Creamy Mushroom & Thyme Soup

Mushroom and thyme are one of my ultimate favourite foodie combinations. Whether in a pasta sauce, soup or risotto, they compliment each other beautifully. I’d somehow ended up with a load of mushrooms in my fridge which needed to be used up so a creamy mushroom soup seemed like the perfect dish for lunch on a cold and dreary afternoon.

Ingredients (3-4 portions)
•1tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
•2tbsps olive oil
•1 onion, roughly chopped
•2 cloves of garlic, crushed
•200g closed cup mushrooms, sliced
•200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
•2 tsps fresh thyme leaves
•salt and black pepper for seasoning
•700ml mushroom stock
•200ml unsweetened soya milk

1) Soak the porcini mushrooms in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil and gently sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
2) Add the mushrooms (including porcini) a small batch at a time so that they can cook in their own juices. Add the thyme and season well. Once all mushrooms are soft and brown, add the stock and stir in the soya milk.
3) Blend into a thick soup. Leave a few chunks of mushrooms un-blended for extra bite and texture. Add more water to the soup if necessary.

Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!





Roasted Red Pepper & Lentil Soup


I love a hearty bowl of soup for lunch during the week and there’s nothing more satisfying than making your own, free from the high levels of salt, sugar and preservatives that the shop-bought varieties contain.

I made a massive batch of this delicious soup on Sunday afternoon and it has provided me with lunch for the entire working week.

Several red peppers are required in order to bring out the flavour in the soup but I can guarantee it’s worth it. I used a mixture of bell peppers and sweet pointed peppers.

Roasting them for an extended period with thyme brings out immensely sweet flavours and the added red lentils give that hearty feel to it.

INGREDIENTS (4-5 portions)
•4 red bell peppers
•4 sweet pointed peppers
•4 tomatoes, halved
•3 cloves of garlic, crushed
•The leaves of 7 sprigs of thyme
•1 tsp black pepper
• Pinch of salt
•1tbsp olive oil
•700ml veg stock
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
•200g red lentils

1) Pre-heat the oven at 180c. De-seed and roughly chop the peppers, placing in a large oven-proof dish along with the tomatoes. Sprinkle on the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, drizzling over the oil.

2) Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, rinse and boil the lentils, drain and set aside.
3) When removing the peppers from the oven, leave to stand and cool significantly. Add the majority of the stock and blitz with a hand-held blender. Examine the consistency and add more stock if necessary. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, lentils and serve.

I drizzled a dash of soya cream on mine and served with a sprig of thyme. The rest of the soup was then dished out in tuppeware boxes, ready for the week ahead!


Spicy Bean Soup


As the temperature begins to plummet, it becomes clear that autumn is well and truly on the way. With a chilly breeze in the air outside, it’s left me craving warm and hearty soups once again, such is the inspiration behind this delicious spicy bean soup.

This huge batch made enough for 6 generous portions. That’s lunch sorted for the rest of the week!

•2 tbsp veg oil
•1 onion, roughly chopped
•3 crushed garlic cloves
•2 tbsp ground cumin
•2 tsp ground coriander
•chilli flakes…depends how hot you like it. I ended up using 2tbsp in this big batch!
•1 tbsp tomato purée
•1kg chopped tomatoes-I used this container from Sainsbury’s rather than buying multiple tins

•1 tsp caster sugar
•1l veg stock
•1kg mixed beans-I used red kidney, butter and cannellini beans, drained
•salt and pepper to season
•fresh coriander to serve

1) Heat the oil and gently cook the onion and garlic on a low setting.
2) Add the coriander, cumin and chilli flakes, stirring gently for 2 minutes.
3) Stir in the tomato purée, followed by the chopped tomatoes and sugar.
4) Pour in the stock and taste, adding more herbs and spices if necessary.
5) Transfer to a food processor or use a hand-held blender to form a rich, smooth soup. Add more stock if preferred.

6) Add the the beans and season. Leave to cook on a low heat for 30 minutes.

When serving up, sprinkle on some fresh chopped coriander. Simple!