Win­ter warm­ers

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Food - Roz Crow­ley

WARM­ING, com­fort­ing food is just what we need these days, and soup fits the bill per­fectly. Pair with a de­cent whole­meal or sour­dough bread and you have a feast.

Two stalls in Cork’s English Mar­ket make de­li­cious take­away soups and are worth men­tion­ing. Sen­sasian Food at Unit 1 (Princes Street en­trance) had a de­li­cious len­til soup the day we tasted, which was thick and sat­is­fy­ing, while be­side it at My Good­ness they la­dle their veg­etable-based broth into two sizes of con­tain­ers. They make fer­mented prod­ucts, and this was typ­i­cal, with a well-bal­anced flavour that was lively and good as a broth. I used it to sit fil­lets of had­dock in to cook gen­tly un­til opaque. I added some grated car­rot and parsnip for the eas­i­est sup­per ever.

The Chicken Inn, also in the mar­ket, has a good, light chicken stock to use as a base for our own soups.

Big Tom spiced tomato juice in a tall bot­tle is a new prod­uct made in Eng­land. Gen­tly spiced, with an in­ter­est­ing play of cit­russy tamarind with added sugar, it can be used to make a Bloody Mary or heated gen­tly for soup. In Tesco.

Tak­ing our cue from the new-year say­ing ‘out with the old in with the new’, we sought out soups we hadn’t tasted be­fore. I was im­pressed that there were far fewer ad­di­tives and less salt than in for­mer sur­veys. Peo­ple power.

Sadie’s Kitchen Com­fort­ing chicken bone broth 350ml €4.50 Free range Ir­ish chicken bones 40% have added onions, cel­ery, or­ganic ap­ple cider vine­gar, gar­lic, black pep­per, thyme, rose­mary and turmeric to make a flavour­some broth, ideal for low days when a cup of soup is all we need. Add noo­dles/grated root veg­eta­bles/peas for an easy sup­per. A ge­lati­nous tex­ture be­fore heat­ing is a good sign, like our own made from a de­cent bird. Not cheap. Made in Ire­land. Score: 7.75

Cully & Sully Ja­panese style miso broth 500g €3.99 Gluten and dairy free, as we would ex­pect with a broth, this is made from miso paste made with soya beans, brown rice and salt; 1% shi­itake mush­rooms, wakame sea­weed, white pep­per. This de­liv­ers an umami feast with lots of strong flavours. The taste has a slightly harsh punch from sea­weed and shi­itake mush­rooms. Tasters were di­vided, but en­joyed it as a sauce when cooked with fish, soften­ing the over­all ef­fect. Score: 7.25

The Kitchen at Quishs Roast red pep­per, tomato & basil soup 500ml €2.99 The fresh flavours of the in­gre­di­ents listed in the ti­tle de­liver what is ex­pected. A light soup, it was com­fort­ing and would be good for any­one re­cu­per­at­ing from ill­ness, with a nice herbal kick to liven the taste buds. It didn’t ex­cite some of the tasters enough to make it their favourite, but they ap­pre­ci­ated its nat­u­ral sim­plic­ity. Made in Cork and sold in Quish’s Su­perValu Ballincol­lig. Score: 7

Marks & Spencer Chilli bean & rice soup 600g €3.90 Beef bone stock and 4% tiny beef pieces, the base of toma­toes is sup­ported with 4% rice, and red kid­ney and black eyed beans. Car­rots, onion, leeks and cel­ery are flavoured with a well bal­anced hit of chilli, cumin and pa­prika. A hearty mouth­ful en­joyed by tasters. Score: 8.25

Kin­sale Bay Mush­room soup 400g €2.79 Com­mend­ably only thick­ened with a lit­tle corn­flour (there­for gluten-free), feel­ing nat­u­ral and with plenty of real, fresh mush­room flavours, this is a de­cent soup to have as is or as a base for left­over chicken or veg­eta­bles to make a meal. There are small pieces of pota­toes too, flavours in­clude onions, gar­lic and veg­etable stock. No nas­ties, all good­ies and made in Cork. Score: 8

Tesco Finest Sweet potato, co­conut and chilli soup 600g €2.79 A fresh gin­ger hit here with a lit­tle lime, warm­ing turmeric and a soft chilli hit con­trast well with the creamy sweet potato flavour and smooth con­sis­tency. No ad­di­tives. Tasters ap­proved. A good buy. Made in Britain. Score: 8

Fu­sion and Street Veg­etable soup with puy lentils, cumin & gin­ger 400g €3.10 A cream base with tomato has a hint of turmeric, but not enough cumin or gin­ger to jus­tify the ti­tle, nor in­deed enough lentils. The very small print of the in­gre­di­ent list was barely leg­i­ble and the web­site was no help. Still, a pleas­ant soup en­joyed by tasters. Score: 6.75

The Happy Pear sweet potato, co­conut & gin­ger soup 375g €2.79 Not much gin­ger flavour here, some co­conut and the sweet potato are well blended to make a light, slightly sweet, smooth soup. Score: 6.75

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