Friday, February 24, 2012

Soup kitchen

Whenever we go to Ikea for lunch, Andre would inevitably ask for soup and meatballs. He loves the soup at Ikea, especially if it's broccoli. It got to a point where I thought, maybe we could try making it at home.

That started our adventures with soup. The first one was broccoli, based on a recipe I got online from All Recipes.

Few recipes are perfect at the first try but this one was. The whole family loved it and then it struck me, this is the ideal lunch option. Like most kids, Andre's least favourite food group is vegetables and it's hard to get him to eat more than a cursory spoonful of greens at mealtimes. By having broccoli soup, he's actually downing a whole bowl of veggies *muahahaha* and more importantly, willingly!

Now on a roll, we went on to experiment with pumpkin soup, another big hit. We brought it to a New Year's Eve dinner party and a friend polished off two bowls. It's a good seasonal choice for year end festivities.

Next, we tried mushroom soup. It's excellent, similar to the quality you get in restaurants, but since mushroom is not a veg, we don't make this one as often.

Lastly, we tried a tomato soup recipe and wowsers, this is Kenneth's and my favourite. I modified the original recipe quite a bit to include more veg and exclude any fancy equipment like food mills, but it still works. Tangy and flavourful.

What I've learnt from this whole exercise is that soups are not as difficult to make as you might think, and if you serve them as a meal, it's basically a one-pot event. (The washing up is another story though, since it involves the blender.)

We like to serve our soup with Delifrance hard rolls, which you can buy frozen, 6-in-a-pack from Cold Storage. After tasting these soups, we can never go back to the Campbells or Heinz canned soups. Even if you can overlook the sodium and preservative overloads, the flavours pale in comparison to the homemade ones.

I think it's too much to try and post all four recipes here, so I'll just give you a couple. I changed most of the recipes slightly. For example, I don't like buying cream as I never use it up, so any recipe with cream, I changed to milk. I also cut out any complicated steps. The broccoli soup however, is so good I didn't make a single alteration. So here's the link to the recipe. If you don't want to eat your vegetables, drink it!

And here's my recipe for my favourite, the tomato soup. Enjoy!

Tomato Soup


4 cups chopped tomatoes
1 slice onion
4 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken broth (we use Swansons)
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp thyme or basil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp white sugar


1. Combine tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, garlic and chicken broth in a pot.
2. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and puree mixture in a blender (careful - mixture is hot!)
4. In empty pot, melt butter over medium heat.
5. Stir in flour to make a roux and cook until medium brown.
6. Gradually whisk in tomato mixture, keep stirring to ensure no lumps form.
7. Add thyme or basil, sugar and salt.


Yve said...

Hi Mon,
And you can duplicate the Ikea meal now by buying the frozen meatballs and preparing them at home!

monlim said...

Yve: We actually tried that before! It worked pretty well except there are too many ingredients to get - the sauce and the jam. The sauce is in a packet which means you can only use it once, and the jam is in a bottle which means you'll have too much leftover. Bah. In the end, it's easier to just go to Ikea if we want to eat the meatballs!

Lilian said...

Wahhh you so clever now hahahah. I've never made angmoh soup, still looks more complicated than chinese soup.

This post brings to mind a catchphrase:
NO SOUP FOR YOU! ~ Soup Nazi

haha, bon appetit!

monlim said...

Lilian: Hahaha! I think Chinese soups are so complicated, partly cos half the ingredients I don't recognise! (And some of them look like clumps of tree bark :P)

Elan said...

Hi Mon,
Welcome to the world of homemade soup subterfuge!
Yes, homemade soups are the only way I can get my veggie-hating younger son to eat veg. Like you've discovered, western soup is easier than most people think.
By the way, for a tomato soup, a "cheat" is to use UHT pack tomato juice instead of chicken broth and all your other steps but omit the roux. Try it.
Since you're making so much soup, do invest in a stick blender - so much easier to wash than a jug blender and no worries about it being hot and scalding yourself. You just put the stick blender all the way to the bottom of the pot of soup and whizz. Just remember NEVER to lift the blender out of the soup while it is still on.

Another "hide the veg" soup I make is spinach and cheese - water, spinach, boil then add in meltable cheese (like cheddar or mozzarella) and then whizz - couldn't be easier.

As for the Ikea meatball stuff, you can use half the pack of gravy, and jar of jam and ziploc the leftovers and freeze for the next time.


monlim said...

Elan: Spinach and cheese, sounds yummy! Esp since my kids are not fond of spinach. So with the cheese, you don't need roux? Would love to get the proportions and full ingredients from you.

PS We've given up on DIY meatballs, too much hassle, always not enough gravy and too much jam! Easier to go to Ikea for our meatball fix, haha.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the recipes, Mon. I have always wanted to try making creamy soup, but never get to it. After reading your post, I'm going to give it a try!! One question, white suger means normal sugar?


monlim said...

Chris: great!! yes, white sugar is regular sugar. Tell me how you like it!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mon, my computer is something wrong, may have posted more than one time on the comments.


Elan said...

Hi Mon,

That's the beauty of soup. No need strict proportions but here's approximately what I remember:

1 medium onion (chopped) if you like more flavour - can be omitted
a little oil to fry the onion if used.
2 cups of chicken stock (more flavour) or water
1 bunch of spinach (NTUC size, chopped roughly)
1 cup grated cheddar or mozarella

Fry onion, add water. When boiling add spinach, boil till almost tender.
Add grated cheese and stir till it melts.
Whizz with blender.

Oh try Leek and Potato soup.
a little butter
3 leeks chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
Fry leeks in the butter till wilted and transparent.
Add 6 bowls of water/chicken stock.Boil.
Add chopped potato and boil till tender. Whizz.
Healthy creamy tasting soup without the cream! Substitute with 3 bowls of low fat milk instead of water if you want it even creamier.

monlim said...

Chris: No worries, it's quite common. I just delete all the duplicates :)

Elan: Thanks a mil! The leek and potato soup sounds YUMMY. Do you know if there's any substitute for leek though? They're hard to find at NTUC. I wonder if celery will work...

Anonymous said...

Hello Mon! Im so glad you had this post. Ive been searching Ikea's broccoli soup for awhile now and would like to ask, do you know when does ikea serves their broccoli soup? :D THANK YOU.

monlim said...

No idea! :D

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