In 2013 we published a little book called Sumptuous Soups from Stowmarket featuring favourite recipes kindly provided by members of the parish. Here are those recipes – including one from the most celebrated cook in our community…

1 Carrot and Leek Soup

This soup is easy to prepare for two or a crowd and makes a nice starter, too — Janice Tidmarsh

Equal quantities of carrots and leeks, peeled, cleaned and chopped
A knob of butter and a glug of olive oil
Vegetable stock or water
Tarragon to taste. (optional)

Gently sweat the vegetables in the butter and oil until softened. Add stock or water to cover generously. Season with salt and pepper. Add a sprig of tarragon, if using. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Blend the soup until smooth. If the soup is too thick or thin add a little more stock, or simmer for a little longer. Check seasoning and serve, sprinkled with a little chopped tarragon.

2 Spiced Pumpkin Soup

A warming soup for a cold day. I love chilli so I make mine extra spicy, Janice Tidmarsh

1 oz butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
Wedge of pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped – about 1 kg (2 lb) total
½ teaspoon chilli flakes (more if you dare!)
Crushed allspice berries, about ¼ teaspoon or more to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 pints of hot chicken or vegetable stock

Soften the onion in the butter. Add the vegetables and spices and braise for 10 minutes. Add the hot stock and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Blend the soup until smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Garnish with a drizzle of chilli oil and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.

Serve with warm, crusty bread.

3 Smoked Fish Soup

This is a favourite soup from Pat Keating

Ingredients for 4 servings
12 oz (350 g) smoked haddock or cod
1 onion, skinned and chopped
1 pint (600 ml) milk
1½ lbs (700 g) potatoes
Knob of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1 fish stock cube in 1 litre (2 pints) boiling water
Sweet corn (frozen or a small tin)

Place the fish in a medium-sized pan, cover the fish with boiling water and bring back to the boil again. Add the onion, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile peel and cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well and mash (or chop into small cubes for a chunkier soup)

Take out the fish and remove any bones. Flake the fish and return to the pan with the onions and liquid, add the milk, sweet corn and fish stock.

Add the potatoes to the pan with the fish, add butter, stir well and season.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread.
A very filling soup for a cold day! This recipe is based on the Scottish Cullen Skink (skink means broth) and would be made with Finnan Haddock.

4 Economical Chowder

This soup was created when we let some smoked mackerel get a bit out of date. I don’t recommend that the fish has to be ancient, but it is a shame to throw things away unnecessarily — Rosemary Muntus

1 packet of smoked mackerel
2 floury potatoes
1 small onion
large knob of butter
500 ml (1 pint) of skimmed milk
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley (optional)

Cook the smoked mackerel for a couple of minutes in the microwave and peel off the skin. Let cool and flake into small pieces. Keep any liquid. Chop the onion finely, place in a saucepan with butter and fry gently until golden.

Bake the potatoes in the microwave for 10 minutes, peel and mash slightly with the flaked fish and the onions. Add the milk and any fish ‘juice’ and bring almost to the boil. Check the flavour and add salt and pepper as required plus, if you have, chopped parsley.

5 Celery and Cashew Nut Soup

Sheila Dobey says ‘I first found this recipe (in The Cranks Recipe Book) when I had celery and nuts left over after a party. I tried it, modified it and liked the result. I hope you do too.’

1 medium-sized onion
1 medium-sized potato
1 head of celery
30 g (1 oz) butter or margerine
100 g (3 oz) broken cashew nuts
0.5 litres (1 pint) light chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
350 ml (¾ pint) milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the celery ( I like to take the stringy outside off first with a potato peeler). Chop the other vegetables. Melt the butter or margarine in a large saucepan and sauté the prepared vegetables gently until the onion is transparent.

Add broken cashew nuts and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and continue to boil gently for a further 20 minutes. Add milk, allow to cool slightly, then blend in a liquidiser. Reheat before serving and add salt and pepper to taste’

(Some people like to add a little lemon juice or cream; I seldom do).

6 Carrot, Apple and Cashew Nut Soup

Everyone who tastes this soup comes back for a second helping — Jean Roche

1 lb carrots
1 large onion
1 small potato
1 large cooking apple
60 g (2 oz) butter
1 litre (2 pints) vegetable stock
60 g (2 oz) broken cashew nuts
Salt and pepper

Peel and roughly chop the vegetables and the apple. Melt the butter in the pan and sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, cover, simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Cool, blend and reheat.

7 Sweet Corn Soup

This recipe serves 4 and was evolved with the Little Mice Day Nursery, Stowmarket. We did this at the request of the children after staff had read to them the wonderful story of “Stone Soup” I chose it because it is really delicious and encourages children to make and eat soup. — Beaty Higginson.

2 rashers of bacon, chopped
1 tin of sweetcorn, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 large potato (peeled and finely chopped)
2 tablespoons of wholemeal or plain flour
2 cupfuls of milk
2 cupfuls of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Cook bacon, corn and onion in pan for 5 minutes. Add celery and potato and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for another minute. Stir in milk and stock and bring to the boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Place all in blender (though it’s OK unblended if you prefer). Reheat in pan and stir in the chopped parsley

8 Cream of Broccoli Soup

Jardine Thomas based her broccoli soup on a recipe from ‘In the Kitchen with Rosie’. Rosie is Oprah Winfrey’s chef, and Jardine says that she has since adapted and cooked many versions of the recipe. With broccoli she doesn’t add flour, since the broccoli thickens the soup enough. She has substituted watercress and coriander for leeks and nutmeg. The quantities given should serve four.

½cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 cups broccoli florets and peeled stems (1 large head)
2½ cups skimmed milk
Light vegetable oil cooking spray (or a scant tablespoon if you don’t have any vegetable oil spray)
1½ cups chopped leek, white part only (2–3 leeks)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat for about 1 minute. Spray it twice with the vegetable oil. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring often, for 7 to 8 minutes, until limp. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the warm evaporated milk. Continue to cook, whisking con­stantly, until the flour has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the nutmeg, the garlic, and the broccoli, along with its cooking liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes more, taking care not to bring the soup to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil and black pepper.

9 Stilton & Broccoli Soup

From Antoni Grzedzicki — a favourite soup

2 onions
1 large potato
Head of broccoli
50 g (2 oz) butter
1 tablespoon of flour
350 ml (¾ pint) chicken stock
250 ml (½ pint) dry cider
100 g (4 oz) stilton cheese
250 ml (½ pint) milk
4 tablespoons double cream

Prepare vegetables and chop finely or put in processor. Melt butter and cook vegetables with lid on for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in flour, add stock and cider. Simmer for 30 minutes with lid on.

Add milk, crumbled cheese, heat gently and season.
Stir in cream when serving.

10 Cauliflower/Broccoli Cheese and Potato Soup

A tasty, quick soup made with new potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, medium fat hard cheese and soya or semi-skimmed milk — Geoff and Paula Johannes

Margarine and olive oil
1 Spanish onion, sliced.
1 dozen small florets of cauliflower
1 dozen small florets of broccoli
0.5–1 kg (1-2 lb) new potatoes, cubed
1 level tablespoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon wholemeal plain flour
Grated lemon rind
500 ml (1 pint) soya milk
Up to 250 ml (half a pint) of water (optional)
Pepper and salt to taste
50–100 g (1-2 oz) medium fat hard cheese, grated

Sauté the onions and cubed new potatoes in a little soya margarine and olive oil for five minutes before adding the broccoli and cauliflower florets. Continue to sauté and add mace, mustard powder, flour, and grated lemon rind.

Add the soya milk as soon as the flour begins to catch, not allowing it to burn. Then add some water, if needed, and cook for about twenty minutes. Season to taste and add grated cheese. Stir all well and serve with crusty wholemeal bread, if required.

11 Slimmers’ soup

Carole Kelly had our waistlines in mind when she supplied this useful soup. ‘This is a quick and easy soup, containing very few calories, but it is very filling’.

1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 medium carrots
1 stick of celery
1 medium onion
1 chicken Oxo cube
1 teaspoon of basil
350 ml (¾ pint) boiling water

Dissolve the Oxo cube in the boiling water, Chop up the vegetables into smallish pieces and place with the stock in a saucepan. Add the basil. Bring to boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

12 French Broccoli Soup (Low calorie)

I chose this recipe because it is rich in vitamins and low in calories! — Alicia Beaton

300 g (10½ oz) of broccoli broken into florets
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon of dried herbs
700 ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock
200 g (8 oz) can of butter beans rinsed and drained
Bread to serve

Place the broccoli, onion, garlic, herbs, seasoning and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Blend in a liquidiser with the butter beans and then return it to the pan.

Warm the soup through, check the seasoning and serve each bowlful with a slice of French bread.

Variations: If you are not keen on broccoli, you can make this soup with mushrooms. For special occasions try making a creamy version by adding 1 tablespoon of half-fat crème fraiche to each bowl.

13 Mulligatawny Soup

The spicy tang of this soup really warms on a winter’s day – Jean Roche

1 medium-sized carrot
1 medium-sized onion
1 medium-sized potato
1 medium-sized cooking apple
2 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder
300 ml (½ pint) tomato juice
1 litre (2 pints) vegetable stock

Chop the vegetables and the apple. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté vegetables and onion until onion transparent. Add garlic, curry powder and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add liquids and boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly then blend in small quantities in liquidiser. Reheat to serving temperature. These quantities should serves 6

14 Beetroot soup

‘This soup owes a lot to the ‘Moro Cookbook’. I didn’t like beetroot much as a child but I came across this recipe about the same time that fresh beetroot started appearing in the markets and farm shops. It still has vinegar in it but it is much tastier than plain picked beetroot.’ — Rosemary Muntus

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion
2 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds (ideally black, but common brownish seeds work well too)
5-6 medium beetroots
1 medium potato
1 pint of water
Wine or balsamic vinegar to taste (and/or pomegranate syrup)
4 tablespoons of yoghurt or crème fraiche
Salt and black pepper
A little chopped parsley plus a couple of leaves to garnish the soup.

These quantities give two large bowls of soup. Heat the oil and add the onion, finely sliced. Lower the heat and cover and cook until the onion is golden. Add the cumin seed and one clove of garlic, crushed. Cook for 5 minutes more. Peel and chop the beetroot and the potato and add, together with the water, and cook until the beetroot is tender. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

I like to add sharp tasting pomegranate molasses, which is available from Turkish or Iranian food suppliers. You could also add lemon juice to offset the sweetness of the beetroot.

Add most of the parsley, remove from the heat and blend. Crush the second clove of garlic with a little salt and stir in the crème fraiche thoroughly. Warm the soup through and spoon on the garlicky cream and add a parsley sprig.

15 Minestrone soup

This soup is great when you have lots of people to feed. My record is 23 and I had to split it into several saucepans. The quantities here will serve 4–6 easily.

¼ packet mixed dried beans (haricot, borlotti, lentils, white, black, mung whatever)
2 tablespoons of oil
1 large onion
3 carrots
1 stick of celery
2–3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
Handful of green French beans (or frozen peas)
¼–½ cabbage (Savoy is nice but white is better)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (or several fresh ones peeled and chopped)
1–1.5 litres (2–3 pints) vegetable stock (or ham stock if you are serving only meat eaters)
1 cup of uncooked pasta, ideally small macaroni or the rice shaped variety
Grated parmesan cheese

Start the day before you need the soup by soaking the beans. Pour the water away, cover again and boil for 30–45 minutes until just tender. Chop the onion and fry in the oil until browned to taste. Peel and slice the carrots, beans and cabbage, add to the onions and stir thoroughly before adding the thyme, the cooked beans and the vegetable or ham stock. Simmer for 15 minutes before adding tomatoes and the pasta (and the peas if you have no fresh green beans). Check the seasoning and cook until the pasta is tender. The soup reheats well and probably tastes better the second time around. Serve hot, with generous amounts of parmesan cheese and French bread.

16 French onion soup

My favourite soup, I can’t prepare it easily myself because the onions attack my eyes but I love the way the onions caramelise to make the soup sweet as well as savoury — Allan Scott.

2 tablespoons oil
30 g (2 oz) butter
8 onions
450 ml (1 pint) stock
450 ml (1 pint) water
Slices of French bread
Grated cheese

Put the oil and butter in a heavy based pan and heat till bubbling. Add the first onion, peeled and finely sliced, and cook till medium brown. Add each onion as it is peeled and sliced and continue cooking and stirring until all the onion is nicely coloured. Do not let the onions burn, though you can cover them and turn the heat down to cook them for another 10 minutes at this stage.

Add a stock cube and fresh black pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for another ten minutes. Add more water and check the seasoning. You shouldn’t need more salt, but a little vinegar can be added at this stage if the soup seems very sweet.

Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls and float a slice of French bread on the top of each. Place grated cheese (Gruyère or Cheddar plus a bit of Parmesan if desired) on top of the bread, and grill until the cheese is bubbly before serving.

17 Potato and lovage soup

If you have the herb, lovage, growing in your garden you will probably know it. Ours grows less than three foot tall but in the right spot it can grow much larger and although it dies down to nothing with the first frost, it will reappear next spring. Its aniseed taste brings out something very special in potatoes.

1 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 medium potatoes
250 ml (½ pint) vegetable stock or chicken stock
500 ml (1 pint) milk
2 tablespoons chopped lovage plus several small whole leaves
Salt and pepper

Peel and finely chop the onion and sauté in a saucepan with the olive oil until translucent; then add the potatoes (peeled and cubed), the stock and milk and simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender. Now add the lovage and liquidise the soup, adding more stock, milk or water to get the right amount and thickness as required. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and garnish with the remaining lovage.

18 Carrot soup or Potage Crecy

This is prepared in a similar fashion but has carrots instead of potatoes, tarragon instead of lovage and uses only stock instead of stock and milk. It can be dressed up to make a very classy soup.

1 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil plus largish knob of butter or margarine.
1 medium potato (optional)
700 ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock or chicken stock
8–12 carrots
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or a generous teaspoon of dried tarragon.

Peel and finely chop the onion and sauté in a saucepan with the oil and butter until soft, together with the tarragon. Add the potato (optional) and the carrots, peeled and sliced finely, together with the stock. Cook until the vegetables are tender, then liquidise ( remove some of the carrot slices before doing this if you like texture in your soup). Thin with boiling water if necessary and add a swirl of cream and a tarragon leaf or two to each serving, plus some fresh pepper.

19 A Winter Soup

I have chosen this recipe because it makes a very satisfying and easy meal — Alicia Beaton

Low fat cooking spray
1 onion (chopped finely)
1 red pepper (deseeded & sliced)
1 tablespoon mild or hot curry powder
1 x 700 g jar of passata (or a tin of tomatoes) with onion and garlic
50 g (1½ oz) fine green beans (trimmed & halved)
300 ml (10 fluid oz) beef or chicken stock
1 x 410 g can of chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
50 g (1½ oz) cooked roast beef or chicken, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander plus extra to garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat a deep saucepan and spray with low-fat cooking spray. Gently cook onion and pepper for 50 minutes  or until soft. Add curry powder, passata (or tomatoes),  green beans and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the chickpeas, then the shredded beef or chicken reserving a few shreds for garnish. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Check for seasoning.
Stir in the coriander and serve garnished with the reserved beef or chicken shreds and the remaining coriander. Serves 4.

20 Bean Soup

Dagmar Davies finds it difficult to give exact quantities for this nutritious soup with some German connections. Nevertheless the amounts given below should feed 3–4 people

Small pan of mixed dried beans, soaked in water for 12 hours
Vegetables (depending on what’s available): carrots, celery sticks, leeks, swedes, parsnips, potatoes
Stock cube

Fry onion in some butter. Add the soaked beans, add boiling water and a stock cube.

While the beans are cooking, cut the vegetables into small cubes and add to the beans, season with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 1½–2 hours. Serve with fresh rolls.

21 Pumpkin Soup

My sister was taught how to make this soup by a lady in whose house she stayed as she hitchhiked round Malaysia some twenty years ago. It is very simple to make and always delicious. As she told me what to do, I was as anxious as you, the reader, must be because she gave me so few quantities. It really doesn’t matter. Take her advice ‘just throw some in!’ Each time it is a little different, which adds to its charm — Mary Robinson

½ medium pumpkin or any other squash
1 onion
1 dessertspoonful peanut butter (optional)
Curry powder
Cabbage (optional)

Peel, discard seeds and roughly chop the pumpkin/squash. Roughly chop the onion. Place everything except the cabbage in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft (about 20 minutes), or alternatively, cook in a pressure cooker for about 5 minutes. While the soup is cooking, shred a good handful of cabbage. Blend the soup until it is golden and smooth. Return to the heat and add the cabbage for texture if desired. Serve with a little cream or natural yoghurt and crusty bread. ENJOY.

22 Long Soup

Helen Morton said we simply had to have a version of this soup. She loves it because, like many Chinese dishes, the ingredients are so fresh and tasty and because she far prefers a clear soup to a creamy one.

8 spring onions
½ small cabbage
200 g (8 oz) pork loin or similar lean pork sliced into thin strips
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
700 ml (1½ pints) chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon of peeled grated fresh ginger
100 g (4 oz) thin Chinese egg or rice noodles

Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Stir fry the pork until no longer pink (5 minutes). Add stock, soy sauce and ginger to the pork, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes adding the cabbage (finely shredded) towards the end. Stir in noodles and onions (cut into thin diagonal slices). Cook for 1–4 minutes until the noodles are tender.

23 Rich Game Bird Soup with Duck or Goose

This recipe is a special soup for the time between Christmas and New Year. It can also be made as a stew if the meat is left in pieces and the vegetables in small chunks. It uses the carcases of various game birds for stock, together with a goose or Aylesbury duck carcase for richness. It is best when further enriched with port, redcurrant jelly and even a little stilton. (Serves 8) — Geoff and Paula Johannes

For the Stock
Pheasant, mallard, guinea fowl or partridge or any leftover game birds
Carcase of the goose or duck and any giblets not used over Christmas
Half to one bottle Rhone or other full-bodied red wine
Spanish onion quartered, or two medium onions quartered
Bay leaves
Peppercorns, and a little salt (don’t overdo the salt as the soup is seasoned to taste later on).
One cinnamon stick, a few cloves, juniper berries and allspice (these are optional)

For the Soup
The rich stock, fat skimmed off
A little olive oil
Hand processed meat from game birds and goose (or duck)
Two medium red onions, finely chopped;
Small quantity (a cupful) finely shredded and chopped red cabbage;
(Optional, to taste: Puréed parsnip and potato, mashed butternut squash and a few quartered leftover Brussels sprouts)
Small glass of ruby port
Tablespoon redcurrant jelly
Seasoning to taste (include a pinch of ground mace)
A little grated stilton is optional.

Method for Stock
Place all game bird and goose or duck carcases into a large stockpot with the quartered onion, bay leaves and other spices chosen, together with any giblets.

Add sufficient water and rich Rhone wine to cover all the birds and bring to the boil, then simmer as for any stock. When stock is done, strain it into a smaller pan and skim off excess fat. If you are on a strict diet, allow fat to set on the cooled stock to remove virtually all the fat.

Remove all meat from the bones and set aside. Carefully shred meat and remove all lead shot from game. If required the meat can be processed in a food processor, but not too fine as the texture must remain in the soup.

At the early stages of cooking the soup, more red wine can be added if there is too much meat for the reduced stock, but the soup should end up rich and fairly thick.

Method for Soup (about 1 hour)
Sauté the chopped red onion and shredded chopped red cabbage in a tiny amount of olive oil and add the prepared meat; add puréed root vegetables if thicker soup is preferred. Also add the mashed, cooked butternut squash and quartered sprouts (if required) and then all the stock.

The cooking time will depend on whether lumps of meat and vegetables or the processed meat and puréed vegetables are added.

After about twenty to thirty minutes add one small glass of port and a large tablespoon of redcurrant jelly. Add a little ground mace and basic seasoning.

Continue to cook for at least another ten to twenty minutes. Taste from time to time and adjust seasoning. The soup is done when all the flavours are married together.

The soup should be served with home made, plaited granary or wholemeal bread that can contain some grated stilton or other strong blue cheese. This combines very well with the soup. A little stilton could be crumbled into the soup, instead, if diet permits. It will be obvious that this is a very special and very rich soup only for the Christmas season! Subsequent penance may be appropriate.

24 Spicy Mixed Bean Soup (Vegetarian)

This can either be made the slow way, with carefully prepared, low salt stock, soaked and pre-cooked beans, or as a very quick soup for lunch, adding half a stock cube and canned beans. Canned beans may have salt or sugar added and so must be rinsed, carefully. This is a low fat/low salt/low sugar soup—but delicious! (Serves 4-6) — Geoff and Paul Johannes

1 medium onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 or 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
Red pepper, sliced
Green pepper, sliced
Other vegetables to hand may be added, as preferred,
e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, carrot, spring onion, all diced.
Small can barlotti beans
Small can cannelloni beans
Can butter beans
Moroccan spice to taste
Cumin and onion seeds or panch pouran (Indian five fragrant seeds)
Black pepper, and a teaspoon of garam masala if not using panch pouran
A few dried red chilli seeds, or one fresh chilli with seeds removed (enough to give a ‘bite’ only, not to make it very hot).
450 ml (1 pint) vegetable stock (or a can of low salt vegetable soup)
One small glass dry white wine, or dry vermouth (optional)
For low salt, add a small shake of soy sauce instead of salt, or stock cube.

Sauté red and white onions with garlic and peppers, in a small quantity of olive oil; then add any other vegetables chosen and a half teaspoon of Moroccan spice (now available in supermarkets but quite variable in its ‘heat’).

Continue to sauté the vegetables and add onion and cumin seeds or the panch pouran, the fresh or dried chilli and the black pepper. (Panch pouran is especially good if adding cauliflower and broccoli or shredded cabbage.)

Add the rinsed beans and continue to sauté, then add a glass of dry white wine or dry vermouth, and finally the vegetable stock. Cook for twenty minutes then add the garam masala (home made is best) and/or more Moroccan spice; and continue to cook for ten more minutes.

Because the canned beans are already soft, the flavours quickly combine to give a spicy, chunky, and healthy soup. Serve with hot granary rolls or wholemeal toast.

25 Puy Lentil Soup with Bacon

This recipe, from Stowmarket parish’s most celebrated cook, Delia Smith, serves 6. It is taken from The Delia Collection – Soups.

This is a very substantial soup, best made with the tiny French, greeny-black Puy lentils. If you can’t get these, use green-brown lentils, which don’t have the depth of flavour of the Puy lentils, but are still excellent and can be used in the same way.

6 oz (175 g) Puy or green-brown lentils, rinsed
4 oz (110 g) smoked, streaky bacon or pancetta, derinded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon groundnut or other flavourless oil
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely sliced
8 oz (225 g) tinned Italian tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 pints (1.75 litres) vegetable stock
8 oz (225 g) cabbage, finely shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the bacon or pancetta in it until the fat begins to run. Then stir in the prepared carrots, onions and celery and, with the heat fairly high, toss them around to brown them a little at the edges, stirring now and then.

Next, stir in the rinsed lentils, plus the tomatoes, followed by the crushed garlic, stir everything together, then pour in the stock.
As soon as the soup comes to the boil, put a lid on and simmer, as gently as possible, for about 30 minutes. Then add the cabbage and cook cabbage for 5 minutes or until the cabbage has wilted, taste and season with salt and plenty of freshly milled black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley.

From The Delia Collection – Soups, first published in 2003 by BBC Books.

© Delia Smith 2003

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