This week has been our half term holiday, a week of catching up with friends and on much needed sleep. It’s a lovely break but somehow it’s always a shock to me though how much more food we get through when everyone is home all day. Even as I wrote that I can hear what a no brainer it sounds; but think about it. I make their lunches every day for school. Why shouldn’t I get through the same amount of food just because they are eating it at home? Because it’s just not the same, being surrounded by cupboards full of food rather than lunch boxes, that’s why. This soup is what I make when I can’t face the endless round of sandwiches and when I really don’t want to head out to the shops again. It’s really tasty, healthy and can be knocked up pretty quickly with the contents of any well stocked kitchen cupboard. But best of all, because you’re going to blitz most of it to get a smoother soup, it’s perfect to delegate to your children to make; you’ll never notice the hatchet job they might make of the fennel after five minutes with a blender.
Store Cupboard Soup Recipe
3 anchovies (omit if you are making the veggie version)
2-3 red onions (depending on size) diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 good sized carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp thyme (if you’ve only got dried use that but make sure it’s fresh)
1 tbsp sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp capers
4 cloves black garlic (optional) or a tbsp of good quality of balsamic vinegar
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
800 ml stock (veg or chicken- your choice)
2 400g tins chick peas
Start by crushing your garlic and leaving to one side for the allicin to develop , then ‘melt’ the anchovies in a good splash of oil.
Throw in the onions, celery and carrot and cook over a very low heat for around 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the capers, black garlic (if you’re using) and sundried tomatoes.
Add the thyme to the pan, the fennel, the chopped sundried tomato mixture, garlic (and the balsamic vinegar if you’re not using black garlic), the tinned tomatoes and the stock.
Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for around 30 minutes or until the veg is cooked through and the soup is slightly thickened.
Blitz with a hand held stick blender and then add your chick peas. Return to the boil and then you’re ready to serve. I like mine with some thinly sliced spring onions on top, but it’s your call.