Soup For All Occasions by New Covent Garden Food Co

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Soup For All Occasions by New Covent Garden Food Co

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Category: Cookery
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: As the title says - soups for all occasions. They're tasty, nourishing and simple to make. A slim book but recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Boxtree
ISBN: 978-0752226798

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I love soup. It's more filling than a drink and less time-consuming than a meal but with all the flavour you could ask for. I don't mind good quality canned soup such as Baxter's or New Covent Garden, but I do prefer to make my own, so what could be better than a recipe book from New Covent Garden Food Co? It's not a book of recipes for the soups they sell, but a series of recipes from their staff which will take you, as the title says, through all occasions.

As a traditionalist I did wonder if I would really take to soup at breakfast or as a pudding, but I was soon won round. Sausage, Bacon and Tomato took a total of fifty minutes to prepare (but I did most of it whilst preparing dinner the night before) and the only problem was not whether people would like it but what to eat it with. In the end we settled for spoons for the liquid and knives and forks for the bacon, eggs and sausage – and a large pile of paper napkins. If you don't want anything quite so filling at breakfast there's Bircher Muesli and a fruit smoothies.

Some recipes are absolute gems – simple to make and delicious to eat. The Simple Pea Soup is made in 20 minutes and is as close to heaven as you will get, but my personal favourite is the Creamy Chicken which takes 45 minutes and uses cooked chicken breast. It is, quite simply, the cure for all ills. If you tire of wondering what to do with left-overs from the roast chicken, don't forget this soup!

If you're looking for a soup for a dinner party then Asparagus, New Potato, Pea and Mint is good, but my personal favourite is Red Onion with Goats' Cheese Toast. It has the benefit of being suitable for vegetarians if you substitute vegetable stock for the beef. One point (among many others) which particularly pleases me about this book is that the recipes serve the right number of people. Everyday recipes are generally for four – and can usually be adjusted up or down quite easily, but dinner party recipes are for six people.

You're still wondering how I'm going to get on with soup for a pudding, aren't you? Well, I love the recipes but I might not actually have called them soups. I've had a chocolate fondue on several occasions but generally try and avoid it as I would eat it all then lick the pan out. It offends the other guests. Baked Rhubarb with Orange and Ginger is probably more virtuous but still delicious. There's a granita and a fool to give you a little more choice.

The soups for days out will take you from the warmest days to the coldest. The Gazpacho is close to authentic and relatively virtuous in terms of calories, whilst the Oxtail Soup will see you through the cold – it's recommended for the touchline at football matches. One that didn't get out of the house is Smoked Haddock and Horseradish – I can only describe it as a Cullen Skink with a kick. Don't overlook the Indian Spiced Vegetable Soup either – it's brilliant for using up those odds and ends of vegetables that accumulate.

The main recipes are topped off with soups for those special days in the year – Valentine's Day, Halloween and Bonfire and Christmas. For Christmas there are some great recipes which will take you right through the festive season, from light soups before the event to ways to use up the leftovers.

My least favourite section (there always has to be one!) is Occasions When We Need to Cheat but there are still some good recipes in there. The Tuscan Bean Soup is hearty and lifted above the bland by the addition of some chilli powder. The Chicken and Vegetable Pie made using a carton of New Covent Garden Chicken Soup is more than forgivable.

The final section on Soup Essentials covers garnishes, stocks and larder ingredients. There's a good recipe for croutons and the instructions for making stocks are basic and straight forward.

This is a relatively slim book at 126 pages but you'll find yourself going back to the recipes on a regular basis so it could well be a good investment. Additionally it's in spiral-bound format and is a joy to use in the kitchen because it doesn't keep trying to shut itself.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

I was particularly impressed by the soups in English Food by Jane Grigson and that's a book I return to on a regular basis. For ways to use up leftovers in soup we can recommend The Thrifty Cookbook by Kate Colquhoun.

Buy Soup For All Occasions by New Covent Garden Food Co at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Soup For All Occasions by New Covent Garden Food Co at

Buy Soup For All Occasions by New Covent Garden Food Co at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Soup For All Occasions by New Covent Garden Food Co at


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