The New Covent Garden Soup Company have recently launched an idea to community source a new soup each month. The winning soups will be sold nationally as Soup of the Month specials.
Recently, they asked me to get involved in trying the shortlisted soups for their first such soup, which will be on sale in August. The competition theme was "Fetes, Festivals & Shows" and they asked people to submit soup recipes which celebrate British summer time, something they would be proud to present at any local fete, festival or show.
Once the entries were all in, they started by narrowing down the entries to 5 or 6 which were made up in their test kitchens to the consumers’ exact recipes. These were then narrowed down to the three with the most potential to appeal to their customers, and the recipes were tweaked to ensure good quality results when made in the factory, in larger volumes. They tasted their own versions against the submitted recipes again, to ensure they were true to the originals, and then sent them to me to review.
Tim Doran’s Summer Heat soup combines roasted red peppers with tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, onion and stock with a whole scotch bonnet chilli to add heat. Crème fraiche, basil, lemon juice and seasoning are also included.
Lisa Aimal’s Courgette & Camembert soup adds onions, chicken stock and crème fraiche to the two signature ingredients of courgette and camembert.
Abbie Eales’ Fezziwigs Coconut Shy soup includes sweet potatoes, ground coconut, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, cayenne and paprika.
I enjoy Tim’s Summer Heat, but for me, it’s something best suited to cooler months, when the heat from the scotch bonnet can help warm me up. That said, the red peppers and tomatoes are reminiscent of warm Mediterranean sunshine.
Lisa’s soup combines two of my favourite ingredients, but lacks punch in terms of flavour. Neither the courgette nor the camembert really shine; perhaps they are a little too watered down by the onion, stock and crème fraiche. Almost there, but not quite.
My favourite is Abbie’s entry, which is, as she describes, "sweet and spicy and exotic enough to bring up images of sunnier climes". I also really like her note that it works well both hot and cold, and indeed I tried and enjoyed it both ways. Today’s Britain is multicultural, and many ingredients from around the world have found a place in our regular repertoire.
Abbie’s original recipe, as submitted to New Covent Garden Soup Company, is below.
The New Covent Garden Soup Company are now calling for entries for their October soup of the month, the theme of which is Halloween. The deadline for entries is May 10th and you are encouraged to get creative with the name of your soup as well as the recipe!
Abbie Eale’s Fezziwigs Coconut Shy Soup
500 ml chicken stock
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
100 grams ground coconut
100 mls hot water
1 inch of root ginger, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the ground coconut in a bowl and add the hot water to rehydrate it. Leave for 20 minutes.
In a pan heat the sunflower oil and lightly fry the onion until it becomes translucent.
Add in the chopped garlic, ginger, cayenne and paprika and fry quickly.
Add in the coconut and water mixture, and stir for a minute until it thickens slightly.
Pour in the chicken stock and heat until it starts to simmer.
Add in the cubed sweet potato. Leave to cook until the potato is nice and soft; about 15-20 minutes.
Use a hand blender to blitz your soup. I like it with a bit of texture still, so you can tell there is ground coconut in it rather than coconut milk.
Serve hot or cold.
Kavey Eats received samples from the New Covent Garden Soup Company. Recipe reproduced with permission.