19 October 2014

My Soup-er New Kitchen Toy

Firstly, sorry for the punny title, I just couldn't help it - and now for a long-winded introduction:

I generally like to make sure I feed the little ones as healthy and well balanced a diet as possible for someone who likes to go out for cake as much as I do, but I'm sure most of us have those days when you've been out somewhere straight from school, of you have loads to do and there's just not enough time for anything. In one such moment of weakness I introduced the little monsters to cup-a-soup and they've been obsessed ever since. 

And that's fine in some ways: its easy, its cheap, it makes them happy - but I never feel good about giving it to them. God knows how much salt and nonsense is in those things, and I can't imagine them to be very high on nutritional content. Imagine my delight when Tower Housewares came to my rescue with the generous offer of a soup maker to ease my mum-guilt (that's definitely a thing).

soup ingredients

This way I could feed the little ones tonnes of soupy delights safe in the knowledge their meals contain actual vegetables. The Tower Soup Maker is basically a fancy blender with an added heat component so does all your cooking for you as well as your blending, as well as keeping mess to a contained minimum.

The little instruction book that came with the soup maker had a couple of recipes at the back so I figured I'd start with one of these tried and tested versions before getting a little more experimental and it was decided all round that the tomato and basil was a grand starting point (plus, it's my favourite and I was making it so my vote counts for extra!)

Using chopped tinned tomatoes felt like a bit of a cheat but no complains here on the simplicity of it, leaving me to just chop carrots, celery, onions and garlic to throw in the mix too. Into the soup maker it all goes with some vegetable stock and a bunch of basil and just turn it on to cook away. Little madam decided at this point that she didn't want basil in hers, and I somehow managed to convince her that I hadn't put it in and the 'green things' she was so worried about were 'just a herb', which she was fine with - I don't know what I'll do when she gets too old to go along with things like that...

Before too long it was nicely bubbling away, and the smells emitted from it were glorious. I left it cooking for around 20 minutes and when it was all cooked (I opened it and nicked a carrot to test for softness to be sure!) gave it a quick whizz with the blender bit to break down some of the bigger chunks. Then served it up in big bowls with crusty buttered bread - I swear this might be the best non-cakey thing I've ever made. It had all that comforting, warming loveliness that good soup can offer, but with a fresher taste and a bigger sense of self-satisfaction. 

Since this first attempt I think I've caught a bit of a soup-making bug - I don't think I've chopped this many vegetables since I worked in a pub kitchen as a teen! Though I've not yet stepped outside the more traditional soup flavours, the kids do have some interesting ideas so I'll be back with a recipe if I ever do perfect the 'mango tango' soup that keeps being suggested. Until that day, my new favourite toy can be used for a host of other non-soup things - it is at heart a blender so can be used for smoothies, cocktails and all sorts of other blended things and I am curious about how its heating capabilities would work in the creation of hot chocolate,.... so many possibilities! 

What's you favourite kind of soup, or what else would you use this for? And, most importantly, any suggestions on recipes for a mango based soup? 

* Product provided in return for honest review 

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