French Country Soup

This classic recipe is nutritious and high in fibre and vitamins.

Serves: 4

1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium leek, sliced
2 pints (1.1 litres) vegetable stock
1 medium potato, weighing about 175g (6oz), peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
200g (7oz) can chopped tomatoes
25g (1oz) dried pasta shapes
100g (3 ½ oz) french beans, halved
1 large or 2 small courgettes, sliced
100g (3 ½ oz) pre-cooked or drained, canned flageolet or haricot beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step One : Heat olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion and leek, and soften for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add stock, potato, celery, carrots and canned tomatoes, then simmer, covered for 15 mins.

Step Two : Add pasta, French beans and courgettes, and simmer for 15 mins. Stir in flageolet or haricot beans, season well and simmer for 2 more mins.

Step Three : Serve the soup with crusty baguettes.

More yummy soup recipes can be found here …

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Corn Soup

Serves: 4;   Cals per portion: 189;   Prep time: 10 mins;   Cook time: 55 mins


  • 1oz (25g) butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 12oz (350g) sweeetcorn kernels
  • 2 pt (1.2 litres) chicken stock
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ pt (150ml) single cream
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped chives

Step One – Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add onion and garlic, and sauté for 3 mins. Add the sweetcorn and stock to the pan. Season well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins.
Step Two – Blend soup in a processor for 30 secs. Return to pan and stir in cream and chives. Continue to cook for 5 mins, without boiling, until soup is piping hot. Serve with crusty bread.
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Kale Vichyssoise

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Jan 2018)

A twist on the classic, says Drew Smith in ‘Broth to Bow’ (Nourish Books, £20) but this version has more dimensions, and doesn’t have to be reinforced with chicken broth.

Serves:  4


¼ head celery
2 carrots
1 onion
3 leeks
2 new potatoes
1 litre Potassium Broth*
Handful of kale
Bunch of fresh parsley
50ml double cream
Olive oil for frying
Bread cubes for croutons

Step One:  Wash, trim and peel the celery, carrots, onion, leeks and potatoes, then put in a saucepan.  Cover with the Potassium Broth* and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 40 minutes.

Step Two: Take off the heat and leave to stand.  Transfer all the vegetables and about half the liquid into a smaller saucepan, ensuring that you have roughly equal vegetables and liquid.  Add the majority of the kale, trimmed, and bring back to a simmer for 4 minutes.

Step Three:  Chop the parsley and add, then liquidise in a blender or food processor, and stir in the cream.  In a frying pan, warm some olive oil and fry a few bread cubes for croutons.  Using the same oil, fry a couple of kale leaves until they are crisp, and use to garnish.

Chestnut and chorizo soup

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2016) and taken from the book River Cottage Gluten Free written by Nutritionist, cook and River Cottage teacher Naomi Devlin.

Roast chestnuts have the starchy quality of baked potato, with a smoky sweetness that is fantastic with chorizo.  You can also use pre-prepared chestnuts here, for something that is almost as good.  If you need more protein, a poached or fried egg is a great addition.

Chestnut Chorizo soupServes:  4


400g fresh chestnuts (in shells)
125g chorizo or spicy salami, skinned
1 tsp butter or duck fat
Pinch of fennel seeds (optional)
4 carrots, roughly diced
1 large onion, roughly diced
1 celery stick, roughly diced
150g Swiss chard or rainbow chard
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp tomato puree
large pinch of saffron threads
Greek yogurt and Turkish dried chilli flakes, to finish

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 220oC / Fan 200oC / Gas 7.  Make a cut in the top of each chestnut, place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel, halve or quarter and set aside.  (It’s a lot quicker to use pre-prepared chestnuts, but you won’t get the same smoky flavour).

Step Two:  Cut the chorizo or salami into small chunks.  Heat a saucepan over a low heat and add the chorizo chunks with the butter or duck fat and fennel seeds, if using.  Cook gently for a few minutes until the chorizo oil starts to run.  Add the diced vegetables and cook gently for at least 20 minutes until they have taken on a deeper colour and smell sweet.

Step Three:  While the vegetables soften, slice the white stalk from the chard leaves and cut it into chunks; set aside.  Shred the leaves finely and set these aside too.  Add the garlic to the pan with the thyme leaves and tomato puree and cook for a couple of minutes until the tomato smell rises from the pan.  Add the chopped chestnuts, chard stalks, saffron threads and enough boiling water to cover everything by 2-3 cm.  Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and lower the heat.  Simmer gently for about 15 minutes until everything is soft.  Taste for seasoning.

:  Either leave the soup chunky or mash it a bit, leaving some texture – you’re not aiming for a smooth result.  If it’s too thick, add a little water; if too thin, uncover, turn the heat up a bit and let it bubble to reduce slightly.  Finally, add the chard leaves to the soup and bring back to the boil; this will be enough to cook them through.  Serve each portion topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, if you like.  If the chorizo is mild, you may want to put some chilli flakes on the table.

Seafood Bisque


20g (¾ oz) butter
650g (1 lb 5oz) small shrimps or prawns (in the shell)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
1 stick celery roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
250g (8 oz) fillet salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 tbsp tomato purée
125ml (4 fl oz) dry white wine
80g (2 ¾ oz) Arborio rice
2.5l (85 fl oz) fish stock (made with good cubes is fine)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
100ml (3 fl oz) double cream
Ciabatta, to serve

Serves:  8    Prep time:  15 mins      Cook time:  40 mins
Cals per serving:  269      Fat: 13g

Step One:  Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and fry the prawns (in their shells), onion, leeks, celery, carrot, garlic and fennel seeds for about 6-7 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.

Step Two:  Add the salmon, tomato purée, white wine, rick, stock, bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 40 minutes.

Step Three:  Let the soup cool a little and blend with an electric blender or with a hand-held stick blender until smooth.  Strain the soup through a sieve (it needs to be nice and smooth).  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step Four:  When ready to serve, add the double cream and bring back to just under the boil.

Tip: If you’re feeling extravagant, add cooked crabmeat at step 2 for a richer flavour.

 Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Tortellini in brodo (Tortellini cooked in broth)

This recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Torellini in brodoComfort Food – Italian Style

Serves : 4  –  Prep time : 5 mins  – Cook time : 5 mins  –  Cals per serving : 287  –  Fat : 11g

Ingredients:  1.5l (48 fl oz) chicken stock (preferably home-made); 500g (1 lb) ready-made fresh tortellini; Parmesan, grated; 2 tblsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan.  Add the tortellini and cook for 3-4 minutes (check pack instructions for timing): the tortellini should float to the top of the pot when ready.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, scoop equal portions of tortellini into 4 large soup or pasta bowls.  Ladle the hot broth on top of the tortellini and top with grated Parmesan and parsley.

Pea and Ham Broth

A recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Most of us have a packet of frozen peas in our freezer.  They are useful for using as a side dish and in soups, risottos and braised dishes.  This soup is startingly simple and fast.  Home-made stock makes it even tastier, but you can just as easily use a good-quality organic chicken or vegetable stock cube or powder.

Serves : 2  –  Quick and Easy – ready to eat in 10 minutes 🙂

Pea and Ham broth

  1. Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in a saucepan and add 70g (2 ¼ oz) cubed pancetta, a crushed clove of garlic and two chopped stalks of celery.
  2. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the pancetta is starting to colour and crisp and the celery softens.
  3. Add 750ml (24 fl oz) of boiling chicken or vegetable stock or boiling water with a stock cube.
  4. Add 300g (10oz) of frozen peas (straight from the packet) and 3 chopped spinach or chard leaves, and return the broth to the boil.
  5. Simmer gently for about 3 minutes, or until the peas are tender.
  6. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Serve immediately.

Tortilla Soup with Shredded Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine November 2015

Tortilla SoupThe smoky flavour of this soup comes from chipotle chillies in adobo sauce.  These are sold in small tins at specialist food shops and delis.  If you can’t find any, just add 3 tsp of smoked paprika and 2 chopped fresh chillies instead.

Serves : 4  –  Preparation Time : 5 minutes  –  Cooking Time : 1 hour

Ingredients:  125ml rice bran or grapeseed oil; 1 onion, finely chopped; 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped; 2 tsp ground paprika; 1 tsp ground cumin; 1 tsp ground coriander; 2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, finely chopped; 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes; 1 litre chicken stock; 2 chicken breast fillets; 2 corn tortillas, halved, cut into 1 cm strips; coriander sprigs, diced avocado, line wedges, crumbled fresh cheese or feta, to serve.


Step One:  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Cook the onion, garlic, paprika, cumin and coriander for approximately 5 minutes, until the onion and garlic soften slightly.  Add the chillies, tomatoes and stock and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Step Two: Add the chicken breasts and cook for 20-30 minutes until cooked through, then remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Step Three:  Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  Fry the tortilla strips for 6-8 minutes until light, golden and crisp.  Remove, drain well using paper towels and season with salt.

Step Four: Using a stick blender, food processor or blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Taste and check the seasoning. Shred the chicken with two forks, then return to the pan.  Cook for a further 5 minutes until warmed through.

Step Five:  Serve with tortilla strips, coriander sprigs, diced avocado, lime wedges and cheese.

If you struggle with finding a high street stockist for the chillies, Amazon stock them:

A rustic dish to serve the soup in:

Psychologies Magazine

Pot-roasted Chicken with Onions and Tarragon

This dish is double delicious because it is almost a soup starter and a main course in one big pot! The sliced onions are packed into a braising dish with a bunch of tarragon and a chicken sitting on top. As the bird roasts, its juices flavour the onions. Add chicken stock, and you get the consistency of a rich broth or liquor. It’s up to you how much stock you add.

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1oz (25g) butter; 6-8 onions, halved and sliced; salt and black pepper; 1 garlic clove, crushed, optional; 1 bunch of tarragon; 1 x 3 ½ – 4 lb (1.5 – 1.75kg) chicken; 10-15 fl loz (300-450ml) chicken stock; knob of butter, optional

  • Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF, Gas Mark 6. Using a knob of the butter, grease a large, deep braising dish and three-quarters fill with the sliced onions. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Add the garlic clove, if you’re using it, and half the bunch of tarragon.
  • Rub the skin of the chicken with the remaining butter. Sit the chicken on top of the onions and season with lots of salt and black pepper. Place the braising dish in the oven. The total cooking time will be between 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours.
  • Halfway through the cooking time (about 40mins), add 10 fl oz (300ml) of the chicken stock. Add more stock if you prefer the liquor to have a thinner consistency and baste some of the liquor over the chicken. Return to the oven for the remaining cooking time.
  • The onions should cook much quicker now and the liquor should resemble onion soup.
    When the chicken is golden brown and tender, remove from the oven and check the seasoning and consistency of the liquor – 10 fl oz (300ml) will be enough to serve four. Remove the tarragon. Pick and chop the remaining half bunch, and add to the liquor. For a richer, finish, add the knob of butter to the liquor.
  • Spoon liquor into large soup bowls, divide chicken into portions and sit them on top. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the liquor.