I was recently sent a beautiful cookbook . . . Great Homemade Soup's, a cook's collection, by Paul Gayler. I am no stranger to Paul Gayler's cookery books. I already own three of them, and love them so I was really pleased to have been given the offer of this one. I knew I was in for a real treat and I was not disappointed.
In this gorgeously presented book Paul shares a comprehensive collection of over 100 of his most appetising soup recipes alongside recipes from guest chefs including Daniel Boulud, Antonio Carluccio, Chris and Jeff Galvin, Tom Kerridge, Atul Kochhar, Pierre Koffman and Susan Spicer.
It brings you through the whole range of soupery, from basic equipment and stocks, broths and consommes, smooth and creamy soups, hearty soups, traditional soups, exotic concoctions and chilled soups. There is something in this lovely book to suit any taste and budget, with clear and concise instructions and beautiful imagery.
Each recipe has a full colour and mouth watering photograph to accompany it (photography by Lisa Linder.)
I found the first chapter which included a brief introduction to soups, their classification, the equipment needed, some information on garnishes, accompaniments and soup toppings before detailing in step-by-step Masterclasses how to make perfect homemade soup stocks, the fundamental base to every good soup to be very informative and my favourite chapter. There was so much to learn about soup in there . . . and I like to think that you are never too old to learn something new.
Amongst the many soups on offer you will see such tasty delights as . . .
- Cauliflower soup with brie toasties
- Roasted pepper and aubergine soup
- Carrot, pineapple and ginger soup
- Jamaican pepper pot soup
- Soupe a l'oignon gratinee
And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Of course the proof of the pudding is always in the eating and I would never recommend a cookbook to you if I hadn't tried at least one of the recipes included. It was really difficult to make up my mind with this book as everything looked so delicious, but I finally narrowed it down to one.
I chose his recipe for Italian Wedding Soup. Not only did it look beautiful, but I had everything in the house that I needed in order to make it. I had never had Italian Wedding Soup before and I was keen to try something different.
The instructions were concise and easy to follow. Even though it was not something I had ever eaten, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. None of the ingredients was outrageous or difficult to find. In fact I already had all of them in the house, although I did substitute Cavolo Nero for the lettuce, because that is what I had and what I thought would look prettiest, and I think food should be pretty don't you?
It went together beautifully . . . and the end result was a lovely soup. Hearty enough to be a main meal once I added crusty bread on the side. The Toddster who usually loves his soups creamy and thick, declared it to be one of the nicest soups he had ever eaten. So in short . . . this was a real winner!
*Italian Wedding Soup*Makes 4 hearty or 6 smaller servings
Heat a large frying pan with 2 TBS of the oil over medium low heat. Add the meatballs and cook, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until golden all over. Remove with a slotted spoon to some paper towels and set aside.
Using a clean pan, over medium heat, heat the remaining oil. Add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes and reduce heat. Cook, stirring until softened, for about 10 minutes. Pour the stock over all, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the pasta and the escarole and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add the meat balls to the broth and simmer for about 5 minutes longer. Sir in the parsley.
Whisk together the egg and Pecorino Romano in a bowl. Slowly pour this mixture into the soup, stirring continuously and always in the same direction with a wooden spoon as you pour.. Simmer for 30 seconds over the lowers heat to cook the eggs and thicken the soup slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide between heated bowls and serve immediately!
This was an amazing collection of soups in just one place. The author has done a great job at collecting and sharing a wide array of soups from every part of the world that will warm you inside and out. All-in-all this is a comprehensive cookbook with amazing images throughout that will leave your mouth watering. I give this book 10+ and highly recommend it for anyone's cookery book collection. It would make a fabulous gift for the foodie in your life, especially if you are wanting them to make you some tasty soups to indulge in!
Book: Great Homemade Soups: A Cook's Collection
Author: Paul Gaylor
Publisher: Jacquie Small LLP, 74-77 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF
Publication Date: 17 October 2013
RRP: £25 UK, $30 US
Did you notice that beautiful cast iron casserole I was using to make my soup in??? I know isn't it gorgeous. It is a part of the Pro Cook line of cast iron Casseroles.
I was recently sent the ProCook Turquoise Cast Iron Casserole20cm / 2.9L Round Casserole Dish to try out and I have to say I am loving it. I already had a much higher priced "luxury" brand cast iron casserole dish and I was keen to compare the two. I have to say in all honesty, I can't see a difference . . . except in the price. Seriously. I can't speak for it's value over long term use as I have only had each of these casseroles a short time, but so far they have both performed equally.
The Pro Cook traditional cast iron range is built to last a lifetime. Hand cast from molten iron giving incredible strength and durability, topped with smart, stainless steel knobs, cast iron handles and enameled inside and out with turquoise and cream for a stunning, self-basting finish and excellent heat retaining properties.
Suitable for hob and oven cooking and for all cookers including induction, this range is ideal for long, slow cooking so you can just pop it into the oven.
One of the drawbacks would be that they are not suitable for dishwasher use. But even Le Creuset recommend that you only wash in the dishwasher with caution. They come with a full 25 year guarantee. (Le Creuset offers a lifetime guarantee.) Right now you can purchase this same one on their page for £32 a reduction from the regular price of £64 on the high street.
The Pro Cook Oven to Table line of Cast Iron Cookware comes in a wide range of sizes and colours and I truly feel they are good value for money spent. I could honestly see NO discernable difference in performance between the more expensive brand cast iron cookware and this reasonably priced brand. I highly recommend.