After a ‘SOUPER’ week will lunchtimes ever be the same?

I question whether or not my lunches will ever be the same after last week’s cook-a-thon.  For five consecutive work days me and four of my ambitious colleagues set out to cook up a lunch storm.  Starting last Monday and ending Friday our goal was to cook soup for five on a budget using ‘ethical’ ingredients – the winner to be judged on taste, ethics, and value for money.  In a mouthful, it was a yummy success and although the winner has yet to be announced – I couldn’t care less.  The fact that I was served a lovely bowl of soup every day last week, saving me in the region of £15.00 which I normally spend buying food lacking in all things good and healthy, made me a very happy woman indeed.

However the real point of this blog is to highlight my soup, the only green and non-vegetarian soup of the week – Twanna’s Easy-peasy Pea and Smoked Bacon soup. A delicious, hearty soup/meal, ideal for lunch or dinner and it doesn’t break the bank. It’s perfect for those of us on a budget during these credit crunching times.

You could say my soup recipe is a little like that of Innocent Smoothies, nice and simple yet not nearly as expensive (sorry Innocent no harm intended just telling the truth – as I see it).

So here it goes – ideally all ingredients are organic and where possible local and/or Fairtrade:

1 bag of frozen peas (or fresh if in season and you have the time to shell them)

1 large onion

1 celery stick

1 carrot stick

1 leek

5 slices of smoked bacon

750 ml Vegetable stock (if you prefer a thinner soup use another 250 ml)

1 Bay leaf

Fresh mint (at least 5 nice size leafs)

Dash of Nutmeg

Dash of sea salt

Dash of black pepper

Bonus Ingredients: (when in need a added comfort)

¼ cup of Double or Single cream

Simply chop veggies, and cook on low heat for 10 minutes or until they slightly tender.  Grill bacon or fry depending on how much time you have however do not over-cook as you don’t want crispy bacon, you want it nice and juicy.

Place peas (thawed or fresh), cooked bacon and veggies in a large sauce pan (the bigger the better).  Add stock, herbs and spices.  Bring to nice gentle simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.  Let it cool, and then blend all ingredients. I recommend fishing out the Bay leaf first.  Once blended to your desired consistency, place back in pan, heat and season to taste.  For those of us who like our cream now’s the time to add it. Bring to simmer and voilà! – it’s done.

Serve with your favourite bread (with this soup mine is Soda Bread) and enjoy.

Like all recipes, try it once then find ways to make it your own by adding this or that… and as for cost, I was able to make enough for eight servings for £6.50.

Be sure to visit our Flickr pages for full coverage of Soup Week!

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