When my husband is away my fridge and pantry stock becomes low and limited to ‘single girl’ foods….. veggies, cheese and bacon are my staples! Oh, yes, and of course there are a couple of bottles of good vino!

It’s cold and rainy and I feel like a hearty soup so my ‘mystery recipe’ mode kicked in. In fact I never thought that this would be so delicious, hence no before or during photos.

This soup is merely a medley of green vegetables, vegetable stock and Miso paste. It is ‘enriched’ with yoghurt, but this can easily be omitted. Vegans can use a yoghurt substitute. The flavours are so divinely delicious that no salt or pepper was needed. Later I added some sliced Shitake mushrooms, delicious.

The Miso paste takes this from what would be a fairly boring vegetable soup to another level.

One of my pantry staples is Miso paste. I use it for Miso soup, but also in sauces or basting (delicious on salmon, aubergine/brinjal or with mushrooms). The regular retailers don’t stock it, despite it being so popular, so always look out for in specialist Asian stores. It has a shelf-life ‘forever’ and once you have tried it you will be hooked. It gives food a delicious, savoury ‘umami’ flavour.

Its origins are Japanese. It is made from fermented soya beans. It is a long traditional process. Grains such as barley, rice and buckwheat may be added during the fermentation process.

If you have eaten in Asian restaurants, particularly if they lean towards Japanese cuisine, Miso soup is offered as a starter or sometimes at the end of the meal, as it is said to be excellent for promoting good digestion. It is usually a simple thin soup, often with cubes of tofu and sliced spring onions.

Miso has recently become very fashionable as a seasoning in high end or innovative restaurants.

Miso is packed with vegetable based protein and anti-oxidants. It is also said to contain a huge list of minerals and vitamins. It contains virtually no carbohydrates and is fat free.

The flavours vary, depending on the origin and the fermentation period.

You will find red/brown miso or white Miso. Their flavours are similar, with the white one being more delicate.

By mixing Miso paste with boiling water you get the most delicious and nutritional instant soup. You can extend it by adding Asian noodles, vegetables and slivers of meat – beef, roast pork, chicken or seafood.

If you don’t have Miso paste, look for it when you are next in an Asian supermarket!

Recipe: Green Vegetable Miso Soup