We heart soup

If it's true that you can judge a great cook by their soup, these three easy recipes will turn anyone into a kitchen maestro.

THAI-STYLE PUMPKIN AND COCONUT CREAM SOUP

CAPTION

Chilli, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass put an Asian spin on pumpkin soup.

SERVES 6

2 tbsp olive oil

4 brown shallots, finely sliced

60g fresh ginger, grated

1 tbsp chopped lemongrass (white part only)

good pinch chilli powder

6 cups peeled and diced butternut pumpkin

2 cups vegetable stock or water

1 can coconut cream

1½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp white pepper

splash fish sauce (I use Squid Brand)

juice of 1 lime

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

coriander leaves (optional)

roasted, chopped macadamia nuts

Place olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, ginger, lemongrass and chilli powder and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add pumpkin and stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently until pumpkin is very tender.

In a blender, purée soup in small batches until very smooth. Rinse saucepan and place purée in it. Add coconut cream, season with salt, pepper and fish sauce, and heat through without allowing soup to boil. Taste and adjust seasoning, then add lime juice and finely shredded kaffir lime leaves (keep some aside for garnish).

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with lime leaves, coriander (if using) and macadamias.

CURRIED PARSNIP SOUP

CAPTION

Good quality curry powder gives this soup its kick.

SERVES 4

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra

2 tbsp butter

8 brown shallots, finely sliced

4 large parsnips, roughly chopped

2 tbsp curry powder

4½ cups milk

1¼ cups cream

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp coriander leaves

Heat 3 tbsp oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft but not coloured, then add parsnip and curry powder and cook for 5 minutes. Add milk and cream, bring soup almost to the boil and cook gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes (try not to let it boil). Allow soup to cool slightly, then roughly purée it using a hand-held blender (or transfer to a food processor or blender). Reheat soup gently, season to taste and serve in bowls garnished with coriander and a drizzle of olive oil.

QUICK HAM AND VEGETABLE SOUP

CAPTION

I have a saying: "What you put into a soup or stock is what you get out of it," so use the freshest and best ingredients you can. Enjoy!

SERVES 4

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

6 cloves garlic,

finely chopped

1½ cups Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice

1½ cups celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm dice

1½ cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into

1cm dice

3 cups double-smoked ham, cut into 1cm dice

10 cups good-quality chicken or vegetable stock

1½ cups frozen or fresh peas

8 asparagus spears, trimmed and chopped

8 small yellow squash, each cut into 8 wedges

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp tarragon leaves rustic baguette and good-quality butter, to serve

Place oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook onion and garlic for 6-7 minutes or until both are very tender but not coloured. Add artichoke, celeriac, pumpkin and ham and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to the boil, then turn heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are almost soft. Add peas, asparagus and squash and cook until tender. Season to taste and garnish with tarragon. Serve with rustic baguette and butter.

Photography: Vanessa Levis. Styling: Bhavani Konings. Bowls (curried parsnip soup) from Golden Brown Fox, goldenbrownfox.com. All other props, stylist’s own. Shot at Luke Mangan’s Glass Brasserie, Sydney.

From: Sunday Life

The story We heart soup first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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