Home made soup is really easy, anyone can make highly interesting and tasty home made soups with little effort. Most soups start off being made the same:
Basic soup starts with 1 or 2 large onions roughly chopped.
2 tbs oil
2 - 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped or just squash the clove and leave whole (please note, I am a garlic lover - adjust amounts to your taste!)
Vegetable or chicken stock (can be made with a stock cube, or simply be the reserved water that you've previously cooked vegetables in), start with a pint - you can always add more, but you can't take it out!
Extras - herbs and spices as appropriate, Bacon bits, scraps of meat off a chicken carcass, or meat off the bone of a roast.
Put the onions in a large pan with the oil and put the lid on. Simmer over a very low heat until the onions are sweated out and soft - this will bring out the sweetness in the onions.
Add the garlic and fry for a minute - be careful garlic burns really easily.
Now add any spices such as chilli, chilli powder, coriander, ground ginger etc and let them "run" and go like a sort of paste in the oil for a minute or two. This will "bring out" and deepen the flavour, rather than putting the powder in later. Be careful to do this over a low heat. Add whatever veggies you are going to use and allow to caramelise a bit - keep stirring so as not to burn them (don't bother doing this with tomatoes, broccoli or cauli). Add the stock and cook the veggies until soft then liquidise. If the soup is too thick it can be let down at this point with more stock, but you really can't take stock out if the soup is too thin! If you want the soup to be extra velvety and creamy you can now push it through a sieve. A bowl shaped sieve and a soup ladle works best, but otherwise use the back of a large spoon.
If you don't want a creamy type soup then liquidise half the soup and leave the other half in lumps, or you can have a broth type soup that you don't liquidise at all.
Ideas for flavouring:
Carrot and Orange: use peeled carrots and the zest of one or two oranges depending on amount of soup you are making, decorate with a swirl of cream and some shreds of peel chopped in with some parsley.
Butternut squash: Peel and cube the squash, roast it in the oven for 35 - 40 mins until the cubes are blackened a bit round the edges, then add to the pan with some de-seeded chopped chillies, or a few chilli flakes & the stock. To serve top with a spoon of basil pesto, or a spoon of red pepper pesto. Or leave out the chilli and about 20 mins after popping it in the oven to roast, cut a whole bulb of garlic in half across the cloves, brush with a little oil and roast with the squash. When it's done the roasted garlic will squeeze out and give a wonderful roasted garlic flavour to the soup. You can also add a tsp of cinnamon to this version.
Cauliflower and Stilton: I've always been very heavy handed with the Stilton cos I love it! So I'd put it in when the soup was liquidised & stir until melted, then when serving add a little crumbled stilton just to decorate.
Queen of Soups: aka parsnip with curry powder to taste. Add the curry powder to the onions when sweating them off. Serve with chopped fresh coriander.
Broccoli and Cheddar: Just what it says! Serve with a dollop of cream.
Tomato soup: Tinned tomatoes will make adequate soup. To make it taste like Heinz, you need to add "gastric" which is a mix of vinegar and sugar - but obvs it's not as low carb (though you don't need tons of sugar by any means). Make up about 3 tbs vinegar + about 3 tsps sugar and mix. Add to the soup a little at a time & stir until it tastes right. Or make Tomato and Basil soup using chopped fresh basil, serve with a dollop of cream and a sprig of fresh Basil. Red Lentil and tomatoes go together well, add the lentils and fry with the onions for a minute or two before adding the tomatoes - you'll need a bit more liquid with these than other versions.
Mushroom soup: - Use half milk and half stock, then add a dash of dry sherry just before serving.
You can garnish almost any soup with some crispy fried bacon bits, or croutons (though you might not want to do croutons if you are being strict with carbs), or any fresh herbs and a dollop of cream.
Be careful of making a soup out of red and green veggies, it has a tendency to become a very unappetising brown colour.
One of my favorite soups I make when I have boiled a gammon in cider. I strain the cider then pop the onion that I boiled with the cider back in and add frozen peas & a couple of sprigs of mint. Serve topped with a sprig of mint. It's delicious either hot or cold.
Don't mean to be patronising, I know many of you like making soup, but I wrote this for people who think it's a bit difficult or time consuming.