The weather has turned and there is a definite chill in the air. Autumn has arrived. OK, more accurately for an hour or so in the morning and sometimes overnight it’s a wee it nippy, but, you take what you can get in the subtropical climate of Brisbane. The point is I get to wear my slippers (or rest my feet atop of them so my feet don’t get too sweaty) and pretend it is very cold.
The colder weather means comfort food is on the menu. And to me that is soups. I love soup. So comforting and nourishing, truly food for the soul. But what I love most is soups are super easy to prepare and they keep well in the fridge (generally at least two or three days) and they are freezer friendly to boot making it the ultimate make ahead meal.
And for our family, soup is actually the perfect family food with all of us enjoying the one meal. Mr 5 will generally eat anything in a soup format (well mainly the pureed versions of soups – if he could actually identify the vegetables I think he would decline to participate in the dining experience). Tonight he gobbled down a Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup and I just know if I had served this as a salad of cauliflower and chickpeas or even a mash for that matter he would not even try it. And he knew exactly what was in it. Sigh. #reasonwhyfeedingchildrenmakesmewanttodrinknumber105.
I have not been able to get Mr 5 to eat broccoli since he stopped believing they were dinosaur trees a few years ago. Due to this when I made the Broccoli Cheese Soup I almost just called it Hulk soup thinking then he would at least tried it,but I resisted the temptation and he actually ate it. KNOWING FULL WELL IT WAS BROCCOLI. Sorry for yelling, but honestly. **??!!
Moving on. I think it is easy to assume that your kiddies cannot eat soup – especially if they are still toddlers and working on their cutlery skills, but my 20 month old toddlers manage quite well. Even when Miss 20 months prefers to eat with her fingers. And for the record she also attempted to eat soup with her fingers but didn’t have much luck. To make it easier I serve the soup with dippers and make the consistency quite thick. And dippers do not have to be bread/toast or crackers. Why not try veggie sticks? One big tip – and probably the most important – make sure it’s cool enough so if (no, I will rephrase, when) they spill it all over themselves that it won’t burn them.
Possibly my favourite soup of all time is Creamy Tomato Soup. I love the vibrant colour, and the hum of the tomato flavour as the cream mellows out the acidity. I like to think that this soup encapsulates the tomato soup flavour of the bubblegum that Violet is enjoying so much in the original film of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (I soo need to watch that again!).
Mr 5’s favourite is Pumpkin soup and he has often requested the leftovers for lunch the next day. I sometimes add sweet potato and always have potatoes to my pumpkin soup to get some extra nutrients from the sweet potato and the creaminess from the potatoes.
Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup
1 medium sweet potato diced into 3-4cm pieces (if not using sweet potato use half a pumpkin)
1/4 of a large pumpkin diced into 3-4 cm pieces
3 medium potatoes diced into 3-4 cm pieces
1 red onion diced
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable for vegan/vegetarian)
3 cups water
salt and pepper to season
- In a large saucepan or stock pot add a tablespoon of oil, the diced potato and red onion and cook for 5 minutes or until onion softens stirring regularly to ensure that the potatoes and onions do not catch.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, pumpkin and sweet potato and season to taste and continue to cook, stirring regularly for another 5 minutes. If the mix is catching add a little water.
- Add the stock and water, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for a further 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked through.
- Cool the soup slightly, then in batches puree the mixture in a blender until the soup is smooth, creamy and thick. You can add more water at this point if the mixture is to thick for your taste.
- Add back to the soup book and simmer gently for another 5-10 minutes.
- Season with pepper and serve with crusty bread
Well there it is – some of my family’s favourite soups. But even as I have been writing this blog I keep on remembering the other soups I make and that I love so I am thinking this could almost be a two parter…we’ll see. I would love to hear your favourite recipes and if you have never tried with your little ones, please try it and let me know how they go!
Happy Autumn Goodies!