Waitrose root vegetable and kale soup mix

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I’ve seen these bags of soup ingredients Waitrose before, and I thought it would be interesting to try one. The root vegetable and kale soup mix with pearl barley sounded good, so I thought I would give it a try, and make the soup as closely as I could to how they instruct on the packaging.

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I started by removing the pearl barley from the packet and sweating the vegetables in a pan with a nob of butter, for about 5 minutes. When nice and glistening, I added the pearl barley and 600ml of Knorr chicken stock. This was my one deviance from the instructions, as I didn’t have any vegetable stock, but you can of course use either.

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With the stock in, I left the soup to simmer, with a partially covered lid, for 15 mins and checked that the veg was soft before I removed it from the heat.

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Once it was cooked I blitzed it with 3 short bursts in the blender. This didn’t puree it, but it did bring the soup together, without reducing it to baby food.

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It was a good texture, though I’m not sure if the pearl barley should be a little softer. Is it meant to be a bit ‘nutty’? The soup has a really rich, deep taste, though it was very much imporved by the addition of salt and pepper. It’s quite sweet, but well balanced and I liked the fact that there were no ‘added’ ingredients, everything was fresh and natural. It’s also very cost efficient – there’s enough soup for large 4 portions and at £1.50 it’s really good value. If you bought individual vegetables and fresh herbs to make this, it would cost a lot more.

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I might add some roast chicken to it if there’s any left from today’s roast dinner, for tomorrow’s serving. On the whole, a really nice soup – quick and easy to make, with no wastage. I’d definitely buy it again and it’s a good option for a shop bought/home made soup – and perfect for people who are too lazy to chop veg (like me!).

Ingredients:

  • Carrot
  • Swede
  • While onion
  • Kale
  • Celeriace
  • Pearl Barley
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Garlic puree
  • Black pepper

Words and pictures by @ladylavish

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Aviyal Coconut & Cauliflower

Takeaway, Nusa, Farrindon

Aviyal Coconut & Cauliflower. It’s based on a Keralan dish, which according to Wikipedia ‘is supposed to have been invented by Bhima during his exile. According to the legend, when Ballav (Bhima’s name during this time) assumed his duties as the cook in the kitchen of Virata, he did not know how to cook. One of the first things he did was to chop up many different vegetables, boil them together and top the dish with grated coconut.‘ 

IMG_6182IMG_6181It was a lovely rich soup which packed a real punch of coconut flavour and had plenty of cauliflower and green beans. It’s vegan, vegetarian, dairy and gluten-free so pretty much suitable for anyone, and as I’m on a low-carb eating plan it fitted in with that too. You can have it with brown rice and bread, but I just went for straight soup.

Really enjoyable, would definitely have it again. A little bit of sunshine on a grey windy day.

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Words and pictures by @ladylavish