I’ve been on a mission recently to try and eat as many seasonal fruit and vegetables as possible. Partly because it’s better for the environment, and partly because I’ve found an amazing farm shop close by and I want to take full advantage of their produce. So, each month I’m scrolling through the Veg Society website to find out what’s in season, and with it being January in the UK, I wasn’t expecting much.
However, to my delight, the UK actually has some delicious seasonal crops in January. Two of my particular favourites being leek and potato, and you know what that means…it’s soup time.
Leek and potato soup is a close contender with tomato as my favourite. It’s so heart-warming I’d say it’s the closest thing you can get to a hug in a mug (or bowl). Top it off with a few slices of homemade sourdough, watching the rainfall outside and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a perfect winter’s afternoon indoors.
If you aren’t quite as excited by the prospect of leek and potato soup as I am then you’re doing something wrong. So, I’m going to let you in on a few of my secrets to perfect your recipe…
Be picky with your ingredients
You know like you don’t need to season a good quality piece of meat much to make it taste good? Well the same applies with vegetables. If you want a really good soup you need really good ingredients to start with.
What does this mean? Choose vegetables from your local farm shop or even straight from your garden. Sourcing your ingredients as locally as possible means that they will be fresh. On top of this, if buying from a local farm shop, you can ask when the vegetables were picked, if they use chemicals etc. You can get real down and dirty about the source of your veggies.
Find this Creamy Celery, Leek and Potato soup recipe here!
Are your herbs in date?
It doesn’t stop there, the rest of your ingredients should also be top quality if you want the best soup results. Make sure your dried herbs are in date. Most people don’t realise that dried herbs and spices even have an expiry date. Although they don’t ‘go off’ like fresh food they do lose their flavour.
As a general rule of thumb, dried herbs are best consumed within two years. Anything after this and they begin to lose their flavour and it won’t be as pungent as it once was. I hope now you’ve read this you’re rummaging through your cupboards and doing a cleanout.
Take your time
Don’t worry there’s no rush, take it slow. Let the ingredients infuse and do their thing. If you rush the process then you won’t allow the flavours to bond and you really will be missing out on how amazing the soup could be.
Now that doesn’t mean let the vegetables burn to a crisp. Keep the heat low and really let the flavours of the vegetables come into their own. The beauty of eating (or drinking) homemade soup is just as much about the process as it is the final product. So enjoy it, put your music on and let your soul fall into the soup.
I want to say one thing to finish. These tricks don’t just apply to making soup, they pretty much apply to cooking any dish. Fresh ingredients, good herbs and taking your time. Keep these three things in mind whenever you’re cooking and you’ve got a recipe for success.