Time for soup

Soups are probably the widest open category of foods there is, they can be made with many different ingredients, and they can be thick, thin, chunky, smooth, hot or cold.

Soups are probably the widest open category of foods there is, they can be made with many different ingredients, and they can be thick, thin, chunky, smooth, hot or cold.

‘What’s Cooking’ with The Bridge House Hotel’s Award Winning chef Paddy Kennedy

Soups must contain the correct balance of flavours with ingredients complimenting each other, for example ‘tomato and basil’. Always be careful with seasoning or adding stock cubes to soup, it must be done at the end so that you can taste the soup and adjust the flavouring accordingly.

The word soup is derived from the old French words Soupe and Sope,These words were used in England in the form of ‘Sop’ at the end of the middle ages and has remained in the English language in its original form which is defined as a piece of solid food such as bread for dipping in liquid food.

The bread or toast was an important part of the dish; it meant the diner could consume the liquid by sopping it up without the use if a spoon. Soups were a nutritious dish and an important part of the diet. It was the inclusion of a soup in the evening meal that the name souper or supper evolved.

Soups are best made using fresh stocks which can be made by blanching some chicken bones and simmering them for a couple of hours with some vegetables .It is very important to ‘sweat’ the vegetables when making a soup to extract the maximum flavour from them .To Sweat is a culinary term which is defined as follows “To cook in a fat with a lid on without colouring”

At this time of the year in the cold wet weather soup is the perfect serving for all the family they are warming and nutritious.

Homemade vegetable soup

Ingredients for ten portions

500 g Mixed vegetables washed and roughly chopped. (Celery, leek, carrot, white turnip and onion)

150 g Peeled potatoes

50 g Butter or margarine

20 g Basil

1 litre Chicken stock or same quantity of water and use a chicken stock cube

100 ml Cream

Salt and milled pepper


§ Melt the butter or margarine in a pot and add the washed vegetables

§ Add the basil and cover with a lid and turn down the heat very low.

§ Sweat the vegetables until they are soft without colouring (if the base of the pot starts to brown add a little water)

§ Add the potatoes and stock or water and bring to the boil.

§ Simmer until the potatoes are cooked and blend with a stick blender.

§ Add the cream and the dissolved stock cube if using.

§ Blend again and taste corrects the seasoning by adding a little salt and pepper.

§ Serve with croutons and chopped basil as garnish.

PK Tips

Celery has a very strong flavour so use a little less of this than other vegetables

Tomato and basil soup with cheese croutons

Ingredients for ten portions

100ml Olive oil

50g Flour

50g Rind less streaky bacon chopped

250g Onion Diced

4 Cloves Garlic chopped

100g Carrot peeled and chopped

200g Tomato puree

100g Potatoes peeled and chopped

200g Ripe tomatoes (alternatively use a tin of plum tomatoes)

1.5litre Chicken stock (Or same quantity of water and a stock cube)

100ml Fresh cream

30g Fresh basil

Salt and milled pepper

For the croutons slice a stale ciabatta or baguette and drizzle with olive oil. Grate some cheese and mix with finely chopped basil and sea salt, sprinkle this over the bread slices and place them in the oven for about fifteen minutes until cheese is melted.


§ Separate the stalks and leaves of the basil, chop the stalks and shred the leaves

§ Place the olive oil, potato, carrot, garlic, bacon and onion in a heavy based pot and heat gently and cover with a lid.

§ Sweat the mixture until soft.

§ Add the tomato puree and flour and cook gently for a further couple of minutes

§ Add the stock, basil stalks and tomatoes bring to the boil and simmer for fifteen minutes.

§ Liquidise with a stick blender and stir in cream (Reserve a little of the cream to garnish).

§ Taste and Correct the seasoning.

Serve in bowls with shredded basil, croutons and a little drizzle of cream

PK tips

Pick up over ripe tomatoes and stale baguettes in the supermarkets for a fraction of the list price