A handy gadget

One of my favourite things to cook in winter is soup.  It’s pretty easy to knock up a tasty, economical meal that will keep you going for several meals, and there’s lots of scope for variation and improvisation.

Until now, the soups I’ve cooked have always been the kind which involve chunks of ingredients floating around in a thin broth, except perhaps on one or two occasions when I’ve attempted to mush things up a bit with a potato masher (with, as I recall, only limited success).  This has been due to a lack of suitable hardware for making any other soups.

Yesterday, however, I invested in a hand blender – a cheap (£8) one from my local supermarket, which seems to do all that I want – so I can now start making blended soups.  I’ve been thinking about getting one for several years, but never quite got round to it until now.

As it happens, I made a cabbage, carrot and chilli soup the other day, mainly to use up half a cabbage and a red chilli pepper that I had knocking about in the fridge, and still had about half of it left, so this provided me a good starting point for my first attempt at a blended soup.  It definitely changes the flavour (or perhaps more significantly the texture) of the soup, so made for a nice change after two days of eating what amounted to a bunch of boiled cabbage in slightly spicy cabbage water.  I also got some soured cream when I went shopping for the blender, so that contributed to the change too.

I suspect in future I may well do a similar thing of starting with unblended soup for a day or two and then bringing the blender in to provide some variation later on.  Another idea I have is to take out some of the chunky bits before blending the soup and then put them back in afterwards, to get the combined benefit of a nice thick blended soups and some textural/flavour variety.

At present I don’t have any particular plans to use the blender for anything other than the making of soups but I’m sure some other ideas will present themselves now that I have one.

Incidentally, Happy New Year!