Chop ‘Til You Drop

Soup fanatics, welcome once again to the hub of all antics soupy!

With a mountain of onions to chop for this week’s French Onion soup, this has been yet another week of standing alone in the kitchen crying over a chopping board (but more on Chris’ love life another time – Ed.). Traditional French Onion is based on a veal stock with a crust of melted cheese – hardly in keeping with our policy of healthy eating (see here for a particularly trendy Delia Smith version). With this in mind, our French Onion and Star Anise Soup is not only far healthier than the alpine favourite, but also vegetarian. Infusing our onion and red wine stock with Marmite, wholegrain mustard and a healthy dose of slow-cooked onion, the result is a soup which is not only rich and savoury like the original, but also somewhat kinder on the waistline. Whilst this does mean chopping  a copious amount of onions over the course of the week (I’m getting emotional just thinking about it), we think that the finished product, topped with thyme-infused goats cheese, is worth the tears.

Towards the end of last week, we also dipped a tentative toe into the world of non-chicken meat stocks. Up until now, we’ve focussed on a chicken stock as this is the most versatile stock to use, adding a delicious savoury note to our soups without masking any of our other ingredients. Whilst this is fantastic for the soups in which we use a variety of different big flavours, we’re keen to ensure that we make our standalone broths as rich and flavoursome as possible before adding our aromatics. With this in mind, we thought we’d work on our Phở, with the change in direction from our old favourite, the Phở Ga (chicken) towards the meatier and richer Phở Bo (beef). Although it took more time, the beef stock added a fantastic depth of flavour to the soup, which we finish with hot red chillies, crisp mint leaves, coriander and button mushrooms. It still needs a bit of tweaking before you’ll find it in a soup kettle near you, but we’re certainly on the right path!

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Looking forward, Matt and I had a meeting yesterday with Sian, our Environmental Health Officer about expanding our business to a range of rubs and pastes which, as mentioned last time, we hope to be able to start stocking in local shops in the near future. Whilst all of our pastes and rubs are ready to go (we’ll be supplying the same pastes we use in our Thai Red and our Jerk as well as a couple of others), there are still a few hurdles, such as finding suitable packaging which will maximise our shelf life whilst looking great. Stay tuned for any future updates or get in touch with any ideas!

Finally, to address the elephant in the room: yes, we have a couple of handsome new URLs (nURLs?), and yes, we are as excited as you are. We felt that our very own .co.uk and .com addresses would add a little professionalism to our internet home, particularly as we look to expand further afield – we hope you think so too!

Until next week soup fans,

Chris and Matt

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