Mexican style smoky corn soup

Winter isn’t the most fun, and the foods that get you through it tend to attract words like “hearty”. Big one-pot stews, heaps of potatoes. It’s pretty great. But sometimes you want something with all the warming body, but a bit less of the stodgy heft. Vegetable soups, you’re up.

IMG_5754One of my favourites is the Mexican bean soup from the River Cottage veg book. You can squint at that and just about see the heritage for this I suppose. But it’s been on a little trip via Authentic Mexican, my enthusiasm for sweet corn, and the fact that I really really hate photographing soup.

Seriously, it’s just no fun. Which is probably why this goes in quite so hard on the corn, roasted corn, and peppers. Quite apart from tasting nice, that gives us something to look at, and a nice mix of colours. So yes, it’s both a little sweet and a little focused on corn. It’s like a nursery-tastes remix of a classic pozole soup, I suppose, and it won’t be for everyone. I  do like the hot sweet and sour of it, and the bit of bite.

 

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Roasted garlic ribollita

Ribollita is serious peasant food. It’s an Italian white bean soup that would likely be reheated a few days running, and probably have whatever veg came to hand thrown in over that period. It’s hale and warming enough for winter, but I also find the flavours light enough for a late summer supper. The thick croutons of toasted, garlicky oiled bread really help there.

Ribollita and sherry

You can find a good basic recipe in Veg Every Day  or actually Jamie’s Italy. But this is something of a bastard version that plays to my liking for rustic Mexican flavours. Roasted garlic, extra oregano, and a little allspice go in to punch that up, and it’s not shy of the tomato. I also figure it’d take a toasted ancho rehydrated in the stock, but I haven’t tried that this time round.

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Pea, parsley and spinach soup

I’m ripping off recipe books left right, and centre this week, it seems. Today it’s the pea and parsley soup from the River Cottage Veg Every Day book. I made it thicker, upped the thyme, and added spinach. That’s basically it, so if you’ve got the book, off you go.

Pea & spinach soup, with rye bread

Still here? Fair enough. I wanted something thick and warming, and full of vegetables to help me get over a nasty cold, or at least make me feel better while doing so.

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Soup-urb, Brighton

Soup-urb – it’s a terrible pun, which loses the place points; it is also a really good cafe, which wins them back more or less instantly. Unsurprisingly, it specializes in soup, and the soup is good.

Soup-urb Brighton (there are two branches) used to be Nia, an equally good artsy/hip all-day breakfast type joint with genuinely special hash browns. I don’t know if it’s the same people cooking, but the standard is still high.

We went there on Sunday, and the chowder knocked my socks off.

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