9 Most Soulful Soup Recipes this Winter

9 Most Soulful Soup Recipes this Winter

Recipes for the best winter soups provided by an ex-student and his culinary sensei

In my final year of university, I substituted Jaegerbombs and clubbing for fine wine and soup making. Spending a day carving up veg and listening to Tracy Chapman tends to be much more gratifying than lying in bed hungover. I am going to outline some of the best of mine and my housemate’s creations, so you can experience for yourself the oomph that each of these soups deliver.

So I don’t endlessly repeat myself, here's a few pointers that go for every soup:

- Heat 1 chopped medium/large onion with 2-3 cloves of garlic and olive oil in a saucepan until translucent (chuck a stick of celery in too, if you think the flavour will work). Do this before adding any of your other ingredients.

- Throw in the rest of the veg and cook until soft.

- Add around 1.5 litres of vegetable stock (homemade or not, who cares).

- Simmer for 20 minutes, blend, throw in herbs, spices, and crème fraiche to taste.

- Always have plenty of tiger bread ready and maybe a flatbread if you’re feeling fiendish.

All of these soups are made in a similar fashion and serve 4-5. Anyway, the soups!

9. Honey Roasted Parsnip

Lather 6-8 parsnips in olive oil and honey, before baking them in the oven.

Fry the onion and garlic. A small amount of ginger can be added here if that’s your sort of thing.

Take the parsnips out when golden and chuck them into the saucepan.

I recommend adding a lot of heat to this one to counteract the sweetness. Crushed cumin seeds are ideal, or possibly garam masala with finely cut, fresh chillies on top.

8. Apple and Celeriac

This soup has an intriguing flavour that had my housemate wearing an inquisitive look on his face throughout the time he was eating it.

Get one nice, big celeriac and chop it roughly. Celeriac comes from the same family as celery - believe it or not - so add a couple sticks if you like.

Add 3 or 4 cooking apples with thyme or rosemary (depending on your preference).

NOTE: This soup can wind up tasting a lot like the apple sauce you have with roast pork so be sure to add lots of salt and pepper to prevent this.

7. Cream of Mushroom

Get experimental with this one; it’s hard to go wrong.

Get 500g of as many different kinds of mushrooms as you can get your hands on: brown, white, shitake, whatever. Add parsley, thyme, or both. Rich and majestic. Croutons are a must.

6. Pea and Mint

You’ll need 500g of peas - fresh or frozen. But make sure the mint is fresh; add about a handful 10 minutes before blending.

This soup is quite thin, so add a potato or extra crème fraiche to thicken. Again a simple win; just don’t drop it.

Click the photo for my incredible Thai Green Curry recipe on YouTube!

5. Broccoli

I’m not gonna insult your intelligence by explaining this one too much.

A whole broccoli without the thick stalk in the middle. Add a potato if you want.

4. Carrot and Fennel

Balance is key here: 2 carrots to 1 bulb of fennel. 4 carrots and 2 bulbs should suffice.

Carrots can be honey roasted as per the parsnip recipe before.

Fennel smells just like aniseed. Don’t panic, the sweetness of the carrots should counteract this if prepared properly.

Roast all veg for 20 minutes before adding to the saucepan and add some fresh sprigs of thyme at the end.

3. Tomato and Basil

I hope after this recipe you won’t eat tinned tomato soup again. Tomato soup should be a shade of deep ruby, not some scatty fake tan.

Use tinned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes or both; around 4 tins of tomatoes or twelve fresh tomatoes (if fresh, chuck the vines in as well for a delicious earthy flavour).

Once cooked, tear in as much fresh basil as you have. I recommend not being stingy on the crème fraiche here. A complete classic.

2. Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato

The next two soups are utterly delectable. The squash and sweet potato made me say for the first time, “Yeah. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.”

Carve one ripe butternut squash and 2-3 sweet potatoes depending on their size. Simply velvet.

1. Spicy Pumpkin

This edges to number 1 over the previous entries simply because of the warmth it brings in the cold months.

Allow yourself an hour and a sizeable knife to carve the biggest pumpkin you can get your hands on.

Get out the cumin seeds early on (crushed), and fry them off with the onion and garlic.

Before blending, add sliced red chillies - the more you can handle the better. Once blended; season the soup with chilli flakes, fresh coriander and a big old dollop of crème fraiche.

And there you have it, a lifetime of wisdom from a soup connoisseur.

Have you tried out these heart-warming recipes? Let me know if you hated them below!

Cover Image Credit: https://previews.123rf.com/images/mkistryn/mkistryn1503/mkistryn150300042/37634304-vegetables-and-fruits-collage-Stock-Photo-images.jpg

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.

Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.

6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!

7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.

9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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A General guide to a perfect cup of coffee

Making that cup is half the experience. Don't miss out.


A good cup of coffee is a treat in and of itself. The rich and earthy aroma of freshly ground beans when you wake up is a delight to the senses. Now I am not what you would call a coffee connoisseur, but like any other person, I am very particular about the coffee I drink… so much so that I had a Nespresso pod machine with me as I began my first year of college.

Now, most coffee aficionados would tell you coffee pods are a disgrace to the beverage and I agree. They don't capture the essence of the bean, the texture, or quality. But they are drastically better than instant coffee! Now that is horrendous. The coffee pod is a decent, minimally acceptable substitute. But I implore any coffee lover, to step out of Starbucks (that most definitely isn't good coffee) and quaint coffee parlors, and actually make an effort to learn about the beverage you consume and are delighted by.

I will be honest, I was never a coffee fan. I barely drank it to stay awake. Highly caffeinated tea was my poison of choice for late nights. My interest in what makes a good cup of coffee and my, let's say, pickiness when it comes to drinking it stems from my father's journey in making the perfect espresso, latte, ristretto etc…

Every process to make that perfect cup is crucial so let me paint a picture. Imagine freshly picked coffee beans sent in for processing and roasted at a range where it doesn't get burnt nor is it too blonde, a warm brown with undertones of red comes to my mind. For optimal extraction of the oils, the beans have to be used within 2 weeks of being roasted (so do not buy the beans from Starbucks usually). Instead of getting it grounded ahead of time feel as you grind the beans to the size you want because powder size plays a huge role in the bitterness and the very drip of the coffee. Finding the correct size powder is a crucial element to customize your coffee for your palate.

After the powder size has been recognized, a pressurized system lets the water seep through the powder. Whether it be an Aeropress because of its cheaper price tag and the opportunities for customizing it or a good old coffee machine, maintaining a good amount of pressure for the oil to be extracted is key.

Tamping is an important aspect if using a regular coffee machine, since it again determines the drip speed and bitterness as it packs the powder into compact form, allowing for maximum oil extraction for the espresso. And you can determine if the effort was worth it as you look at the thick creamy creamer on top of your espresso shot and breath in what should be a full-bodied and earthy scent.

If you are an avid coffee drinker, I ask you to give making your own coffee from scratch. If you don't like coffee, well, try making it your own. You might like it for all you know.

-Sincerely A Coffee Enthusiast

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