Butternut Squash Soup – a Winter favourite

I made the cardinal mistake earlier this week of mentioning how it really hasn’t been such a bad winter here, as in, I could ride my Vespa pretty much every day. Every since that statement, it hasn’t stopped pouring rain, just to prove a point. How foolish of me!

So once again, I’m making soup. And no, I’m not tired of them. Here a recipe for my butternut squash soup, one of my winter favourites, especially if I can convince my husband to peel and cube – that’s really the most work intensive part of this soup. It’s called teamwork!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Image Courtesy: Boaz Yiftach

Image Courtesy: Boaz Yiftach

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups (1 l) vegetable broth (for recipe, click here)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp nutmeg
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • fresh cream, whipped cream or milk – optional

Directions:

Heat butter or oil, sauté onions and squash. Add broth, broth should cover the squash; let it simmer for 15 minutes or until soft (depends on size of cubes). Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Puree. The soups should be rather thick, but it’s entirely a matter of preference. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. If you like, add a dollop of whipped cream or a bit of fresh organic milk or cream. I personally think that is super tasty, but does add a few calories. Enjoy this warming and comforting bowl of goodness!

 

Slowcooker Tomato Parmesan Soup

I’m not gonna complain about the weather, first of all because it doesn’t help (my mood or otherwise), second, lots of rain means lots of lush vegetation, and third, I have to remember I chose to move here. Do I sometimes wish I had met a guy from Hawaii instead of Vancouver? Sure! Do I hate it? Heck no. Vancouver is beautiful and awesome, and sometimes a stroll in the rain with coffee in hand (reusable mug, if you wonder) is very lovely. Anyway, because of the consistent cold and wet weather, all I want to eat is soup and I am running out of recipes so I created this one after getting the idea of a slowcooker soup on Pinterest. Here it is:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (500g) organic tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 4 stalks of organic celery, leaves and all
  • 1 cup (250g) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) cream
  • 3 sprigs fresh basil or parsley (from my window garden)
  • 2 cups (1 l) vegetable broth (for recipe, click here)
neil conway / Food Photos / CC BY

Directions:

Snick the tops of the tomatoes, plunge them into water briefly. Peel and dice. Heat butter or oil, sauté onions until soft. Add tomato puree. Wash and chop celery.

Combine onions mix, tomatoes, celery and broth in slowcooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3. Yes, you can do this in a pot too if you don’t have a slowcooker, simmer for about 1h on low heat. Turn off, blend until smooth. Add cream, parmesan and herbs. Do not boil soup again as dairy can separate. Alternatively, try plain Greek yogurt. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

What’s your favorite soup?

Carrot Lime Ginger Soup

It has been a cold few days, we even have snow, which is so rare that people don’t go to work because they don’t know how – I’m talking no buses run, highways jammed with cars that have summer tires on, and closed down bridges – which makes me laugh. In a nice, respectful way of course. Growing up in Switzerland we called this BBQ weather. Kidding, but I rode my bike thousands of times in the snow, it’s not as big of a deal as you might think.

Anyway, because of this weather, all I have been wanting to drink all day is tea and all I want to eat is soup, hot and warming soup. Here’s a new favourite, courtesy of my sister:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (500g) carrots, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 organic lime, peel and juice
  • 4 cups (1 l) vegetable broth (for recipe, click here)
  • 1 piece of ginger, size of your thumb, peeled and grated
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Directions:

Heat butter or oil, sauté onions and carrots. After a few minutes, lime peel and grated ginger. Add broth, broth should cover the carrots; let it simmer for 15 minutes. Add lime juice (I love lime so I added the whole thing but figure out what you like, maybe half is enough), sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Puree soup and enjoy!

Anytime you eat the peel of a fruit or vegetable, as I do here with the lime, be sure to buy organic. I don’t want to scare you but obviously the outside of the fruit or vegetable is most affected by pesticides and other toxins so that’s why I stressed it here.

If you liked this soup or changed it to your liking, let me know by commenting on it and share it!

 

Tomato Orange Soup or Christmas in a Cup

Here a soup I like to eat this time of year, not just because I plan on overeating at Christmas and could use something lighter before and after, but also because it tastes very Christmas-y. Agreed?

Serves 4

Tomato Orange SoupIngredients:

  • 1 lb (500g) tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 sprigs fresh basil
  • 2 cups (1 l) vegetable broth (for recipe, click here)
  • 1.5 cups (400ml) fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Directions:

Snick the tops of the tomatoes, plunge them briefly into boiling water, allowing for easier peeling. Peel and dice. Heat butter or oil, sauté onions until soft. Add tomato puree. After a few minutes, add diced tomatoes. Dust with flour, add basil, then broth. Bring to a boil, stir continuously; let it simmer for 15 minutes.

In a separate pot, bring orange juice, sugar and spices to a boil and simmer on low until liquid is reduced by half. Pour reduction through a sieve to the tomato soup, take off heat and blend until smooth. Add cream or milk. Do not boil soup again as dairy can separate. Alternatively, whip cream and add a dollop directly into the serving bowls, sprinkle with cinnamon. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Adapted from Hiltl. Veggie International: A World of Difference. Book, published by Orell Fuessli. 2009.

Potato and Peas or an Upgraded Classic

The Feta cheese and mint make this classic soup into something more interesting. At least that’s my opinion – what’s yours?

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, chopped (peeling optional)
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 4 cups (1l) vegetable broth (home made, store bought or from powder)
  • 1 cup (250g) frozen peas
  • 1 spring fresh mint
  • 0.25 cup (60ml) cream
  • 1 decent sized chunk of Feta cheese (say, 2” square), crumbled

Potato Peas SoupDirections:

Heat oil or butter in pot. Sauté onions until soft. Add potato, then celery. Sauté for a few minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Let it simmer until potatoes are soft. Add frozen peas. Pick leaves of mint spring, discard the chalks and add leaves. Take off heat and blend until smooth. Add cream. Do not boil soup again as dairy can separate and mint loses some of its flavour. Add Feta cheese crumbles, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver: 20 Minute Meals, mobile app.

Vegetable Stock (Broth)

This stock is a great basis for soups, sauces, and glazes.

makes about 13 cups/3.5 litre

Ingredients:

  • 1 small leek
  • 1/4 small savoy cabbage
  • 1/2 fennel bulb
  • 2 onions, unpeeled
  • 1/2 small celeriac
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbsp oil

    Image Courtesy of Maggie Smith

    Image Courtesy of Maggie Smith

  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway sees
  • 1 tbs mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • 1 spring tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp lavender flowers
  • 15 cups (1L) water
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

Directions:

Wash vegetables and chop coarsely. Heat oil and sauté carrots, fennel, onions and celeriac until slightly browned. Add cabbage and spices. Cook until spices develop fragrance (should be somewhat obvious). Add herbs and water. Bring to a boil, simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in sea salt. Pour stock through sieve and fill into sterilized glass bottles or jars or use immediately for soups. Seal and leave to cool. Unopened stock will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Adapted from Hiltl. Veggie International: A World of Difference. Orell Fuessli, 2009.