On rainy days like this … all you need is soup!

With rainy days like these all you want to do is go home, make a big pot of soup and snuggle comfortably under the biggest, warmest blanket you have.  (In front of a crackling fire for those who are lucky enough to have one) I thought I could share some of my favourite soup recipes with you to try this winter. Some are quick and easy recipes for mid week wonders while others need some time to bubble away on the stove top. All of them are worth it though! Let me know what you think?

Thai Orange Sweet Potato Soup with coriander crème fraîche
Serves 6

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For the soup
15 ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cm ginger, finely grated
10 ml garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
30 ml lemongrass, finely grated
15 ml red curry paste
1 kg orange sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1,5 l vegetable stock
310 ml coconut cream
For the coriander crème fraîche
60 g fresh coriander, chopped
50 g roasted cashews
80 ml olive oil
80 ml coconut cream
250 ml crème fraîche

1. For the soup: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, chilli, lemon grass and curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.
2. Add the sweet potato and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.
3. In the meantime, prepare the coriander crème fraîche. Place the coriander, cashews and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the coconut cream and blend until combined. Stir the coriander pesto through the crème fraîche and set aside until needed.
4. Place half the sweet potato mixture in a jug blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a clean saucepan. Repeat with remaining mixture. Place back on the heat and bring to the boil. Stir in the rest of the coconut cream and spoon into serving bowls. Serve with coriander crème fraîche, sweet potato chips and fresh bread.

Moroccan lamb soup
This recipe is easy to prepare but start early so that is has enough time to cook.
Serves 8

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Moroccan lamb soup

5 ml cayenne pepper
10 ml ground black pepper
5 ml ground coriander
7,5 ml ground ginger
5 ml turmeric
10 ml ground cinnamon
1,5 kg lamb shanks
45 ml olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
45 ml tomato paste
500 ml red wine
2 × 400 g whole peeled tomatoes
200 g dried apricots
200 g pitted dates
100 g whole/flaked almonds, lightly toasted
2 l good quality lamb or beef stock
500 ml cooked lentils

1. Combine all the spices in a bowl. Massage half of the spice mixture into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook the lamb in batches on both sides until browned. Add the vegetables, garlic and the rest of the spices and fry for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste; cook out for 1 minute.
3. Add the wine, tomatoes, apricots, dates, almonds and stock. Cover and simmer for 4-5 hours or until the lamb is tender. Add the lentils and serve in front of the fire with a good glass of shiraz.

Creamy seafood and chorizo chowder
Serves 6-8

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30 ml olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
10 ml garlic, finely chopped
300 g sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1,5 cm pieces
50 g chorizo, thinly sliced
60 ml flour
1 l chicken stock
250 ml corn kernels
600 g mixed seafood
125 ml cream
30 ml fresh dill, chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, garlic, sweet potato and chorizo and cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks has softened.
2. Add the flour and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the corn, seafood and cream. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the seafood is cooked through.
3. Serve with chopped dill and chunks of bread.

Food styling: Inemari Rabie
Photography: Daniela Zondagh

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