Thursday, 19 August 2010

Red Soup and Grey Soup

Grey Soup and Red Soup

After the recent extravagance of the eating out, even though at last meal was a bargain, much of what we'll be doing in the next week or so will be of the Eating In variety. Kinder to the wallet, liver, and waistline.

Something tasty, healthy and relatively cheap which I've been doing recently is soup for lunches. Although if you ask my work colleagues, this is not recently, this has been for ever! I've generally been making roasted tomato soup, sometimes with added peppers, sometimes pepper soup with tomatoes, and sometimes half and half. Even though you can taste slight difference, this is generally known as Red Soup.
The choices are made basically on supermarket/greengrocer offers and availabilities of peppers and tomatoes, more often than not, the pepper offer wins over, and Red Soup is more peppery.
This week it has been more tomatoey.

Almost Red Soup

This week I started off by roasting 1kg of normal salad tomatoes (or big bag from Lidl), with 1 onion, a couple of bashed garlic cloves, the 2 left over red and yellow pepper halves (from a fish dish) and one whole green pepper. Sometimes I put some thyme in there too, but couldn't be bothered - maybe it was raining and I didn't fancy going out to cut it. Oh, and some balsamic vinegar. All in a big roasting tray with quite a bit of olive oil. I leave it at 200C until the tomatoes have burst and things are turning a little black, and the house has started to smell of lovely roasting things. Then with enough veg stock to make it soup-like I blitz with a hand blender. This time I needed a bit of sugar, but no tomato puree - sometimes the tomatoes aren't very tomatoey - not a necessity for the "other" type of red soup, as peppers don't need to be tomatoey.

I am not one of those people who can't eat the same thing every day, but even with the subtle differences of the different varieties of Red Soup, it was getting a little monotonous, so I fancied re-trying another soup I used to make.

The inspiration for Grey Soup came from the Farmers' Market in Manchester - when it was called Farmers' Market. Since it became the "Real Food Market" the soup man seems to have disappeared. Maybe he'll return at Christmas? He did lots of homemade, fresh tasting soups. All made with proper ingredients, including a Mushroom, Garlic and Parsley soup. Each time a selection of soups were available buy in cups to eat there and then, or in tubs to take home for your fridge. I did notice that the ingredients on the tub for this Mushroom soup were little more than the title ingredients, but with the addition of flour to thicken. Alas, that means even if he does return, I won't be able to eat it. So I tried once more to recreate it.

I chopped up 350g (box from Lidl) of closed cup mushrooms, very small, plus 1 onion (which I don't think was on the soup man's ingredient list) and about 3 cloves of garlic. In previous attempts I think I put too much garlic in, as it mainly tasted of garlic, for the entire day. I then cooked the whole lot, with a bit of oil, very slowly for ages. I don't really time my cooking, I just do it til its done. Not very helpful I know. I then added a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

Nearly Grey Soup

This was then blitzed down with a hand blender. It made just a big mush, so I added about 3/4 pint of veg stock to make it soupy and it seemed to work. One concern I have with mushrooms, is that they can be too mushroomy. Not sure exactly when, or if this occurs during the cooking process, but I know what I mean. But thankfully Grey Soup, on this attempt was neither too mushroomy or garlicky. A success I feel. The only annoying thing is, this amount of mushrooms and cooking time only made 2 portions, whereas Red Soup can stretch to a full week's worth of lunches.

Maybe next week; Green Soup. And perhaps Brown Soup.

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