My foray into cooking during lockdown started with soup making. On the weekend of the 14th March 2020, when there were signs that things were getting more serious on the Covid-19 front, my husband and I cancelled a family get together which we had already purchased all the ingredients for. We took the decision to cancel the event as 4 of the guests were over the age of 70 and 2 had COPD. It was not that our elderly relatives asked for the event to be cancelled, but we felt that given the circumstances it would be the most sensible thing to do.
Anyway, the first soup I made, was a warm cucumber and courgette soup. It wouldn’t have been my natural choice of soup, but I had excess courgettes, cucumbers, celery and spring onions to use up. Although I say that cucumber soup was not my natural choice, I have had it once before, when my husband and I climbed Kilimanjaro a few years ago. It was one of the meals that was gratefully received after a long day hiking.
Unfortunately, I can’t find the recipe I used for the soup as I have Googled so many recipes since I made the soup that I can’t find the recipe in my search history. Suffice is to say that I used the spring onions instead of onions, added in a couple or three of celery sticks and chopped up two cucumbers and two courgettes. I sauteed these off in some oil in a large saucepan for a few minutes and then added stock, seasoning and a bay leaf or two. When the vegetables were cooked through I blended the soup until smooth and then served it warm with a dollop of natural yoghurt. As with many of my soup meals, I accompanied the soup with a slice or two of Sourdough bread from Sourdough Revolution.
As mentioned before, not long into lockdown, it was beginning to become clear that my online Ocado food orders were going to dry up, so I subscribed to the Lynwood & Co vegetable and fruit boxes. In the first week, my vegetable box contained two rather large heads of broccoli, so I decided that broccoli soup may be in order. After my online search for broccoli soup recipes, I settled on the trusty BBC Good Food site and the following, very easy, recipe:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 250ml vegetable stock (more if necessary
- 200g broccoli florets
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- drizzle cream, to serve (if you have any – it was perfectly tasty without it)
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes
- Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and add the broccoli florets
- Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, until the broccoli is tender
- Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a liquidiser. Blend until smooth.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls and drizzle with cream to serve (if you have any).
The recipe was so easy that I made it twice in one week.
My last order (of two) from Ocado substituted my requested two punnets of mushrooms with two, rather large, family packs of mushrooms. As there are only two humans in our household (and one fur baby), two family packs of mushrooms were clearly going to be too much for us. The simplest way of using up excess vegetables is, of course, making soup, so I made a rather large batch of mushroom soup, using another recipe from the trusted BBC Good Food website:
- 90g butter
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 500g mushrooms, finely chopped (chestnut or button mushrooms work well)
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tbsp single cream (if you have any or use natural yoghurt instead)
- small handful parsley, roughly chopped, to serve (optional)
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan and cook the onions and garlic until soft but not browned, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat for another 3 mins until softened. Sprinkle over the flour and stir to combine. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring the mixture to the boil, then add the bay leaf and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf, then remove the mushroom mixture from the heat and blitz using a hand blender/liquidiser until smooth. Gently reheat the soup and stir through the cream/yoghurt. Scatter over the parsley, if you like, and serve.
After my Ocado orders dried up and my Lynwood & Co vegetable and fruit boxes became a regular thing, my challenge was not, not having enough fruit and vegetables, but rather having too many. Not only having too many, but also not of the variety I would normally choose. I am not a huge root vegetable fan, except at Christmas, so the next two boxes presented me with an additional challenge in that they contained parsnips, turnips and celeriac.
Not wanting to be defeated, I made a creamy parsnip and turnip soup using a Mindful Living Network Recipe, followed by a celeriac soup using a recipe from Delicious Every Day.
Creamy Parsnip and Turnip Soup
- 3-4 mid-sized turnips
- 2 medium parsnips
- 1.5 cups of water
- 2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
- Rinse the turnips
- Peel the skin and dice the turnips and parsnips into small chunks
- Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil in a cooking pot
- Add vegetable stock, garlic powder and sea salt into the water
- Add the turnips and parsnips into the mixture
- Half way through the cooking process (20 minutes, or until the turnips and parsnips are semi-tender), add the white wine vinegar
- Once the turnips and parsnips are soft, remove from the stove top and add pepper to taste
- Blend the mixture until a smooth puree
- For a less creamy consistency, add a little more hot water
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 celeriac peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 large potato peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 leek trimmed, washed and roughly sliced
- 1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic sliced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Leaves of a handful of parsley washed and roughly chopped
Place a large pot over a medium low heat and add the olive oil. Add the celeriac, leek, potato, garlic and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Gently sweat the vegetables until the celeriac starts to soften, around 10 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock and bring the soup up to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the celeriac is completely tender. Add the parsley and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth, or alternatively blend in batches in a blender. Return to the heat and check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream.
Okay, I am now a bit souped out now. I hope this gives you some food for thought, if you like me, have spare vegetables to use up. Maybe not the best recipes going into Summer, but hopefully useful at some point in the future.