Tag Archives: Soups

Food Monday ~ Gravy Soup

It was late on Friday before I discovered I missed National Soup Day, otherwise I would have marked the day with Elly’s Tomato Soup.  Thanks to Lily’s Blog I discovered Gorta was asking us to Gather our friends, family and colleagues for a fun get together over a bowl, cup or pot of soup and make a modest contribution to gorta’s work fighting hunger and malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.

Making one of Elly’s soups would have been very appropriate, since In Ireland during The Great Famine soup kitchens fed more than one third of the population. Lily reminds me that:

During the time of the Great Famine, (1845-1850), the population dropped dramatically through death and emigration. The cause of the famine was the failure of the potato crop due to blight. The human cost of potato blight, where many were entirely dependent on the potato for food, was also aggravated by political, social and economic factors at that time.

My ancestors came from either side of the mouth of the River Shannon, on the West Coast of Ireland. My paternal grandfather was born c1850 in County Clare.  Across the river in County Limerick my maternal ancestors can be traced back to 1800 and the old homestead still has three generations of the family living there.  During the famine the homestead became a Soup Kitchen for the duration, being funded from America by Quakers.

This May, gorta and the Irish government will be commemorating the Great Irish Famine. They will be remembering the past, but also looking to the future.  Today, undernourishment affects 1.02 billion people across OUR world.


The recipe today is an old one, but hopefully not from the date of the famine.  It is a little unusual, I would love to know what you think of it.  Can you guess where it came from?  Come back tomorrow for the answer!

Gravy Soup

½lb round steak
2 sticks of celery
2ozs carrot
2ozs onion
1oz white turnip
½oz fat
1 quart of brown stock
2ozs flour
Bouquet garni *
Salt & pepper

Remove skin, fat and bone from the meat.  Wipe and shred or mince it.  Steep in cold stock, to which a little salt has been added, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Prepare vegetables according to kind, and cut into small pieces.  Melt the fat in a saucepan, add all vegetables and fry until lightly browned.  Add stock, meat and bouquet garni.  Bring slowly to simmering point, and simmer 1 ½ hours.  Remove bouquet garni.  Sieve or use a liquidiser.
Rinse the saucepan and pour the sieved soup into it.  Add the flour blended in a little cold stock or water.  Bring to the boil, stirring well all the time; boil for 5 minutes.
Correct for seasoning and colour.

* Bouquet garni consisted of ½ bay leaf , 3 sprigs thyme & 4 large sprigs parsley including stalks, tied with thread or fine string.

Food Monday ~ Parsnip Soup with Potato and Pancetta

Parsnip Soup with Potato and Pancetta

  • 225g parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 225g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 175g onions, chopped
  • 50g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 850 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 225g pancetta, torn into strips
  • sprig of flat parsley

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the parsnips, potatoes and onions, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat the veggies in butter. Tuck a sheet of greaseproof paper neatly on top of the vegetables to keep in the moisture (I do this with all soups). Put on the lid and sweat the vegetables over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and continue cooking until the vegetables are all soft. Liquidise the soup either in batches in a blender or with a hand-held blender, add the cream and season to taste. While the vegetables are cooking, fry or grill the pancetta until nice and crisp.

Decorate each serving of the hot soup with cooked pancetta strips and flat parsley leaves.

Food Monday ~ Parsnip & Roast Chestnut Soup

Parsnip & Roast Chestnut Soup

Preheat the oven to 200°C

  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cooking Oil
  • 2 lbs Parsnips
  • 2-3 pints Vegetable Stock
  • ½ lb Chestnuts
  • Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
  • Grated Root Ginger
  • Swirl of Cream to garnish

Place the Chestnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes.Chop up very finely.Cook onions in a large pan with a little oil.Dice the Parsnips and add to the pan, coat well in the oil.Add the seasoning and grated Root ginger

Put the lid on the pan, reduce heat and cover for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.Add the Stock and leave to simmer for a further 30 minutes, cool a little and blend in a food processor.When blended add half of the roasted chestnuts to the soup and stir.Serve the soup hot with a little swirl of cream and a sprinkling of Roasted Chestnuts

Food Monday ~ Elly’s Tomato Soup

I arrived in Dublin yesterday in time to see Elly make some soup for a late lunch.  A new recipe to me it all looked very interesting.   It was so good I went back for seconds!  So I handed over my blog for the second day in a row and asked Elly to share her recipe with all of us.

Elly’s Tomato Soup

  • 18 Tomatoes
  • 2 Sweet red peppers, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 Sweet Potato, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 Onion (red or white, depending on preference), cut into 8 chunks
  • 1 Bulb Garlic, outer papery layers removed, top cut carefully off so that the roasted cloves can be easily squeezed out.
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Oregano / Rosemary / Herbs to taste
  • 1 litre veggie stock (2 cubes)
  • Parmesan heel

Pre heat oven to 180°C. Using a knife, remove the stem & core from each of the tomatoes, leaving each one like a little bowl. Place the tomatoes, onion and red pepper pieces into a oven-proof dish. Salt liberally, then drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on some herbs.

Put the sweet potato chunks and the garlic bulb into another oven-proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs of choice. Roast both trays in the oven for a least an hour, until all is tender.

Add the roasted veg and all the pan juices into a large saucepan and pour in 1 litre veggie stock. Break up the veg as best you can with a wooden spoon and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. I add in a heel of a finished piece of parmesan at this point, which adds incredible richness and creaminess to the soup. Being my mother’s daughter, I also added a swig of vermouth at this point.

After simmering, remove the parmesan heel and discard, then blend the soup with a hand blender or food processor until smooth. Simmer for another few mins, adding salt/pepper to taste. Serve simply, with some fresh bread.

Food Monday ~ Celeriac and Almond Soup

Celeriac and Almond Soup

  • 2ozs flaked Almonds
  • 1½ pints Chicken or Vegetable stock
  • 1 medium Celeriac (1½ lbs)
  • 5 fl ozs Single Cream
  • 1oz Butter
  • 1 small Onion
  • Salt & Pepper

Toast the Almonds until golden, reserve a few for garnish then grind the rest and set aside. Peel the Celeriac and cut into slices. Melt the Butter in a medium pan, add the Onion and cook until soft, add the Celeriac and Stock then bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the Celeriac is tender. Transfer to blender or food processor and puree, return to the pan, stir in the Cream and chopped Almonds and gently reheat, season if necessary.
Serve the soup with a few flaked almonds on top.

Food Monday ~ Simply Soup

Simply Soups

With the return of the Arctic temperatures I have more soup ideas for you.  Today they are basic simple and quick.

Parsnip: Sauté chopped parsnips and onion in butter, then add chicken stock and simmer until vegetables are soft. Blend until smooth, with milk and seasoning.

Carrot: Substitute carrots for the parsnips in the above recipe.

Pea & Ham: Sauté chopped onion and ham. Add frozen peas and chicken stock and simmer. Blend until smooth and season to taste.

French Onion: Sauté sliced onions. Add beef stock, left over white wine, tomato puree and thyme. Simmer until the onions are tender. Serve with croutons and grated cheese

Food Monday ~ Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip Soup

1½ lb Parsnips chopped
1oz Butter
1 Onion peeled & chopped
1 clove Garlic crushed
2 teaspoons Curry Powder (mild)
3 pints Chicken or Vegetable Stock
7 fl ozs single Cream (optional)

Melt butter and add chopped parsnips, onion and garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes (do not brown). Stir in curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Blend in stock and season to taste. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes until parsnips are tender. Liquidize and add cream if desired.


Since the trappings of Christmas are appearing in the shops it is time to think of the Christmas Cooking. Earlier in the year I promised to post my mother’s recipe for a ‘no suet’ Christmas pudding. She always made it at this time of year to give it time to prove and let the flavour develop. So unlike the TV programmes I will not wait until Christmas week to pass on one of these delights. Next Monday will be pudding day.

Food Monday ~ Parsnip, Chicken & Orange Soup

The days are shortening and soon the trees will don their autumn glory. Warming soups are always welcome at this time of year so again this week we have another one. I hope you like it.

Parsnip, Chicken & Orange Soup
Serves 6

2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons Olive oil
10 cloves garlic, halved
8 Parsnips chopped and roasted
3 pints Chicken stock
1 tsp salt
2 oranges squeezed
Black pepper, freshly ground

Heat the oil in a heavy pan, add the onions cover and cook for about 10 minutes until softened but do not allow to burn. Add the garlic cloves, cook for a further 3-5 minutes stirring them occasionally then add pre-roasted parsnips and the chicken stock, season with the salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, then liquidize. Return to pan and adjust seasoning, add the juice of the freshly squeezed oranges and reheat.

Food Monday ~ Elly’s Peanut Soup

Autumn is upon us once more and with the change of temperature my hunger pangs increase calling for more filling foods. Soups appear on my lunchtime menu with more regularity. Today’s offering is a little unusual. It comes from Elly’s days at University. When the recipe was given to me I had a wry little smile, my young lady was turning into my mother! 😉 Mammy, as you all know by now NEVER measured anything when cooking. It was a handful of this or a pinch of that, somehow it worked for her every time.

I love the last line 😀

Elly’s Peanut Soup

Make a basic soup from carrots, onion, potato and 1 parsnip (no more that one as the flavour is too strong). Use stock made from a chicken or stock cubes for ease. Blend down and return to pan. Add half a jar of smooth peanut butter for a small batch for 4-5 bowls or a bigger jar for more – remember to melt peanut butter briefly on low in the microwave so it will mix in easily. Add cream if desired to taste. Don’t salt and pepper it too much when making it. Add chicken pieces if desired. Serve with crusty bread.

Real easy – just make it up as you go along