The Cottage Smallholder

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The ten minute soup challenge: Low fat spicy tomato and courgette soup recipe

spicy tomato soup“What do you think galengal tastes like?”
My mum shrugged. “I would leave it if I was you.”
I was examining the spices to add to our ten minute soup.
So I put back the galengal and grabbed a small jar of Massaman Thai curry paste. This includes a lot of the ingredients that I use for our soup all in one jar – chilli, lemon grass, tamarind, corrriander and a few others such as shrimp and cumin. Galengal has a small walk on part too.

We don’t eat soup every day for lunch. Sometimes we still eat a surreptitious sandwich (granary bread Cashel Blue cheese and lettuce was a particularly good recent one). But when I do make soup it’s a great low fat alternative to a sandwich, satisfying, packed with loads of vegetables and so delicious that we always have a couple of small bowls each.

I make a good strong stock with the bones from the belly or loin of pork that we buy to make bacon. This bubbles away in the slow cooker(crock pot) for hours and the dogs eat the vegetables as a topping on their complete food (with the exception of the onion).

Then it’s a question of balancing the vegetables and the spices. The courgette took the sharpness away from the tomatoes and basil (a handful of frozen sweetcorn does the same). The noodles (ideally thin egg noodles) add a neutral dimension that counters the heat of the spices and doesn’t have Danny reaching for the bread knife. The trick is to keep tasting and adjusting.

Why not try the challenge? It’s fun.

The secret is the stock. You can make your own. Why not get some good tips here from Hank. Joanna gave me one of the best tips that I have ever had when she suggested keeping the skins on onions when you make a stock – these give a good colour and flavour. Joanna’s general stock making tips are on this post.

The ten minute element of this challenge is good. There is no time for dilly dallying over the soup pot. I work out what the key ingredients are when I’m painting in the morning and then line up my spices and veg. When I set the timer, there’s always an element of desperate bravado. Sometimes in the heat of the moment I discover a great combination that would have passed me by if I’d had time to think. Setting a time limit is fun with surprisingly good results.

Galengal is on the list for this week.

Old fashioned energy saving tip:

I choose a pot that is the right size to accommodate our soup bowls as a lid. When the soup is finished, I set the bowls on top when I go upstairs to call Danny down for lunch. Warm bowls for free! In the past we switched on the oven to heat up the plates – oooops!

Spicy tomato and courgette soup recipe


  • 1 litre of good stock, chilled and fat removed (water with 3 stock cubes would do at a pinch)
  • 1 fat clove of garlic chopped fine (1 tsp of garlic granules would do)
  • 10-12 small fresh plum tomatoes (sliced and halved)
  • 3 continental spring onions sliced(the fat ones)
  • 1 small courgette chopped
  • 1 large handful of fine egg noodles
  • 3 tsp of Massaman Thai curry paste
  • 1 tsp of lemon grass
  • Small handful of basil chopped fine (about 2 tblsp of unchopped basil)
  • quarter tsp of chopped red chilli
  • 1 tsp of vegetable stock powder (optional – this can pull a soup up by its laces in 30 seconds)
  • 1 heaped tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • Good twist of freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat your stock in a large casserole whilst you prepare your vegetables.
  2. Add the spices and vegetables and simmer for a few minutes until the tomatoes have softened.
  3. Add the fine egg noodles. Stir and leave for three minutes
  4. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve in warm bowls.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Angela

    I’m intrigued by this. Can’t wait to give it a go!

  2. Angela Connolly

    Even better, singe the root and the tip of the onion in the fire before adding it, skins intact, to your soups !!! Now you HAVE flavour ….

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Pat

    Thanks for filling me in with the taste of galengal. We are having fun with the soup challenge. Danny is going to India on business soon and I have been exercising his taste buds. He’s planning to buy spices in the market!

    Hi Sharon

    We cook for our chickens too but read the comments as you have to be very careful about keeping your vegetables well away from any meat (particularly chicken).

    We give our dogs the vegetables from our stock making session (I do toss out the onion as it’s so strong). The chicken food is prepared well away from any meat but it has made a big dent on the chicken feed bill 🙂

  4. Sharon

    Your comment about leaving onion skins on when making stock reminded me of a pet theory I have never yet tested; that stock making wasn’t just about using up the carcases but about using the parings of vegetables, too. I couldn’t see the point of boiling up whole veg and then discarding them when the stock was strained. I plan to try scrubbing my carrots before peeling and then using the parings, onion skins, ends of celery etc to see if it is still flavoursome. I find my chickes will only eat carrot if it is cooked, so I can treat them and make a stock from waste that would otherwise be composted.

  5. The soup sounds really yummy!!!! Nice and light for summer too. I think Galengal tastes a bit like ginger just for future reference.

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