As soon as the weather starts to get cooler, my thoughts turn to soup in all its warming glory. During the winter months, we eat a lot of soup for dinner; I find it’s a great way of getting different vegetables into my boys, and an easy meal to prepare early in the day, ready for reheating when it’s time for dinner. As long as I serve it with plenty of hot-from-the-oven bread, everyone is happy.
Problem is, my soup repertoire is severely limited. I tend to buy a whole lot of winter vegetables (pumpkin, kumara, carrots, parsnips…), chop ’em up, throw ’em in a pot with herbs and stock of some kind, and hope for the best. Usually, this method results in a tasty enough concoction, but it always tastes kinda the same.
Enter Digby Law’s Soup cookbook, first published in 1982. Chapters range from the standard Meat, Vegetable and Seafood soups, to the more interesting Chilled, Herb, Nut and Cheese soups. Just from looking at the contents page, I was intrigued. Each chapter begins with a quote about soup (who knew there were so many?!), and an introduction, full of history, explanation and suggestions.
There are also chapters on various garnishes (which should be “…compatible with the soup in colour, flavour and texture.”) and accompaniments (which should be “…the same style as the soup: for a light soup, a dainty accompaniment; for a heavy soup, a hearty accompaniment.”). Delicious.
So far, I’ve only made the “classic Chinese soup”, Long Soup – a delightful broth featuring pork, cabbage and egg noodles that my boys loved – and Kumara and Pumpkin Soup – a thick, hearty soup that again, my boys loved (despite neither of them liking pumpkin or kumara, tee hee), but I have bookmarked so many more.
Some of the recipes scream “RETRO” (bisques, various tripe, liver and veal options), but many of them are timeless in their appeal and ingredient lists. Law also provides suggestions of additions to various soups, allowing the cook to create their own masterpiece from one of his basic recipes. For example, under the recipe for Pumpkin Soup (which provides no quantities), there is a list of variations, including: add a can of shrimps, or finely grated lemon rind, or pureed peaches, sour cream, fried onions…
Digby Law’s Soup is a great resource if you are a soup-fiend like me, and I’m sure that by the end of the winter (who am I kidding? It’ll be spring), my copy will be dog-eared, splattered and well-used.
Thank you to the kind folk at Hachette NZ for providing me with this review copy.