Jackie Cameron
(Patrick Royal)

Winter is here – well almost. As it gets colder out come the winter warmers: undergarments, hot chocolate and the many soup recipes. The recipes below are unique and are favourites among all at Hartford House.

Soup can be easy to make but many cooks often confuse the flavour combinations. A person eating onion wants to taste onion with the other flavours complimenting, not overpowering, the onion.

Number one rule when making a soup is to start with the best quality ingredients, using ripe, ready-to-eat, seasonal vegetables. Ask yourself … what is the best way to eat an ingredient; for example, butternut? Around the Sunday lunch table – Mom’s chicken and roasted butternut. And so roasted butternut soup was born; with pear custard ice cream, pumpkin seeds and curry oil. All Hartford dishes have a story. Take the recipes below and add them to your winter-warmer collection.

Brown mushroom soup with shiitake (wild Asian mushroom with a strong meaty flavour) powder and truffle oil ( A subterranean fungus).
You will not mistake the flavours within this soup as it involves three different types of mushroom presented in three different forms.

Caramelised onion soup with wholegrain mustard and sesame seed ice cream, is one of the first soups we made at Hartford more than five years ago. It involves the mixing of hot and cold combination of flavours taking the dish to another level.

The last soup in the selection is very different. This simple recipe of only two ingredients is made interesting by the inclusion of the finely sliced vegetables to add interest to the flavour and texture. Corn and coconut soup with julienne vegetables, sushi ginger and roasted pine kernels.

Soup is a nutritious, healthy, feel-good, quick and easy meal. It can be eaten chilled (vichyssoise – a leek and potato soup served cold) or hot (consommé – hot clear translucent liquid) and is so versatile it can be frozen and eaten at a later stage. Treat yourself with the excellent produce available in South Africa and keep the soup pots simmering.

Take these recipes and try them. Send comments and food-related questions to jackie@hartford.co.za. I look forward to hearing from you.