Hard to believe that it's nearly a year since Ilva and I set up Heart of the Matter to gather together heart-healthy recipes from around the blogosphere (& thanks Michelle for joining us as you promised at the start). We've tried to keep it topical - so this month it's soup to keep us warm in winter ... or chilled and cooling if you are in the southern hemisphere ;)
I don't really start thinking about soup until after Christmas, and then for me it's a natural - all that turkey stock; although, in this house, stock is mostly used for risotto. Our New Year's Eve celebration dinner always starts with consomme. In a good year I make it; this year it came courtesy of Cross and Blackwell. If it's tinned, then you should float something in it - lovely mushrooms, a few herbs, a little spice. One year I added chopped chilli, far far too much chopped chilli, and it flavoured the soup so that it was inedible. Everyone stopped being polite after the second mouthful.
I haven't yet made any soup this year, but I'm planning .... French onion soup will be much better in this house now that I have a grill and can finish it off with a cheesy croute. I want to experiment with lentil soup, as it really irritates me that everyone in this house goes irrrrrrr when they find lentils on the menu: I suspect that mixing them with potato will be the way forward, and would be very keen to hear from anyone who has been experimenting along these lines.
Obviously the key thing for Heart of the Matter is that the recipe should be heart-healthy - and soup is such a good food here, because it can easily be made of vegetables, which are on the must-eat list for anyone watching their cholesterol. No butter, not too much unsaturated fat either, no cream. Listing no-nos makes the heart-healthy diet sound austere, but I have never found it so ... just fresher, and full of herby, spicy flavours. Here's a couple of useful links for anyone in doubt.
I'm sure many of you know the HotM "rules" by now, but here's a recap: all you have to do is to send me the link to your entry at joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk by 24 January, make a link to Joanna's Food and to the HotM blog as well if you like. I'll post the round up on both blogs. In order to keep this focused on heart health we ask you to consider this as a one-entry event, i.e. we prefer that you don't use your post for other events as well.
Blossom time - Following on from this post, here's some more 'flowery wool' from Tracy at Norah George. Incidentally, since that last post, Tracy has moved her shop to it...
2 hours ago