Sometimes a soup recipe needs a little help to reach its ultimate flavour; this often happens when I’m following someone else’s recipe and ignored my gut instincts. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt while cooking, if a recipe looks like it’s lacking in something, then most of the time it is, so it’s best get your spice rack out and have a bit of a play to suit you. But let’s assume you’ve ignored that little voice in your head one more time, had faith in the cook and you’re taste buds are left hanging… what do you do if salt and pepper just aren’t cutting it? Well, here’s a little list of soup toppings I usually use to jazz mine up. Parties in my mouth are invited!
- Low Fat Grated Cheese
This has to be right at the top (literally) and melts like a dream, giving a soup much more depth. I usually head for a good reduced fat mature cheddar as I’ve always got a block in my fridge. It’s also superb for enhancing a tomato-based soup like this one to take the pure health edge off and hit the right notes.
- Tesco’s 2 calorie Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil spray
Forget calorific truffle oils and the like, although I’m not denying their yummy. I rarely have cooking oils in the house, but one thing I always have in is a bottle of Tesco’s Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil spray. Their range is rather awesome as its pure oil, unlike many that are a oil and water mix, but I still have a use for all of them in my life. However, for a slightly naughty flavour with less of the guilt, this is a great one for spritzing on top of soups and gives you much more control if you’re heavy handed while drizzling. My adapted Courgette & Cheese Soup is a perfect example of this; although it appeared to be an extremely popular recipe, I felt it needed this bottle too to finish it off.
- Crispy Lean Bacon Bits
Every now and then I feel like I need the protein; sometimes I get my kicks from nuts and seeds, but if I want the added saltiness to a cream and buttery-style number, then it’s a great combination with my Potato, Cabbage & Bacon Soup. Sa-tis-fied!
- Dried Chunks of Bread/ Croutons
Another favourite is to tear or cut up pieces of wholemeal bread, spray them with chilli or garlic frylight oil spray and pop them in my airfryer or oven until toasted. They’re great for a bit of crunch too, even if it only lasts briefly and love how they’re not heavily laden with oils. Another one of my favourite recipes I had to adapt was from Antonio Carluccio which features stale bread which I call my Poorman’s Soup. It doesn’t look great but it has flavours you’ll certainly remember from some basic ingredients!
- Fresh herbs
This may be a no-brainer to some people, but if you have a bunch of fresh basil or coriander at hand, then finely chop them up and stir them right in. It’s a brilliant solution that instantly transforms a recipe, but not one for doing now and eating tomorrow and what I mean by this is if I heat up a herby soup the following day, it loses its flavour as it’s continued to cook. I’m thankful for Michelin Star Chef, Raymond Blanc explaining this to me and my Pistou Soup is the ultimate recipe for this. If you don’t have fresh herbs most of the time like me (dried ones are far more convenient unless you’re lucky enough to have a herb garden), then steep your dried stuff in 50ml of boiling water and leave it for an hour and stir right in.
And please, please, please share with me below your favourite to-go-to toppers; I am always looking for new and better flavours, so hopefully I can pick up some tips off you too! And if you want to read more posts like this to get more inspiration, then why not sign up to my free blog subscription by popping your email in the box on the right? That way you won’t miss out on anything! I also have a Facebook support group called I LOVE SW Soup which you are more than welcome to come and join and chat soup recipes!
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