Some people choose chocolate, others may choose cheesy chips. My number one comfort food (especially in autumn) is homemade vegetable soup - just like my nan use to make. The beauty of vegetable soup (much like ratatouille) is that you can pretty much use whatever ingredients you find in the fridge (provided, obviously, that they'd taste good in soup) and you can make it different every time. It t.kes around one hour to make.
- 2-3 carrots
- a few handfuls of potatoes
- 1 leak
- 1 small brown onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 litre of vegetable stock (we use cubes, so cooked 2 cubes in 1 litre of boiling water to make the stock)
- olive oil
- 25g of butter
- 200g of soup mix, consisting of barley, lentils and peas for example. This will need to be soaked for 8-10 hours prior to using.
Start off by chopping the potatoes and carrots into chunks, then steam or boil the chunks until they're slightly soft but still firm - the idea is that you half steam them and half cook them in the soup. Once half steamed, remove from pot and place the chunks to one side. Don't tip the water out as it'll be full of vegetable-flavoured goodness.
Next, make the vegetable stock from cubes, if you're using cubes, using the vegetable-boiling water from step one. Add more water so it looks like 3-4 bowl's worth of liquid.
Chop the garlic, onion and leak into small chunks.
Place a large pot on the heat, and add oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, fry the onion, leak and garlic (and add a big pinch of salt) and fry until the garlic and onion is translucent and the leak is soft and brown. This should take around 10 minutes uncovered.
Add the vegetable stock and let bubble for a few minutes. Then, add the soup mix (drain it first, so you're just adding the soaked ingredients and not the water) and let bubble. After around five minutes, add the carrots and potatoes to the mix and cook for around another 15 minutes.
The longer you leave the soup on the stove, the better it will taste as the flavours will have more time to develop and the soup to thicken. However, don't cook it so long that the liquid evaporates, otherwise you'll be left with just vegetables and no soup!
Season with salt and pepper until it tastes good and then serve.