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The slow cooker chef: Carnivores on a budget soup recipe

special spicy soup with frankfurtersCayenne pepper is not something I have used very much over the years. In fact, until last week, we were using a jar that I had bought when I moved into my first flat in 1979. It was just sprinkled on egg mayonnaise as a garnish. It still smelt spicy to me.

Cayenne seems to be a handy ingredient for vegetarian dishes so in two weeks we used the final 95% of the small vintage canister. When I opened a new jar I instantly twigged that we were dealing with a much livelier beast.

I was using our new slow cooker to make soup for Danny’s lunch using the Number 1 soup mix from the Daily Bread Cooperative and a lot of fresh vegetables. I reckoned that the smell would tantalise him for at least six hours and feed us the day after. I reined in my newly acquired Cayenne habit and only added a teaspoonful from the new jar.

I got a call mid afternoon.
“The soup was great. The first mouthful was absolutely delicious. During the second, a hot sensation developed in the back of my throat. By the third, my taste buds were cauterised. What did you put in it?”
Danny doesn’t do ultra spicy. Especially chillies. They make him break out in a sweat and result in massive restaurant-silencing hiccups.

“Just a half teaspoonful of Cayenne.”
“I like Cayenne. What else is in there? In any case, I’ve had three bowls of it since two o’clock. And lots of water.”
“Great. Did you know that Cayenne pepper is made from chillies?”
“Oh . .”

On Friday I made the soup again substituting the tin of tomatoes with some passata that was knocking about in the fridge. I reckoned that this would make a much classier soup. I only added I added a half teaspoon of cayenne (standard measuring spoon rather than the large teaspoon that is used to make the tea and coffee that is always knocking about on the side). I was surprised when no call came.

So I rang home. I knew from the pause that all was not well at Skinflint Towers.
“The soup was OK. The chilli was just right.”
“What’s wrong with the soup then?”
“The passata isn’t nearly as good as the tinned tomatoes. The soup’s much thicker. I enjoyed it but you’ll see when you get home.”

Even before taking off my jacket I lifted the lid of the slow cooker and tasted the soup. It was dull. What on earth was I going to do with 1.5 litres of boring soup? The dogs loved a generous dollop on their supper but there must be some way of pulling the soup around.

The next morning I woke to a miserable wet day. The soup was still lurking in the slow cooker. Then I remembered the recipe that Kay Sexton had left in the comments section of the Spicy Creole bean and summery vegetable soup recipe. A slit pea and vegetable soup with frankfurter sausages.

At lunch time I heated up two bowls of the soup and added 3 frankfurters chopped into coins (Waitrose sells a pack of ten for about £1.60 with far less additives and E numbers than the ones in the jars). The transformation was remarkable. The combination wonderful. The photo messy but snapped mid meal when I realised we were on to a winner. Thanks Kay, you made my weekend.

The slow cooker chef: Carnivore on a budget soup recipe


  • 220g of Daily Bread organic soup mix no 1 (green and red lentils, mung beans, pot barley, split, green peas). This does not need to be soaked just simmered for about 40 mins (conventional cooking) or left for 6-7 hours or so in the slow cooker. Cerreto make similar mixes at three times the price.
  • 400ml of passata
  • 1 fat leek (washed and sliced – not the rough green end)
  • 1 romano pepper, deseeded and sliced fine
  • 1 fat clove of garlic chopped fine
  • 4-5 sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 pints/900 ml of stock made with boiling water and 2 vegetable stock cubes. Homemade stock would be better if available
  • 3 medium tomatoes sliced
  • 1 large onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 0.5 tsp of fresh cayenne powder
  • 1 continental spring onion sliced
  • 2 good pinches of decent mixed herbs (or a dessertspoonful of good fresh herbs chopped)
  • 6-8 Frankfurter sausages, sliced into coins, added an hour or so before the end – if slow cooking.


  1. Slice all the ingredients and put them into the slow cooker.
  2. Add the boiling stock, garlic, herbs and cayenne. Stir well and leave for at least 7 hours on the low setting.
  3. Add the frankfurter sausages an hour before the end. Serve in warm bowls with crusty bread on the side.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda

    I haven’t got a meal plan yet. Although I think that it would be a good idea. However, the fridge seems to be far less full and I’m using everything that I buy rather than having ‘food in waiting’. We are eating “veggie” every other day now and losing weight without dieting.

    Skinflint towers is apposite at the moment. Even the dogs are eating pulses mixed into their meat topping and loving it.

    I like chillies too.

    Hi Hank

    I like hot food but am in a minority.

    1979 cayenne – very delicate flavour!

  2. Ha! I thought the English had overcome their aversion to hot food when the Raj ended and curry became a national dish? I grow a dozen varieties and my Mexican friends grow several dozen more. Can’t get enough of them.

    And cayenne from 1979? Wow. I’m speechless.

  3. I’m glad you’re having fun with it. For the first few days it felt like a strict diet for me, because of the meal plan. I’m finding that restrictive so not sure how long I’ll be able to stick with it. Perhaps I should do meal plan but not feel like a failure for changing elements of it. So far I’ve only made changes to use up leftovers or food on the turn, which will only help with the main aim.

    …and I love the name Skinflint Towers –

    ….and I REALLY love chillies. We use less now because the children eat what we eat but H & I often add extra chilli to our food.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate

    Yes a combination of smaller beans and lentils would work, plus some barley. It’s basically a meal packed with slow release energy.

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Hi Amanda

    I hate to admit it but I’m having fun with this budget project! Thinking ‘around the box’ as Danny says.

    Hi KJ

    felt for you when you were in India – with all that spicy food.

    I have been investigating spice mixes this week and will be blogging them soon.

    Hello Kate(uk)

    Chillies are packed with good stuff to perk up the system. Great for depression and stress and loads of other ailments. Check out the benefits here

    Frankfurters, on the other hand, are dubious when it comes to health but are 100% in the happiness stakes 😉

    Hi Pat

    The cayenne was barely discernable in the soup!

    Hi Kay

    Your idea was great. The builders at work were fighting for a taste!

    I™ve never used soup mix before but thought that I™d give them a whirl as I imagined that they would pad out the vegetables a bit and might taste good. I prefer our Creole bean soup to this one as I™m getting a bit bored with lentils. Frankfurters would be great in the Creole one too.

  5. Kay Sexton

    I’m very glad to have been of service – I’m a bit of a non-fan of soup mix myself, so maybe I’ll have to give it another try using your recipe!

  6. Sounds yummy but would cut back on the cayenne just a bit. I like spice but not hot.

  7. Kate(uk)

    Chllies are just impossible for me- I really don’t understand their appeal. Frankfurters in soups are another matter altogether….

  8. I feel Danny’s pain. I don’t do ultra spicy either. This is a great save. Frankfurters are always a winner.

  9. In our eyes you are a Soup Saving Super Hero!

  10. This sounds like a good cold-weather soup. I imagine I could just use a mix of the lentils and beans, since I don’t know of this soup mix.

    I am freezing, so the thought of cayenne pepper is quite a delightful one!

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