Posts Tagged ‘vegetable soup’

The newly-elected Speaker of the House of Commons–Sir Lindsay Hoyle–has revealed that he’s recently been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Photo by Jessica Taylor

He had been losing weight at what his wife thought was an alarming rate. She persuaded him to see his doctor–who sent him to A&E.

I’m going to cope with it. I’m going to manage it. I’m going to get through this. The fact is I feel really well. We know what it is – that’s the good news – and of course, I have got to get over it and get on with my job.

The House of Commons elected me to be the Speaker and there’s nothing that’s going to stop me from doing that.”

Theresa May made a similar announcement some years ago– a courageous step for a person with such a prominent profile.

I’d read somewhere that she enjoyed cooking, so I sent her my book Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics and received a gracious reply in a 10 Downing Street envelope:

I plan to do the same for The Speaker. 

In the meantime, Sir Lindsay, here is a warming winter vegetable soup that features in my new (fourth!) cookbook, to be published in the UK on June 4th, 2020– and available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Vegetable soup

Simply that—a soup with vegetables

1 medium onion—in small dice

1 leek—finely sliced

3 garlic cloves—pulped

1 carrot—in small dice

1 stick celery

2 tbs olive oil

1 fennel bulb– bite size dice

2 carrots– chopped to bite-size

2 sticks celery–bite-size dice

1 medium turnip–bite-size dice

8oz butternut squash–bite-size dice

1 tin/can tomatoes broken up with its juice


a bouquet of bay leaf, sprigs parsley and thyme

2 pints stock (I use organic vegetable stock cubes.)

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the smaller diced vegetables.
  • Turn over in the oil and cook gently until tender.
  • This is the taste “engine” of the soup that will slowly deepen its flavours.
  • Add the larger dice vegetables and turn them in.
  • Add the tomatoes and turn them in.
  • Lay in the herb bouquet and add the stock and lightly season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring up to the boil and cover.
  • Turn the heat to low and simmer for a half-hour or until the larger diced veg are tender.
  • Remove the bouquet of herbs and add a swirl of your best olive oil.


I’m making this soup today!

Read Full Post »

Fresh and a bit wild looking this soup–adapted from a recipe in The New York Times–for the first day of March.


You build most winter vegetable soups from the inside out—i.e. making a “soffrito” of finely chopped vegetables such as onion, celery and carrot, cooked slowly in olive oil, before adding stock—the taste “engine room” for a big winter-warming blanket.

But it’s March 1st today, so I’m lightening up a little–starting with plain water, not stock, adding the ingredients in stages, building the taste and depth gradually.

The lemon zest topping—sprinkled just before serving— is a touch of Spring.

First stage:


Bring the water to the boil and add the first eight ingredients.

  • 2 pints water
  • 3 tsp salt–more to taste
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion–(for the taste)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprig of rosemary
  • 1 lb tinned (canned) chickpeas
  • a small piece of parmesan rind (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves–pulped

Bring back to a simmer and cook, covered, on a low heat for 30 minutes.



Second stage:


  • 3 carrots–peeled and sliced
  • 3 sticks celery–chopped
  • 1lb/450gm–tomatoes–chopped
  • 1/2 small cabbage–sliced and roughly chopped

Add the sliced vegetables and bring back to a simmer.





Cook, covered, for a further 30 minutes.

Third stage:

During this second half hour of simmering, prepare the parmesan mix for sprinkling.

  • 3 tbs grated parmesan
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp milled black pepperIMG_9808

 Mix the three topping ingredients and sprinkle over the soup before serving.





Read Full Post »


A couple of days ago I announced that I was thinking of making fennel soup for supper (we need a photograph of it for the new book).

“You should use all those veggies in the crisper,” said Meredith, in practical mood.

After years of taking a moment to understand what “crisper” meant, I now know it’s the bottom drawer of the fridge where salad and (forgotten) vegetables are stored.


It still sounds odd to me–crisp and vegetable?

“Any road”–as Aunt Mary used to say–I found a treasure trove of useable vegetables.



I chopped into small dice:

2 carrots

2 small celery sticks

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

and sweated these over a low heat for a good half hour or longer in

3 tbsp olive oil

I then added:

2 fennel bulbs–outer casings removed and chopped into larger dice

more celery–similarly chopped

more carrots–similarly chopped

a handful of mini onions–peeled and halved

some cauliflower florets

Then I spooned in 3 tbsp cooked white beans, from a jar preferably (I prefer them to tinned/canned),

tucked in a small bouquet of parsley and bay and a piece of parmesan rind (I happened to have one to hand!)

I poured in 1 1/2 pints of stock–in this case made from organic vegetable cubes,

and seasoned well with freshly ground black pepper and a teaspoon of salt.

Brought this up to the boil, turned down the heat to low and simmered it for an hour.

Then I added a handful of green beans–escapees that were loitering in the crisper–snapped in half–and 2 medium courgettes–the last from the garden, sliced.

Cooked all this on until these last were tender.

Served it with a swirl of best olive oil and grated parmesan.

(The crisper promoter showed her approval by having thirds.)




Read Full Post »