Leek & Celery Soup

When vegetables are starting to look a little worse for wear, and are in the reduced aisle in supermarkets there’s only one thing to do with them, make soup. I spotted celery for 17p last night which I couldn’t resist. Making your own soup is one of the cheapest meals you can make, packed full of veg and easy to freeze. Soup is the ultimate cheap eat for the savvy student. A large pot makes making soup a lot easier, and is versatile for many other dishes too,  this one from ikea ticks all the boxes.

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I chose to add in a bag of soffrito, which is just a vegetable base for soup consisting of red onion, carrot and celery. You could just as easily make this yourself with one red onion and one carrot chopped, forgoing the celery as there’s plenty already going in. Try to buy vegetables loose, the price per kg is almost always cheaper and you don’t buy more than you need to. It tends to be larger supermarkets that offer a wider range of loose vegetables, or independent fruit & veg shops.

What:

  • Celery – About 8-10 stalks chopped
  • 2 medium leeks chopped
  • 1 packet soup veg mix/soffrito
  • 800ml of Bouillon Vegetable Stock (or any vegetable stock cubes)
  • 250ml boiling water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil

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How: 

  • Chop the veg and rinse through a colander under cold water
  • Pour the olive oil into the soup pot on a gentle heat
  • Add the soffrito/soup base and gently stir occasionally, seasoning with salt & pepper
  • Next add in the chopped leeks and celery, allowing to cook down and soften for about 10 minutes
  • Prepare the Bouillon stock and add to the pot, along with the boiling water
  • Set the lid on and let the vegetables cook gently for a further 15-20 minutes
  • You can leave it at this point if you like a chunky vegetable soup, otherwise take off the heat and use a stick blender
  • This part is down to personal preference, the longer you blend for the fewer chunks there will be

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This recipe makes for a fairly thick soup. It’s safer to err on the side of caution at first, adding in more water to make a thinner, or runnier soup. Soup can be frozen easily in tupperware, defrosting quickly when desired. You can extend the quantity of the soup after some has been eaten by adding more water with a little stock to maintain the flavour. You can also throw in whatever vegetables you have at the back of the fridge, nothing takes care of them better than a soup.

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Mushroom & Tarragon Chicken

Having just landed back from Italy and with only a few hours before I had to be in work, I did a supermarket sweep style dash around the shops to pick up a few pieces to throw a packed lunch together. After two weeks enjoying the most delicious food in Italy, I couldn’t bear to have an overpriced ready meal in work, resulting in this Mushroom & Tarragon Chicken. This is a bit of a bare bones recipe which you can easily adapt to your own taste with some different veg or sides. Make enough for 4 portions and keep it in the fridge, or put some in the freezer for when you too are tight for time.

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The packed lunch version with microwave wholegrain rice & quinoa

 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 5-6 Chestnut mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 450-500g chicken breast (the smaller it’s cut, the quicker it will cook)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 spring onions chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of dried tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper – Granny’s Spice Salt from Tiger is a gamechanger
  • 3 tablespoons of Creme Fraiche
  • Rice, pasta, or quinoa to serve. This one’s up to you

 

How: 

  • Peel and chop the garlic, chop the mushrooms, tomatoes and spring onions. Keep a few spring onions to the side to garnish at the end
  • On a different chopping board cut the chicken breast into small chunks
  • Heat the oil on a low heat in a frying pan
  • Add the chicken to the frying pan, seasoning with salt and pepper and dried tarragon
  • Stir occasionally, letting the chicken brown on a medium heat. After a few minutes add the garlic, mushroom, spring onion, and tomatoes. Adding garlic in a little later than at the start of cooking stops the garlic from burning and brings out the flavour in a much nicer way
  • Let the ingredients cook together for about 10-12 minutes. Some water will be released from the tomatoes and chicken, let this reduce until there’s just a little water remaining in the pan
  • Reduce to the lowest heat, add 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper and stir through the creme fraiche
  • Serve alone or with rice, pasta or quinoa, or anything you fancy, and sprinkle the remaining spring onions on the top
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Presentation with a little more time

You could add peas, leeks, broccoli, spinach or some peppers into this dish. I would have added some extra veg into this had I had any! Hopefully you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. If you make this make sure to show me on instagram with #studentfoodbible