MY daughter, Olivia, asked me: ‘How is it, Mum, you make such tasty soup?’ She lives alone and thinks making soup is a bit of a chore and too much work for a single person.

I love soup and find it very satisfying, especially at lunch time. The great thing is it fills you up and, if like me, you have realised that it’s time to tackle the weight gained over the winter, it is a great way to cut calories but still satisfy your hunger.

So, Olivia, here are your mother’s soup making tips. Dare I say it, easy peasy.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking mouldy old vegetables will make fresh tasty soup. They won’t. Use fresh ingredients.

Always add hot liquid to soups as you are cooking to keep soup fresh. Use homemade stock if possible, or a natural stock cube. Simple hot water can work just as well.

Add a potato or chopped celeriac to thicken soup rather than flour.

Don’t over-cook soup for freshest results. Add any herbs towards the end of cooking to keep the finished soup bright.

Season at the end of cooking. The stock can reduce and make the soup too salty. Use sea salt and fresh ground pepper for best flavour.

Use fresh herbs and crème fraîche or cream to add a touch of luxury.

Don't forget to freeze extra soup in batches on the day you make it for instant treats to be defrosted later on.


50g unsalted butter

1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced

2 sticks celery, peeled and finely sliced

1 large floury potato, King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled and diced

600ml hot vegetable stock or water

150g fresh watercress

Celery salt and a squeeze of lemon juice

Handful fresh sorrel or mint

Sea salt and black pepper

Crème fraîche or double cream

Melt the butter in a saucepan


Add the onions and celery and stir. With the lid on, sauté slowly over a low heat until the onions are soft and translucent, being careful not to brown.

Add the diced potatoes and the hot stock. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes soften.

Rinse the watercress, removing any tough stalks. Add to the soup and cook for 10 minutes.

Add a handful of sorrel or mint leaves and liquidise the soup until smooth.

Bring back to a simmer.

Add a pinch of celery salt and a squeeze of lemon juice add some more hot water if the soup is too thick.

Season and serve with a swirl of crème fraîche or double cream and a sprig of fresh mint.