The weather on the mainland has been exceptionally bad with snow and sub-zero temperatures; here on Mull and in Fionnphort particuarly, we haven't really had the snow but the freezing conditions we have had are unpredecented especially with it lasting over such a long period of time.
But what has prompted me to poke my nose out and come out of hibernation today? Well believe it or not it was a news item on BBC Breakfast this morning about the salt content of soup. The nation's dieticians recommend that an adult should not be consuming more than 6g of salt per day and that typically we consume around 9g a day which has health implications for us all - not least high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease and cancers! Interestingly some soups contain more than our recommended daily allowance of salt in just one serving and can contain more than ten times the amount of salt than in a packet of ready salted crisps!!
This led me to think about and ask what soup are these people eating? And then it dawned on me - of course, shop bought tinned soup! What a travesty!!
Soup is the simplest, most nutrious and healthy food you can eat and yet somehow folks still mess it up and turn it into a health hazard.
Well the simplest solution is to make your own soup!
I can think of any number of reasons why you should and I can't think of any reason why you can't. So I'm not interested in hearing any 'Yes but, No but' answers, comments or smart alec responses.
Making soup is easy, quick, nutritious, healthy, satisfying, tasty and most importantly cost effective. You know what's going in to it (including the salt content) and its a great way of eating your 5 portions of veggies a day. You don't need a degree in food engineering to make soup, you just dig around in the bottom of the fridge (you know, the section where the veg is supposed to be housed) and make use of what you have. It's a great way of using up those less appetising bits of veg at the back too.
I don't think I ever ate home made soup until I moved here. The main reason was because soup was plentiful and convenient in tins. However once here, when I started to look at the ingredients on the can and compare the price of what I was paying, to what I was actually getting, I started to ask whether or not I was paying more for the tin (which incidentally you are) than the food in it. And why was I paying more for something that was being thrown away (ie the can), even if it was being recycled, when in actual fact I could make the soup myself and not throw anything away!!
And so several years ago I started on my journey of discovery on how to make my own soups.
They aren't fancy soups. Occasionally I look for a recipe for some inspiration but most of the time I do exactly what 'it says on the tin' - excuse the pun. I open the fridge and take a wee peek inside to see what needs using up and then I make the soup. Favourites include leek and potato, carrot and courgette, basil & tomato soup (sometimes using fresh tomatoes, sometimes using tinned!), my stir crazy soup (literally anything there is to hand) and my green soup (I use all the green veggies I can find - including the curly bits of cabbage leaf that should really be composted).
And with this freezing damp weather, soup is welcomed by all. With a pot on every day home made soup is food for the soul. And just to help you on your way, I have made sweet potato and leek soup today which has been cooking whilst writing this and this is how I made it:
Ingredients: half a large onion, 2 sweet potatoes, 4 pathetic weedy leeks, some light olive oil (I prefer to use butter but I'm trying to lose weight), 4 teaspoons Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon (available in most food shops) and about 2 litres of boiling water (a kettle full in my house)
This made a large pan full and will probably last the 2 of us for 3 days.