegetable stock. The lentils will quickly absorb the liquid at the start. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low so the soup simmers gently on the hob. Add more stock 250-500ml at a time as needed. Simmer for 1½-2 hours.

Finally, set aside to cool and purée in a food processor. For best reults store overnight in the fridge to allow the flavour to develop.

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