The Great Winter Soup Challenge #1

A week or so ago we decided we could do with a light supper soup once a week throughout winter. Now, I inhale good soup but I’m easily bored. I like new stuff. And I particularly like hard stuff. I can make stock and consommé and chop and whizz with the best of them.

But I’m attracted to new flavours and combinations. I’m especially attracted (when it comes to soup) to all the fancy stuff that goes with it that turns a simple bowl of soup into an event. I’m talking croutons, dumplings (oh, the variety), spiced oils, chopped herbs, wafer-y things, crispy things and all kinds of stuff that will have me crossing town to buy some exotic ingredient to put on top.

So my challenge for winter is to make a different soup every week for the next 13 weeks.

soupYesterday morning was week one and it wasn’t a good start. I was feeling a little…overindulged, maybe a touch seedy. I certainly didn’t have the inclination to begin with making stock. I needed something to remind me that I’d been out on the razzle-dazzle the night before and I’d better get back to basics. What better vegetable than the humble cauliflower with its creamy white, vaguely prehistoric look to remind me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? When teamed with leek, onion and milk, it could almost be nursery food, suitable for soothing and nourishing tired children and, more importantly, hungover (let’s not put too fine a point on it) adults.

But it’s deceptive because along comes cream and butter, hand in hand and ready to corrupt. From there it’s a short slide down the slippery calorie slope to frying croutons for the top.

It was unctuous, creamy and deeply satisfying. I’m giving it a 7/10.

So what about you? I’d love to hear about your favourite soup.



10 comments on “The Great Winter Soup Challenge #1

  1. Great article! I love soup too…and there’s a few Chinese ones I adore, but I won’t frighten you by mentioning abalone and ‘black chickens’…
    One of my old favourites is from a recipe I found a while back and could almost be a vegetarian version of pea and ham soup…Its a red lentil soup, made with smoked paprika and served with a drizzle of minted oil….or, if you like it spicy, can also be served with a generous dollop of harissa….
    Can’t wait to see what else you cook up!

    • Oh, bring on the black chickens!! Your red lentil soup sounds delicious – I need to do something like this! Thanks for commenting, Erin 🙂

  2. Yum, yum, yum! Nothing better than a cauliflower soup with crunchy bacon pieces, or croutons seen in your awesome picture. I love soup of most any kind, so good on a winter day. Am a big fan of good, old plain chicken soup. In Lebanon, they put lemon in it! Sounds a bit strange but its soooo good for you.
    Loved your post Lou…can’t wait for the next one! xox Dana

  3. Hi Dana. How could I have forgotten bacon pieces? Perfect for cauliflower soup. And I’m with you on the lemon in Chicken soup. Doesn’t that have to be the ultimate in comfort food? Thanks for the suggestion xo

  4. Ooh, I’m looking forward to this series, Louise. Love a good soup! Cauliflower and leek soup is lovely, but my other half isn’t a fan of the white veg, sadly, so I don’t make it often.

    We had a Cambodian style soup last night, made with beef stock and with lovely hot and sour flavours. I love those.

    Do you buy SBS Feast magazine? In this month’s edition there’s a copy of a McKenzies cookbook. Some lovely recipes in it for pulses. Perfect winter fare. I have about 10 recipes marked. Which reminds me, now that it’s so cold it’s time to give your lamb shank and bean soup recipe a whirl. Never seemed to find the right day for it last year, which was rather weird seeing as we were in Melbourne, but it feels so much colder here near the mountains.

    • Mmmmm, love those hot and sour flavours. And curried soups. So many soups and only 13 weeks 😦 Thanks for the tip about Feast. I’ll go and grab a copy! Let me know what you think about the lamb shank and bean soup 🙂

  5. I’m starting to get hungry reading all the comments 🙂

    **Erin – your lentil soup sounds delish!

    I make lots of veggie soups in winter but our fav is minestrone. It’s tomato-ie with lots of veggies and pulses, perfect for cold Melbourne winter 🙂

    • Hi Joanne. So true, can’t beat good minestrone. One of the best I’ve had is the Summer Minestrone from the the River Cafe cookbook. Sensational. Thanks for dropping in!

  6. I love soup, but sadly the rest of my family don’t think it is real food. I particularly love pumpkin soup so if anyone has a good recipe that doesn’t depend too much on cream, I’d love to hear it. Where you planning on posting a pumpkin one, Louise?

    • Jen, I have to laugh. I loathe pumpkin soup, probably because it is so often soup of the day in cafes and most times it’s just orange glug. I wasn’t planning to include it but maybe I should make it my mission to discover one truly great pumpkin soup recipe – or at least one that I think is good!

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