Celeriac soup with crispy pancetta
Heat a knob of butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook 100g pancetta until golden and crisp. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Add 1 finely chopped onion to the pan and cook for five minutes. Peel and chop 1 large celeriac and 1 large potato into even chunks. Add to the pan with 1 bay leaf and 1l chicken stock and season well. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf, then use a stick blender or food processor to whizz the soup until smooth. Taste and season, then serve topped with dollops of crème fraîche, the reserved pancetta, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and snipped fresh chives.
Vegan cauliflower chowder
Cut 1 medium cauliflower into florets and set two small handfuls of florets aside. In a pot over a high heat, bring 1l of salted water to a boil and cook 6 peeled, chopped carrots and 1 peeled, chopped medium sweet potato for 4-5 minutes. Rinse under cold water and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pot over a medium-low heat and cook ½ a chopped onion for five minutes. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, season and cook for 30 seconds. Add all the cauliflower florets except for the reserved ones. Toss and add just enough water to cover. Cover with a lid and cook for 7-8 minutes or until very soft and tender. Use a food processor or stick blender to whizz until smooth. Add 400ml coconut milk and stir until blended. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of paprika. Add the reserved cauliflower florets with the carrots and sweet potatoes. Cover with a lid and simmer for five minutes. Serve immediately in warm bowls topped with some fresh dill, olive oil and black pepper.
Beef, barley and mushroom soup
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over a medium-high heat. Chop 900g beef chuck into bite-sized chunks and brown on all sides. Add 1 chopped onion and 250g sliced chestnut mushrooms and cook for five minutes until tender. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in 3 peeled, chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, 250g pearl barley, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2l beef stock, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce then heat and simmer gently for one hour. Discard the bay leaves and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Cook 400g pasta shells in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions, then drain and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over a medium-high heat. Add 1 chopped onion and cook for five minutes until soft. Add 6 crushed garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds. Add 4 peeled, chopped carrots, 2 chopped courgettes and 2 chopped celery stalks and cook for five minutes, then stir in 2 tsp dried oregano. Add 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes and 1.5l chicken stock. Bring to a boil over a high heat, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Stir in 1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans and the cooked pasta and heat through. Season well. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan to serve.
Dairy-free potato and leek soup
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pot over a medium heat and cook 2 sliced leeks for five minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and black pepper. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds. Add 3 peeled, chopped medium potatoes and 500ml vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, then cover with a lid and boil for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are very soft. Add 460ml almond milk (or more if you prefer a thinner soup). Use a stick blender to whizz the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve.
Go the extra mile and make this cheese and onion soda bread as the perfect accompaniment…