Tag Archives: soup

Chunky Beetroot, Celeriac, and Potato Soup

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Here’s a great soup for these dreary early-spring days. I make soup about once a fortnight, keeping a rolling supply in the fridge and freezer (sometimes supplemented with supermarket soup!) Typically I just pop down to the local greengrocer and work out my soup based on what they have, as is the case with this one.

  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 250g Dry Cured Unsmoked Back Bacon

Chop the bacon into pieces about 1cm square. Then fry in the butter until the edges are all turning brown and crispy.

  • 390g Brown Onion, 2 onions, 440g before peeling
  • 125g Celery, 2 sticks

Dice the celery and onion into pieces no more than 5mm to a side. Add to the frying bacon and, on a lower heat, cook through translucent until browning.

  • 776g Celeriac, 1 large Celeriac > 1kg
  • 925g Potato, 6 medium Wilja potatos (Deseree would be fine)
  • 300g Beetroot, 6 small beetroots

Peel and dice all of the above into roughly 5mm-per-side cubes. Toss with the browned onion, celery, and bacon.

  • 8g Fresh Oregano, a small handful
  • 14g Garlic, 6 cloves
  • 4 dried Bay Leaves, quite large
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground Black Pepper

Finely chop the Oregano and Garlic and add to the pot, add the bay leaves and pepper.

  • 1.3lt good Beef Stock, make your own or buy a liquid stock
  • 2.5lt Water

Add the liquid, bring to a boil, reduce to a casual simmer, then leave simmering for at least an hour, util the potato should is breaking down. Give it a sturdy mixing with a whisk, breaking up the potato further, which will thicken the soup slightly. Now it is time to carefully add salt, “to taste.”

This should give you about 4 litres of soup. Weighing in at about 160 Calories per 300g serve (8g protein, 22g carbs, 4g fat.)


Carrot & Tomato Soup with Basil & Tarragon

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Carrot and Tomato Soup with Basil and Tarragon: Output
Carrot and Tomato Soup with Basil and Tarragon

This easy soup is one for the tomato lovers. I’ve used tinned chopped tomato, but be very picky with tinned tomato and don’t just buy the cheapest. The tomatoes I use (Napolina brand) are 70% tomato by weight, in tomato juice with added citric acid (preservative) and that’s the entire ingredient list. It could be replaced with an equivalent weight of blanched and skinned Roma tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, but I’m after low-effort here.

Use fresh tarragon if you can get it (to taste, maybe 2 or 3 tbsp of packed chopped leaf), and add it with the basil. The last time I bought fresh tarragon from Tesco what I got was not tarragon, I’m 100% certain of this, it didn’t look like tarragon and it didn’t have even slightly the right flavour!


Carrot and Tomato Soup with Basil and Tarragon: Input
  • 200g Brown Onion — peeled and diced
  • 25g Unsalted Butter
  • 400g Carrot — peeled, topped, and tailed
  • 10g (small knob) Ginger — skin scraped off and thinly sliced
  • 15g (4 cloves) Garlic — peeled and sliced
  • 1 (10g) Chicken Stock Cube
  • 1200g canned Chopped Tomatoes (in “Rich Tomato Juice”)
  • 3tsp (heaped) Dried Tarragon
  • 2tsp Black Pepper — fresh ground
  • 100ml dry White Wine
  • 25g fresh Basil — chopped


  1. In a large pot melt the butter and start frying the onion, with the dried tarragon, sliced ginger, and black pepper.
  2. Meanwhile peel/slice carrot as required and place in with softened onion (not browned!).
  3. Toss carrot with onion then pour in wine and let simmer away.
  4. Now add chopped tomato, stock cube melted in 500ml of hot water, and the sliced garlic.
  5. Put on very low heat and let simmer until the carrot is granny-cooked (30 minutes should do), then remove from heat and let cool.
  6. When cool enough that you could eat it without pain it’s time to emulsify!.
  7. First fine-chop the basil and stir through the soup, then blend to a smooth consistency in whatever sized batches fit your emulsifier.


Heat to desired temperature and eat, or package and fridge/freeze. I’d serve
this with some fresh chopped basil, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a
dollop of natural yoghurt.

Carrot and Tomato Soup with Basil and Tarragon: +Beer!

The serve to the right has all this except the basil, there’s a generous grinding of pepper on there though. The small serve (100g) of new potatoes adds a bit of extra fodder to this meal. They’re microwaved for 3 minutes, tossed in EVOO, pepper and a little salt and then browned under an overhead grill. The beer is Innis & Gunn — Oak Aged Beer. It’s taking a long time to find a decent variety of drinkable British beer and this is a new favourite — now if only the Poms sold decent beer by the case like we do in Australia!


A serving for me is around 300ml and this recipe makes 6 servings, but could probably make 8 if you prefer a less thick soup (add 1.2l of water instead of 500ml). Based on a serving being 1/6th of this recipe with a 2g drizzle of EVOO and a 20g dollop of natural yoghurt I’ve calculated this approximate nutritional information (thanks to gourmet, USDA and a few manual database entries). The essentials and highlights:

Thing Value
Energy 142 Calories
Carbs 20g
Protein 5g
Fat 6g
  Saturated 2g
Sodium 379mg
Dietry Fibre 4g
Calcium 153mg
Iron 2mg
Folate 35µg
Vitamin A 8598IU
Vitamin C 26mg

The potatoes and beer aren’t accounted for here. Around 70Cals for the spuds with 15g of carbs. Beer? That’s just getting daft.

Beetroot and Celeriac Borscht with Basil and Nutmeg

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Celeriac Borscht: Post-Purée

I wouldn’t normally bother to write about soup since it is essentially a “grab stuff, throw stuff in pot, heat and maybe blend” creation. I make a week’s worth of soup almost every Sunday so we can have soup in the fridge and freezer. We have soup for dinner at least three nights per week and alternate between “this week’s” and “last week’s” soup for variety. This will probably sound most unlike me, but here in the UK I follow much more planned eating habits than I did in Sydney. The primary reasons for this are: inaccessibility of good produce, the high price of produce and the extreme price of eating-out. Life here is very different to living and working mid-Sydney, I’d probably revert to my old ways if I lived and worked mid-London (and could afford it!). These days we have soup on Mon, Wed and Fri with カチンシ (Kathleneshi – Kat’s sushi) on Tue and my own cooking on Thu (usually a fish dish using something from the “Billingsgate” compartment in our freezer), weekends are “freestyle” to make up for weekday lunches, which are strongly regimented.

Back on topic! Today I made a potentially unusual soup and it turned out so well that I decided to make note of it, it can probably be more accurately called a borscht thanks to the beetroot.

The story of borscht starts on Saturday when we visited the Notting Hill office and thus, inevitably, the Portobello Road market, where I was browsing with this week’s soup in mind (and coffee!). Looking like boxes of well used medicine balls there was celeriac everywhere. I have never bought celeriac before but they look like they have soup potential so I picked one up. I’m afraid I didn’t take a photo of it but it looks like most celeriac I’ve seen – large, spherical, greenish and rough. The cooking goddess Stephanie says you should choose celeriac that are firm and baseball sized… I didn’t know this at the time though so I picked one that was about twice the diameter of a baseball (an unusual measure for an Australian chef to use!), luckily it turned out to be solid all the way through with no pithy hollows. I decided to pick up some beetroot too since I was aware that celeriac had a flavour similar to celery and I didn’t relish the idea of soup with a monotone celery flavour. The beetroot were around baseball sized and I got three of them.

So, fairly simple as soup should be, here it is:

Celeriac Borscht: Simmering
  • 1 double-baseball Celeriac
  • 3 single-baseball Beetroot
  • 1 large Brown Onion
  • A knob of Butter
  • 4 grinds of Salt
  • plenty of grinds of Pepper
  • 1 Chicken Stock Cube
  • A Nutmeg
  • A large handful of Basil Leaves
  1. Skin and roughly dice the onion and put into a large stock pot with the butter and grate in half the nutmeg.
  2. Peel the celeriac (I found this much easier to do roughly with a knife than with a peeler), quarter and slice thinly (since it is going into a soup with beetroot don’t bother with the acidulated water).
  3. Peel the beetroot (peeler does fine here) and slice as with celeriac.
  4. Turn on the heat and cook to very lightly brown the onion.
  5. With the onion browned throw all other ingredients except for the basil into the pot and add water until the celeriac just starts to lift (i.e. just-covered).
  6. Up the heat and bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer (lowest heat on the smallest rosette), cover with the lid slightly ajar and leave to simmer (we actually went out with it simmering away so it got up to two hours of simmer-time but probably would have been fine with less).
  7. When the beetroot is tender turn off the heat and let cool for emulsifying.
  8. In batches process soup with the emulsifier (sorry, I just like that word – I mean food processor or blender) to an almost-smooth (but not quite) texture.
  9. Chop the basil leaves finely (i.e. with a knife or herb-chopper) and mix into the processed soup.
  10. At point taste and add more salt/pepper/nutmeg as you see fit.
  11. Reheat and serve! Or: Package and freeze!
Celeriac Borscht
Celeriac Borscht

I would serve this with a sprinkling of very-fine-sliced basil leaves, a couple of grinds of pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil (photo on left topped with grated nutmeg, ground pepper and olive oil – if you look at the album you’ll see it was served with an unusual accompaniment). A good crusty chunk of bread would go down with it beautifully – but unfortunately bread isn’t something we buy.