A (hopefully) weekly spot where I will concentrate on four ‘things’! This may be four recipes using a common ingredient, four places/events/whatever’s I’ve found that week which I love or even four newspaper articles/poems/whatever’s that have caught my eye.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. This week….

4 fab soups:

1st. November (no! no! November)

Pumpkin soup (using up your Halloween pumpkins)

1 red pumpkin (chopped in small block sized pieces)
1 onion (chopped very finely)
2 potatoes
1 tablespoon oil
Dried Chili (as much or as little as you like, or none at all)
cream/natural yogurt/creme fraiche – whatever you’ve got!
A vegetable stock cube dissolved in boiling water (start with about a litre)

Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the chopped onions. Once onion turns a little translucent add the chopped potatoes and pumpkin and the dried Chili if using it. Let it cook for a bit on a low heat. Add water and bring the vegetables to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Once the vegetables are cooked (about 15-20 minutes or less) let them cool a bit. Grind it all in a blender or use a stick blender. Reheat in the same saucepan. If it’s too thick, add some more water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add some cream or whatever if you’ve got it to each bowl and serve with hot garlic bread.

Green Soup (yep, exactly what you think it is!)

Green veggies – anything at all, including the tough outer leaves from cabbages, leaves from cauliflower, limp broccoli, courgette etc.

One large onion

A vegetable or chicken stock cube

Any herbs (fresh or dried) you might fancy and a clove or two of garlic

Some milk


Chop all the veggies into really tiny, pretty shapes (no, not really – just cut them all up roughly) Bung everything except the milk and salt and pepper in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer until everything is nice and soft. Cool a bit then zhuzh it all in a blender or with a sticky thing. Add salt and pepper till it’s how you like it and thin down with some milk (also makes it a bit less green). Reheat and serve. Goes nicely with a few garlicky croutons and a bit of sour cream or yogurt or whatever drizzled in a poncy  cheffy manner on top. It’s much nicer than it sounds, really healthy and supremely frugal!

Curried Parsnip Soup (the favourite soup in our house)

2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced

1 large onion, chopped

A vegetable stock cube, dissolved in about 1 litre of water

Curry powder (as much or as little as you prefer)

Milk if you want it

A handful of chopped coriander

Bung everything apart from the coriander (and the milk if using) in a pan. Boil. Simmer. Cool a bit. Add half the coriander. Blitz. Add milk if you want it a bit more creamy (though the parsnips are quite ‘creamy’ without it). Liberally scatter remaining coriander on the top when serving.

And Bob, as they say, is your uncle! Takes about 20 minutes start to finish.

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup (for when the peppers are cheap)

2 large red peppers

Tin of tomatoes

1 onion

Dried Chilli flakes (about half a teaspoon) or half a fresh red chilli, seeds removed

Salt and plenty of black pepper

Skin the pepper, either cut them in half, remove seeds and stick under a hot grill till the skin blackens and blisters a bit (and before the kitchen catches fire) or put each half on a long fork and hold over gas flame. Then put them in a plastic bag or wrap in cling film. When cool, the skins come off easily.

Cut each half in half again (or quarter if you like!) and ‘dry fry’ till going a bit brown. Chop the peppers, onion (small) and Chilli. Bung in a pan with the tomatoes and a can full of water. Boil, then simmer until soft. Cool. Blitz. Add salt and black pepper. Reheat and serve. You can sprinkle some chopped parsley or basil on top if you like. Well posh!

12th November (No! No! November)
Four kitchen gadgets I could not live without (low-tech version)
A big wire balloon whisk – used almost every day.
Spatulas – from teeny little ones to get the very very last bit of jam out the jar to big ‘uns for scraping each last gram of cake mix into the tin
A whizzy double-bladed mezzaluna with its own dinky recessed chopping board. I use this for chopping small amounts of anything and everything. And a thing of great beauty it is too!
Teaspoons – I’m with Nigella on this one. I have three or four stashes of teaspoons around the kitchen. One of those things you only appreciate when you can’t find one!
Till next time!
Four more kitchen gadgets I couldn’t live without (high-tech – well, ‘ish’)

My digital scales – only cheap ones from Argos ‘Value’ range but indispensable
Stick blender – ditto
Food processor to make short work of chopping large amounts
The beautiful form that is my Nespresso ‘U’. I make no apology for this one – I simply could not function without it!
(Update on the teaspoons. Maybe Nige needs her teaspoons for a different use to me!)
A Bientot
Phryne x
Sent from my iPad

2 thoughts on “Frugal Phryne’s Fab 4

  1. The roasted pepper soup sounds lovely. I have a jar of ready roasted peppers in the cupboard. These cost less than a £1 so much cheaper than the fresh ones and ready to use.

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