Category Archives: SOUPS AND STEWS

Cheddar cheese and broccoli soup

Cheddar cheese and broccoli soup

Perhaps the most famous of British cheeses, Cheddar is now made around the world. Traditional farmhouse examples, such as Montgomery’s and Keen’s, are still made from raw cows’ milk and matured for up to 18 months, giving them a dry, flaky texture and a rich, tangy, often nutty character. Mass-produced examples tend to be aged for much shorter periods, and will have a creamier, moister texture and a milder flavour, but generally melt better when cooked.

A mixture of vegetarian and animal rennets are used, depending on the producer. Cheddar is traditionally made from slabs of curd that are stacked on top of each other, and turned frequently. The pressure of their combined weight squeezes out any remaining whey; the slabs can then be cut into small pieces, salted, and put into moulds for maturing. This process is known as ‘Cheddaring’.

Chicken pozole

Chicken pozole

Pozole is a traditional soup or stew of Mexico, from pre-Columbian days. The name is derived from the Nahuatl “potzolli” and the stew is made with hominy and pork or chicken. This particular version of Arturo’s is made with chicken, and is called “pozole blanco” in his native state of Guerrero, Mexico, where pozole is practically the state dish. While in New Mexico posole is traditionally served on Christmas eve, in Guerrero it is served every Thursday and Saturday, all year long. Light and healthful, pozole is also a common Mexican cure for a hangover, ironic in that it is also traditionally enjoyed with mezcal.

Squash soup

Squash soup

Butternut squash is the most common and popular of autumn squashes, the butternut squash is a pale creamy beige and comes in an oblong shape with a rounded bottom. Like its name suggests, the flesh has a buttery flavour that is enhanced by brown sugar or cinnamon.

Many autumn and winter squashes, despite their name, are now available year-round, but are at their best during the colder months.

Minty pea and potato soup

Minty pea and potato soup

Frozen peas are available year round, but fresh garden peas are in season from early June until late July. Some supermarkets sell frozen peas with mint, a great freezer standby if you can’t get hold of any fresh herbs.

If you choose to buy the fresh pea, then select those with bright green pods that are firm and plump. Mint is a great addition to light summer soups (it pairs especially well with pea, courgette, asparagus and other green vegetables good at this time of year). The good thing is – you can easily grow it in the pot on the windowsill.