My daughter-in-law Rachel loves soups, ‘there’s no better food to warm the heart and restore the soul,' she writes in her new book, Soup, Broth, Bread. 'Whether it’s smooth and silky, rustic and chunky or light and brothy, soup conjures up a feeling of cosiness and care for me.’ When she was a child, her Mum always had a pot of chicken or turkey stock on the go, ready to use as a base for the delicious soups for Rachel and her sister, Simone, when they ran in from school. The memory turned them both into avid soup-makers too.
Rachel’s own home is also filled with soup lovers. It’s the first thing she offers the children, if they’re feeling under the weather (after a hug, of course!). Soup helps soothe everything from a sniffly cold to a tired body after a tough day. Rachel’s daughter even takes broth or soup in a flask for her school lunch, a little bit of home from home.
Rachel tells me that she loves rummaging in the fridge and seeing what needs to be used up and turned into a spontaneous soup - a great way to make the most of leftovers… So many cooked vegetables can be turned into a soup once you have just a few other ingredients to hand. Cooked meat and seafood skills can also be transformed into a chunky broth or chowder with a little know-how, and leftover rice and pasta just love being given another lease of life in a beautiful bowl of soup.
There’s also a brilliant and accompaniment and garnishes section to bling up a bowl of soup. Different sauces, salsas, drizzles, oils and emulsions to liven up even the simplest soup, not to mention delicious crackers, croutons and crumbs. There’s also a whole chapter of wonderful breads, plus some savoury buns, flatbreads, scones and muffins, including recipes for particular dietary needs. Perfect to serve with a steaming bowl of soup, or simply to eat warm from the oven.
Soup Broth Bread by Rachel Allen (published by Penguin Michael Joseph - €25)