Super-fast vegetable soup for children
Just recently I’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my children’s diet. I’ve been making sweetcorn fritters with extra red pepper, trying to sneak salad into their sandwiches (they may pick it out but at least it makes me feel better) and, for long car journeys, preparing plastic containers of carrot, celery and cucumber sticks as snacks.
The book has some cunning kitchen shortcuts to help you cook healthy family food in a trice.
For example, the sisters suggest keeping your store cupboards and freezer stocked with bags of frozen onions, quick cook pasta and frozen veg, like beans and mixed vegetables, so you’ll always have the ingredients to hand to cook from scratch, despite being short of time/ dealing with a toddler tantrum/ not having made it to the supermarket for fresh veg.
Fastest ever vegetable soup
While looking through the cookbook for ideas for speedy vegetable boosters and soup for children, I was intrigued by ‘Slack Mummy Soup’.
Yes, as the name suggests, it’s possibly the fastest soup on the planet for the least effort. You just pour some frozen veg into stock, boil for a few minutes and then puree with some extra cream cheese or crème fraîche for a creamy flavour. All ready in five minutes flat.
I decided to put the soup through its paces last weekend. Would it work without onions, simmering and even seasoning, I wondered? And – that all important question – would the kids like it?
I loved the speed and stress-free nature of this soup – I could even manage it one-handed with my three-year-old needing a cuddle at the same time – and yes, I made it in five minutes, making it a real gem for a post-swimming lesson family lunch.
But without onion, garlic and other flavourings, it’s definitely too bland to pass muster solo, so do make sure you follow the instruction in the recipe to add crème fraîche/ cheese/ cream cheese. You need this for taste and depth.
But once you’ve melted through a handful of your favourite dairy food (I added grated Cheddar and crème fraîche) the soup is a lunchtime wonder. All cheesy, creamy, warm and comforting.
It was even good enough for an emergency soup for a grown-up, reckoned my hubby – who polished off two bowlfuls.
The Crumbs Sisters say that they invented this soup as a quickie veggie fix when their children were very young.
But sadly my children didn’t want to try it because… it was green. Can you believe it? Foiled again. My kids like red, yellow and orange soup, but apparently they’ll draw the line at any other colours.
I mean, obviously I should have picked out the frozen broccoli from my vegetable mix before bunging it in the stock. (My kids actually like broccoli in non-soup form too, sigh.)
This soup is going on my list of speed, healthy lunches – but next time, I’ll go a bit easier on the greenery.
Slack Mummy Soup recipe
Serves: 1 child
Time taken: Start to finish 5 minutes
150g (5oz) frozen vegetables
Enough water or stock/bouillon to cover
A generous dollop of cream cheese/ crème fraîche/ Greek yoghurt – whatever you have in the fridge
Chives or flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Put the vegetables into a pan and cover with boiling water or stock/ bouillon and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
Once cooked, strain the vegetables, keeping a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Add as much cheese/ yoghurt as you think your child wants, and puree with a blender.
Serve with a swirl of cream cheese, crème fraîche or yoghurt and garnish with the herbs.
Recipe reproduced with permission from The Crumbs Family Cookbook by Claire & Lucy McDonald, photography by Stuart West, published by CICO Books, £16.99. Available from all good bookshops and online retailers.
Healthier Mummy was sent a free copy of the Crumbs Family Cookbook for review purposes.