5 soups that soothe the soul

Enjoy a bowl of these delicious, heart-warming soups to beat the chill.

1. Zuppa di Funghi
Serving size: 4

2 tbsp butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped stalk of celery
1 finely chopped stalk of leek
5 chopped garlic flakes
1 bay leaf
very few thyme leaves
150 g sliced assorted mushrooms
600 ml mushroom stock
100 ml cream
200 ml milk
4 sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp chopped parsley
4 chopped sage leaves

In a pan melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, leek, garlic, bay leaf and thyme leaves and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the mushrooms and continue to sauté. Add the mushroom stock, cream and milk. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables have become soft. Remove from the gas, and blend the mixture into a puree. Blend till it is very smooth. Add salt and pepper. When serving, garnish with parsley and sage.

Photograph: Lavanya Kumara Krishnan/Flickr (Under Creative Commons License)

2. Tofu Egg Drop Soup with Tomatoes
Serving size: 4

2 cups water
1 cup vegetable/chicken stock
130 g fresh tofu (also called bean curd)
100 g finely diced tomatoes
pinch of salt
½ tsp white pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 whisked eggs
5 ml sesame oil
a handful of chopped coriander leaves
a handful of chopped spring onions

In a pot bring the water and stock to a boil over medium heat. Slowly add in the tofu, after a few minutes, add the tomatoes. Add the salt and pepper. Cook until tender. In small bowl, mix the cornstarch in 50 ml water. Once the soup starts to boil, add the cornstarch to thicken the soup. Add the eggs to the soup and gently stir so that the egg turns into ribbons. Add sesame oil, coriander leaves and spring onions before serving.

Photograph: René/Flickr (Under Creative Commons License)

3. Roasted Carrot and Tomato Soup
Serving size: 4

10 tomatoes chopped into half
2 cups chopped red carrots
5 garlic flakes
4 tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped leek
6 cups water (or stock)
salt and pepper to taste
a few basic leaves

Heat your oven to 180o C. Toss the tomatoes, carrots and garlic in the half the olive oil and place on a baking tray.  Bake for about 25 minutes. Simultaneously, in a pan sauté the celery and leek in the remaining olive oil till they are soft. Remove the tray from the oven and add the tomatoes, carrots and garlic to the pan. Add the water or stock and cook for 15 minutes. Then put everything in a blender and puree till smooth. (If there’s a lot of water remaining, strain some of the water out before pureeing the contents of the pan.) Put the puree back in to the pan and boil. Add salt and pepper and the basil leaves.

4. Veg Tom Yam Soup
Serving size: 4

½ cup vegetable stock
1 stalk lemon grass
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 red chillies cut into rings
200 g chopped mushrooms
200 g chopped zucchini
2 chopped garlic flakes
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 lemon, juiced
a few chopped basil leaves
salt to taste
a few chopped Thai coriander leaves

In a pan put the vegetable stock, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves to boil. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the chillies, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic and soya sauce to the pan. (Remove the seeds from the red chillies if you do want a fiery-hot soup.) Mix and cook for 10 minutes. Add in the lemon juice, chopped basil and salt. Stir for 1 minute. Serve hot garnished with the Thai coriander leaves.

Photograph: Happysnappa1966//Flickr (Under Creative Commons License)

5. Corn and Feta Soup
Serving size: 4

6 corn
3¼ cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 chopped red chilli
4 tsp olive oil
200 g grated feta cheese
a few basil leaves

Get the corn off the cob and boil in the vegetable stock. Cook for about 20 minutes, wait for the stock to boil. Strain out the stock and keep it aside. Let the stock and corn cool down a bit. Blend the corn in a food processor and slowly add the stock to the mixture. Keep adding the stock till it reaches the consistency of soup. Put the soup back in a pan and reheat it. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and feta cheese. Stir and serve garnished with basil leaves.