Two Soups and a Soup Kitchen with a Twist

Turnip Soup with Chilli, Pimento and Noodles

Just like buses, you wait ages for unusual root vegetable recipes to arrive, then two turnip together! Sorry, I couldn't resist. You see, I was shopping on Saturday 20th October and there were those red-skinned turnips, just like the ones pictured in The Soup Book, so I bought them. It was decided that I would cook the dinner that evening and the spouse would get some of the ingredients for me. He's discovered this wonderful shop not too far away and has come home with tales of wondrous types of honey. I shall bestir myself to venture to this awesome place.

So, I arrived home from work on Wednesday (24th October) and laid out my ingredients: spring onion, turnips, jalapeno, dried chilli flakes, star anise, tomato puree, soy sauce, stock, Chinese egg noodles, preserved pimento and coriander. Carolyn Humphries advises you to use larger turnips with a stronger flavour - I consider myself lucky to find any turnips at all.

Peeling and chopping over and it was into the pot with the spring onions, turnips, the various chillies (except the pimento), the star anise, puree and stock. These were cooked together until the turnip was tender. I prepared the noodles according to the instructions and then stirred them into the soup with the pimento. Seasoning with soy sauce, pepper and coriander followed and finally it was time to dish up. I think I overdid the amount of noodle - it was like trying to get through a jungle. I needed a machete rather than a spoon. This soup didn't excite me or the younger offspring. The spouse quite liked it. Definitely a maybe.

Winter Squash Soup with Basil and Lime Cream

Yesterday (Monday 29th October) was the autumn bank holiday in Ireland and so I had time to make a brack, a pumpkin soup and a Jack o' lantern for Hallowe'en. I like to be thrifty so when I saw that Sophie Grigson was offering a choice of winter squash for this recipe - onion squash, red kuri, crown prince or pumpkin - I strutted my parsimonious stuff and bought two pumpkins.

Sophie has two winter squash recipes in The Soup Book so I let the spouse choose yesterday's recipe. Apart from pumpkin, you need garlic, onion, ginger, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, star anise, tomatoes, stock, cream, lime juice and basil leaves. I simmered the first seven ingredients until the pumpkin flesh was tender, then added the chopped tomatoes and star anise for a further simmer. In the meantime, I whipped the cream, squeezed some lime juice into it and folded in some chopped basil.

By this time the soup was ready. I ladled out bowlfuls and we each added our own preferred amount of lime cream. The soup was okay - a little on the bland side - but was rendered quite acceptable by the lime and basil cream as it melted into it. Maybe a make again.

Honey beer!

Twist Soup Kitchen

As I hacked out flesh from my pumpkins yesterday morning, I was listening to an item on the radio about Oliver Williams' soup kitchens. Having gone through difficulties himself in the 1980s he travelled to London and received help from a charitable soup kitchen there. In recent years he established a soup kitchen in Galway and another one in Athlone. Please visit his website Twist Soup Kitchen.

That's it for this week. The older offspring will be home next weekend. I feel a luxurious soup coming on in his honour.



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