Warming the soul: a great soup recipe

Winter warmers- Laura Conaghan

By Laura Conaghan, Health and Wellbeing editor (@LauraPB)

It’s officially scarf and woolly hat weather. I have found myself craving heat, physically and emotionally… my soul and stomach are seeking warmth.

There is nothing quite like some winter recipes that not only will keep those vitamins topped up but also, if you invest in a decent flask, help you to avoid the extortionate prices of certain canteens in certain study places around university that I’m almost sure I can’t explicitly state.

Simple but effective, carrot and butternut squash soup:

  • 2 onions chopped (who doesn’t chop an onion?)
  • 1tbsp of your preferred oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • Salt and pepper (in the house)
  • 5 litres of hot vegetable stock
  • Parsley to garnish/ make Instagram worthy.

Now we have the ingredients, battle stations please.

  • Fry the onions and oil in a pan until soft, or whatever means of cooking equipment you have that is not piled up with the rest of the dirty dishes.
  • Proceed to add the butternut squash and carrots and stir, cooking for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the seasoning to taste, pour over the stock and bring to boil. Allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through.
  • Allow the soup to cool slightly before blending the soup to a smooth texture, or lumpy texture if you’d prefer.
  • Flask some. Never buy soup again. Become the master of butternut.

This is for the vegetables that sit looking limp in the fridge, rejuvenate your celery.

  • 340g red split lentils
  • 1 tbs of your preferred oil
  • 2 medium onions (you chop them)
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 5 litres of hot vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper



  • Soften the onions, carrot, garlic, bayleaf and celery in a pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the lentils and stock.
  • Simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  • Either blend or eat lumpy.


Add some bacon in if you want to add to that technicality score. Paul would be proud, as would David.

I felt that chicken soup for the soul would have been too obvious a headline. Making soup is not only quick but the ingredients can also be bought relatively cheaply. If you’re feeling extra adventurous why not make some homemade bread for the dipping action. Is soup really complete without a dip?

Tomato bread is a personal favourite of mine that works well with practically all soup. The O negative blood of the soup and bread combo. This is not gluten friendly. I can sense feelings of horror and distaste amongst the west end populous already.

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5g of dried yeast
  • 110ml of water
  • 50g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 250g of strong plain flour.


Raising the dough:

  • Bring all the ingredients together by hand and knead for 10-15 minutes to develop the gluten and form a smooth dough.
  • Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave at room temperature for 25 minutes.
  • When the dough has doubled in volume, remove from the bowl, place on a work surface and knead the dough with the palm of your hands.
  • Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with the cloth. Repeat the same process after a further 25 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/200 ºC
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place onto a floured baking tray, leave until it doubles in size
  • Sift a small amount of flour onto the dough before placing in the oven.
  • Bake until cooked, 35 minutes or so.
  • To check if your bread is cooked, if it sounds hollow then it’s ready. Or, get Val in, a certified bread whisperer (GBBO references couldn’t be avoided).
  • Leave to cool and then get dipping.

If all else fails, Tesco do a really good pre-made tomato bread that only requires water. It’s still technically homemade.

Hope you try some winter warmers, happy dipping.if (document.currentScript) {