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Soup-er ideas to save your health and to save your money.

Byline: Janet Tansley

IF you've overspent or overeaten recently, now is a good time to start tightening your belts ...in more ways than one.

January is National Soup Month and a timely reminder that many home-made soups are not only easy to prepare without being too heavy on the calories, but they can also be very economical in these trying times of recession.

Better still, a wide range of fresh produce available to most of us makes them an excellent and natural means of getting many of the daily nutrients the body needs including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins.

Of the seasonal ingredients available in January, broccoli is particularly useful when making soups, being quick to cook and highly nutritious.

It's packed with vitamins A, B1 (thiamin), b2 (riboflavin), b3 (niacin), b9 (folate), and ounce for ounce more vitamin C than many citrus fruit. The mineral content is also impressive including good sources of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Broccoli is also an excellent source of fibre, carotenoid-rich and hailed as one of the top 10 antioxidant foods.

If you're stuck for home-made soup ideas, www.Recipes4us.co.uk has a huge collection of soup recipes.

Broccoli and stilton soup (serves 2)

Ingredients: a knob of butter; 1/2 a medium onion, roughly chopped; 175g/6oz broccoli (including the stems), roughly chopped; 350ml/12fl.oz. vegetable or chicken stock (for special occasions, substitute up to half the stock with dry white wine); salt and black pepper; 150ml/5fl oz semi skimmed milk; 1 teasp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water; 50g/2oz stilton cheese, crumbled.

Method: Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan then add the onion and saute over a medium heat for a few minutes until softened but not too brown.

Add all of the broccoli and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the stock and black pepper and mix well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the broccoli is very soft.

Add the milk, bring back to almost boiling point then stir in the corn flour mixture and continue to cook over a medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes then either puree with an electric hand blender or transfer to a liquidiser or food processor and puree until smooth.

Reheat to simmering point, then add the crumbled stilton cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and the soup is smooth. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and more pepper if necessary.

Serve hot by itself or with a swirl of cream and croutons.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Jan 22, 2009
Words:443
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