The title should really be ‘whatever I could find in the garden, freezer, fridge or pantry’ soup. It equally applies to most of my other cooking these days. Have a bountiful supply of fruit and vegetables has meant that I no longer find a recipe, decide that I want to make it and go off and get the requisite supplies. Now I see what supplies I have and decide what I want to make from there. Often I don’t follow any recipe because you can’t really go wrong combining good fresh healthy produce.
I love having people round for a meal and making things all from my garden. No, I don’t have sheep and chickens in my backyard – I am just meaning the fruit and vegetables. In summer this might be a nice fresh salad and fruit for dessert with homemade yoghurt. Or a stirfry, or barbequed, grilled or roasted veges. In winter I like to make soup for lunches served with freshly made bread, and for dinners a casserole and perhaps a fruit crumble for dessert. On cold wintery days I will light the fire and have the soup or casserole (or both) simmering away all day over the fire.
It is always nice when my guests say ‘this is delicious, can I have the recipe’ but a bit disconcerting for them when my response is that it ‘was whatever I could find in the garden chucked in together’. I think I will have to make a bit more effort on the naming front because even ‘farmhouse soup’ or ‘mixed garden salad’ sounds a bit more validated.
Sometimes I will make a particular type of vegetable soup like Moroccan Spiced Tomato Soup or Thai-style Potato Soup, but more often than not I will make a hearty vegetable soup which includes staples like potato, carrots, and celery but adding beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, kale or spinach as the mood takes me. I’ll often add home-made tomato puree and some frozen pesto, or just used purchased stock. Throw in some chickpeas, lentils or beans and you’ve got a well-balanced meal in a pot. Angel-hair pasta broken into pieces is another favourite to bulk up the soup. I sometimes add leftover chicken, bacon pieces or stir through some crumbled feta.
You can leave the soup as it is with chunky pieces or partially blend it with a stick processor. Be wary if you have lots of broccoli, spinach or kale because when you blend it it becomes a dirty green goop – it still tastes great but does tend to make people in the lunchroom at work ask ‘WHAT is THAT you’ve got for lunch?’ I’ve also added left over rice or quinoa to the soup but it soaks up all the liquid so you have a tasty nutritious fairly solid dirty green goop that REALLY doesn’t look appetising!!