Monday, 14 July 2008

Soup-er Trooper

To quote my husband, “soup is not a meal”. Now, I shall disagree with him - soup is a meal and a very good one at that. In fact, meat, vegetables, potatoes, pasta, noodles or rice, all combine into one tasty, complete meal. I can understand why some people are suspicious of soup if all they have tried are the thin tinned varieties; a bowl of hearty, homemade soup is a quite different experience. One to be enjoyed!


My all-time favourites are influenced heavily by my mother and grandmother and by the coffee shop I worked in during my teens. Lentil and bacon, chunky leek and potato, chicken noodle, Cullen Skink, vegetable, Cock-a-Leekie and cream of broccoli soup all succeed in making me feel comforted and satisfied. I am convinced that soup has restorative properties, leek and potato has cured many a hangover in my life and chicken noodle is the only thing I want when I have a cold. Even if the effects are just psychological, it works for me.


Thanks to the rubbish weather we’ve been having this week; I have been revisiting the wonderful world of soup. Despite having no hangover, I have made leek and potato soup. I like to leave some big chunks of potato in there so that I can mash it with my spoon as I eat! The coffee shop I worked in always had big chunks of potato in their soup and squashing them was a good way to pass the time while it cooled enough to eat it. The Husband and I attempted to have a BBQ on Sunday, it was rained off but I cooked everything inside and we ate with our friends in the living room. So much for all the outdoor furniture we borrowed for the occasion! However, there were chicken wings left over – chicken wings make brilliant stock so I used them to make a Thai-inspired chicken noodle soup that deserves mention.


Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

2 spring onions, finely sliced

2 chicken skinless, boneless thighs, sliced into thin strips

1 tsp thai green curry paste

1 tsp nam pla (thai fish sauce)

4ooml chicken stock

1 lime leaf

a bundle of thin rice noodles

Add the thai green curry paste to a saucepan with a little oil and saute until the fragrance start to come out of the spices, add the chicken and brown. Then add the fish sauce, lime leaf and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile pour boiling water over the rice noodles and leave for 5 minutes until soft. Divide the noodles between 2 bowl and sprinkle in the spring onion. pour over the chicken and broth. If it needs seasoning, use gluten free tamari to add saltiness.


On the topic of noodles, Annabel Karmel has a range of baby food (you can buy it online or at Boots) and she produces gluten-free mini pasta stars that are brilliant in soups. I use them in minestrone and in some chicken noodle soup. They’re worth a try.

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