For approximately 2 liters you need
1kg chopped vegetables: cabbage, carrot, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower (I buy a 500g stir fry mix and a 500g cabbage and carrot coleslaw pack)
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
A handful of fresh soup celery leaves and stems from the garden or 3 celery stalks, finely cut
A handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
250 ml brown or orange lentils, or a mix of the two
1 can chopped tomatoes, you can add an extra can if you want more tomato
50g tomato paste
5ml ground black pepper
1500-2000ml water (depends on the capacity of your pot and how bulky the veggies are)
30ml Worcester Sauce
Place all the ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30minutes. Leave to keep warm for a further 30-60 minutes, allowing the lentils to fully soften.
Taste the soup and season with more salt and pepper if required.
If you prefer a smoother textured soup you can blend it, but I like keeping the basic soup chunky and rather blending it when I do the variations.
My favourite variations using 500ml basic veggie soup (for 2 hearty servings)
Chicken Curry Soup
10ml curry paste (I always have 1 jar of good quality curry paste, e.g. Pataks Tikka, Vinaloo or Korma at hand)
2 skinless chicken breasts (one of my freezer staples!), cut into even bite sized cubes
50 ml yoghurt, plus extra for serving
Optional: fresh coriander leaves
Place the curry paste in a bowl, add the chicken and about 50ml vegetable soup. Microwave on 100% power for 1 minute to ‘cook’ the spices. Add the remaining soup and 50ml yoghurt and stir well. Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every 60 seconds.
Serve with fresh coriander and a dollop of yoghurt.
Mexican Bean Soup with Chorizo
100g chorizo, thinly slices
10ml good quality paprika (apologies to the Spanish and Mexicans, I used Hungarian as it was the best quality I had in my pantry!)
2-5 ml chilli flakes, depending on the level of heat you enjoy
1 can black beans, drained
Place the sliced chorizo in a bowl, add the paprika and chilli flakes and microwave on 100% power for 30 seconds
Add the soup and the beans, stir well and heat.
A mixture of fresh or defrosted seafood: shelled prawns, calamari rings or strips, mussels or cubed firm fish
3ml fennel seeds lightly crushed
5ml finely cut fresh fennel or dill
10ml tomato paste
2ml orange zest
30ml fresh orange juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
This time I place the basic soup on a blender for a few seconds, pour it into a saucepan and add the fennel seeds, fresh fennel, tomato paste, orange juice and zest. Heat the soup to boiling point.
Stir in the seafood and allow it to simmer for a few minutes until the seafood has heated through, but not overcooked.
Moroccan Chicken Soup
300ml cubed roast chicken meat
10ml tomato paste
2ml chilli flakes
1ml ground black pepper
1 can chickpeas drained
Add all the ingredients to the basic soup, heat to boiling point.