A Craft in the Life: Coconut and Courgette Soup

Over the last few weeks me and my mum have brought back several varieties of courgettes from volunteering at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. The walled garden is currently packed full of courgette and marrow plants, covering the plots with their large green leaves, bright orange flowers with green and yellow courgettes hanging off twisted vines. In order to use up all the courgettes we now have in the fridge, I decided to make a large batch of Coconut and Courgette Soup. This soup is one my family’s favourites, as the combination of soft courgette and sweet coconut milk gives a refreshing and very moreish flavour šŸ™‚

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Coconut and Courgette Soup

You will need:

2.2lb /1kg Courgettes (Around 8) or Marrows

Salt

1 Large Onion, Chopped (Either white or Red)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger

2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed

2 Tbsps Chopped Basil and Mint

1L /35 fl oz Vegetable Stock

250ml /8Ā½ fl oz Coconut Milk

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Let’s get started!

  • Peel, de seed and chop the courgettes/marrows into 2cm chunks.
  • Put them into a colander, sprinkle with salt and let them drain for 30 minutes to get rid of the excess water, then pat them dry with a tea towel/kitchen paper.

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  • In a large stock/soup pot, fry the onion gently in oil until softened.
  • Add the ginger and garlic, along with the salted courgettes, basil and mint.
  • Pour over half the stock and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

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  • Once theĀ courgettes are soft, remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Blend in a food processor and return to the pot with the rest of the stock and coconut milk, then simmer for 5 minutes.

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  • Season to taste then serve topped with extra chopped basil/mint.
  • You are all done šŸ™‚

This Coconut and Courgette SoupĀ definitely works well as a summer soup, due to it’s light, refreshing flavour and bright green colour. The recipe makes a large batch of soup which you can store in the fridge for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Make sure to test the soup before you add any final seasoning, as salting the courgettes before cooking can be enough salt. I love the addition of the coconut milk in this soup, as it gives a delicious creamy taste which is really complemented by the mint and basil. Definitely try it out šŸ™‚

A Craft in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Potato and Leek Soup

This soup was originally made for me by my soon-to-be-boyfriend during our first few months at university. He was given this recipe by his mum – I assume in attempts to make sure he didn’t starve at university and so he didn’t live purely off takeaway pizza and curry… Since then he hasn’t cooked anything else (Which is probably a good thing!), but this soup remains a firm favourite for both of us even though I have made a few tweaks to it throughout our time in Lincoln together.

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Potato and Leek Soup

You will need:

1 Large Leek

3 Small/Medium Potatoes

2 Sticks of Celery

1 Clove of Garlic

1 Small Red Onion

Small handful of Coriander

1-2 tbps Sunflower Oil

1 tbps Butter

Salt, pepper and chili powder

16 fl oz/500ml Vegetable Stock

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Let’s get started!

  • Begin by peeling and chopping the onion, garlic and celery into small pieces.
  • In a large saucepan add the oil and butter and heat until gently sizzling.
  • Add the onion, garlic and celery then cook slowly until softened.

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  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes and leek into small bite sized pieces.
  • Add to the saucepan and continue to cook gently for a few minutes.

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  • If you are using a stock cube, prepare your stock in a measuring jug then add to the saucepan.
  • Allow to simmer gently for around 15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.

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  • Season with salt, pepper and chili powder.
  • If you like you can blend the soup smooth at this stage as in my other soup recipes. Personally I prefer this type of soup unblended and so I just top it with a good handful of coriander leaves!
  • You are all done šŸ™‚

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As with most of the soups I love, this recipe uses lots of fresh vegetables and takes no time at all to make. This is probably the only soup I make regularly that I don’t blend, but I really like being able to see and taste all the individual vegetables, colours and textures. When topped with fresh coriander it ends up looking a bit like one of the ramen bowls from Wagamama’s (Which I love!). If you wanted it to be more of a noodle soup, you could swap out the potatoes used for some precooked noodles! You could also definitely make this soup more Japanese/Thai flavoured by adding plenty of fresh chilies, lemongrass and maybe some ginger šŸ™‚

A Bake in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Sweet Potato Soup

While food shopping this week I saw some sweet potatoes which inspired me to make a Sweet Potato Soup. I really enjoy making soup, as it so easy and simple! All you need is a large saucepan or stock pot, a blender/food processor, and after a bit of vegetable preparation, gentle simmering and blitzing you are all done. I decided to just make the recipe up as I went along, taking inspiration from previous soups I have made – Carrot and Coriander, Pumpkin and VegetableĀ šŸ™‚

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Sweet Potato Soup

You will need:

2 Small Sweet Potatoes

1 Small Potato

1 Small Carrot

2 Crushed Cloves of Garlic

1 Large Onion (I used red but you can use white)

Half a fresh chili or a sprinkle of chili powder (Depends on how spicy you like your soup!)

500ml/18 fl oz Vegetable Stock (You can use homemade stock or just dissolve 1 stock cube in boiling water)

Salt and Pepper

Paprika

1-2 tbps Vegetable/Olive Oil

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Let’s get started!

  • Begin by peeling and chopping all vegetables into small chunks.

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  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan/stock pot.
  • Cook the onion, garlic and chili in the pan until soft and lightly browned.

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  • Add in the sweet potato, potato and carrot, cover partly with a lid and cook for around 10 minutes until all vegetables are soft.

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  • Pour in enough stock to cover the vegetables and gently simmer for around 20 minutes.

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  • Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Using either a hand held blender or food processor, blitz the soup until smooth (How much you blend is completely up to you!).
  • Return to the pan and top up with stock until the consistency suits your personal taste – heating through before serving.

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  • Serve topped with some coriander, or my favourite pumpkin seeds!
  • You are all done šŸ™‚

I am very pleased with how this soup turned out, especially as I just put it together one afternoon.Ā The sweet potato gives a lovely flavour, with the carrot and potato adding extra thickness. I think the addition of chili and paprika also gives an interesting twist. The soup is a beautiful bright orange colour, and looks great topped with green coriander or crunchy pumpkin seeds. You could also pre roast your sweet potato to add more flavour, similar to my pumpkin soup recipe,Ā before adding into the saucepan/stock pot.

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This recipe makes a batch of soup with around 3 good sized portions, but you can of course double up the ingredients to make a large batch.Ā I know some people can be scared off making soup as they think it takes a long time but after vegetable preparation you can be enjoying this soup in around 40 minutes. You can store your batch of soup in the fridge for around 2-3 days, but it can also be frozen then defrosted thoroughly, heating until piping hot. I would definitely recommend giving this soup a try!

A Bake in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Carrot and Coriander Soup

If you read my Pumpkin Soup post last month you will already know about my love of soup during the Autumn and Winter months. I have been looking around for some new soup recipes to try, and while searching through the BBC good foodĀ website I came across this Carrot and Coriander soup. I am already a bigĀ fan of carrot and coriander soup, but I have never made a batch myself so I thought I would give it a try!

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Carrot and coriander soup

You will need:

1tbsp Vegetable oil

1 Finely chopped onion

2 Small cloves of garlic

Half a finely chopped chili

1 Potato cut into cubes

450g/1lb Carrots peeled and chopped into chunks

1 litre Vegetable stock

Handful of fresh chopped coriander

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Let’s get started!

  • Heat oil in a large pan, adding onion, garlic and chili and cooking until soft.

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  • Add potato and cook through for around 5 minutes (Until cooked through).
  • Stir in carrots and stock, and bring to the boil for around 20 minutes (Until vegetables are soft).

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  • Take off the heat and allow to cool before sprinkling in the chopped coriander.

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  • Pour into a food processor or use hand held blender to blitz the soup until smooth.
  • Return to pan and season to taste.
  • You are all done! šŸ™‚

As with most soup recipes this was simple and easy to follow, and resulted in a great tasting soup! I decided to add in some garlic and chopped chili to enhance the flavours, and reduced the amount of stock slightly as I prefer a thicker soup. Best of all the ingredients required are really inexpensive and are often usually part of my weekly shop anyway – carrots, potatoes, onions. If you haven’t tried making your soup before, definitely give it a go!

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Most of the time in the week I am in the lab all day, and this is a great way to get a filling, hot and vegetable packed lunch to keep me going until home time. I just heat it up in a bowl in the morning and pour it carefully into a flask to keep warm until lunch. However, you could eat it cold, or just heat it up when you want some.

A Bake in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Pumpkin Soup

Autumn and winter time always makes me want a big bowl of warm homemade soup! One of mine and my mum’s favourite soups, especially around this time of year is pumpkin soup. If you can wait definitely buy your pumpkin(s) after Halloween, as they are usuallyĀ muchĀ cheaper – I got one for Ā£1 at a local market before Halloween which was fairly good, but then managed to find some at a local supermarket forĀ 10p each. So, I decided to make a large batch of soup that would see me through the coming cold autumn and winter months.

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You will need:

1 tbsp/ 15ml Sunflower oil

2 tbsp/25g Butter

1 Large Sliced onion

1Ā½lb/675g Pumpkin cut into medium chunks

1lb/450g Sliced potatoes

1 pint/600ml Vegetable stock (You can use fresh stock or stock cubes with boiling water)

1 tsp Chopped tarragon/basil/coriander (You can use any fresh/dried herbs you like – I decided to use fresh basil in the soup and some to garnish)

Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

2 Cloves of crushed garlic

Ā½ Small red chili, finely chopped (I decided to add some fresh chili to give a bit of a kick, but you can leave this out if you like)

1-2 tsp/5-10ml Lemon juice

Salt and ground black pepper

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Let’s get started!

  • I began by peeling and chopping my pumpkin into medium sized chunks, removing the seeds and pulp (I saved the seeds to make some roasted and flavoured pumpkin seeds!).Ā I decided to roast my pumpkin first to add more flavour to the soup, but you can skip this step if you want to. I placed the chunks onto a large baking tray and drizzled with a bit of sunflower oil.
  • Roast the chunks for around 30-35 minutes at 200ĀŗC/400ĀŗF/Gas mark 6, shaking occasionally to prevent sticking.

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  • Once roasted, heat oil and butter in a large pan before adding onion, garlic and chili. Heat until soft but not browned, remembering to stir frequently to prevent sticking.

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  • Add the roasted pumpkin and sliced potato, stir well then cover and sweat for around 10 minutes until vegetables are cooked through. Again, remember to stir to prevent sticking.
  • Stir in the vegetable stock, nutmeg, your chosen chopped herbs and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes until the vegetables are completely cooked.

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  • Let the soup cool slightly then pour into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour back into the pan, warm through and add the milk. Heat gently, adding salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

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  • You are all done! šŸ™‚

This has always been one of my favourite soups, as it tastes delicious and is really easy to make. If you haven’t tried making soup before, you should definitely give it ago! The ingredients are fairly cheap and easy to get hold of, and it is ready to eat in less than an hour – if you don’t roast the pumpkin.

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This recipe gives a thick and flavoursome soup, which can be made thinner using more milk and personalised easily using different herbs/spice. It can be refrigerated or frozen, but make sure you thaw it out thoroughly and ensure it is piping hot before serving. Definitely try with fresh bread and some more of your chosen herb to garnish!

A Bake in the Life…