When soup becomes the only thing that will make a difference.
This is another non-preserving blog - but there's a recipe, so that counts, right?
There are a bunch of things I love about soup.
First - it's hot. Second - it's cheap. and Third - it's EASY!
This is the soup I made the other night, which fed all 5 of us, plus one lot which I popped in the fridge for lunch at work the next day, plus another couple of meals in the freezer for later on.
Firstly it did require a little bit of prep work. I soaked some beans.
I bought a kilo of "Italian Soup Mix" at one of the big stupidmarkets the other day. For this much soup I used about one and a half cups of the mix. It has red kidney beans, white beans (canneloni, I think, too big for navy beans), black-eyed peas, split green peas and yellow lentils.
One and a half cups of the dry bean mix, into a large jug of cold water, the night before the soup was to be made. I soak the dry beans to leech out their toxins (they have a few - that's why they give you some wind!) and to make sure they are all ready for cooking.
So that's the hard part of this. The rest is really really simple.
Throw some stock into a big pot. (I used frozen home-made chicken stock)
Throw in the drained and rinsed beans/lentils/soup mix.
While it's coming to a simmer, slice and dice a whole bunch of vegies. You can get a vegie soup pack for a couple of dollars at this time of the year - it usually has a turnip, parsnip, couple of carrots and spuds and an onion in it. I leave the onion out, because I have kids who refuse to eat it (and my home-made stock has loads of onion in that during the stock making process so the flavour is still there).
I used one of those packs plus a half an enormous sweet potato, about 6 extra regular potatoes, an extra 4 carrots and some broccoli and cauliflower, cut into little florets.
I also use the stems of the broccoli and cauliflower, diced up small and thrown in with everything else.
I find the soup cooks best if you chop the hardest veg and throw them in, then chop the others in order of how long they take to cook. That way your vegies that take the least amount of time (the brocolli and cauliflower florets) go in last, and don't get too mushy.
At the end, just before serving, I threw in two sachets of tomato paste.
Serve in big bowls with some grated cheese on top.