Saturday 13th July 2024

Comforting winter soups: using up your store cupboard essentials


Making your own warming soup is a great way of using up basic store cupboard ingredients and/or leftovers. It’s a simple way of packing in some extra nutrition, too. All you need is a big saucepan and a blender or food mixer, and you’re ready to go. My recipes feed three/four hungry people and are great for freezing, too. I have used Sainsbury’s prices as an indication of the cost of each recipe. Measures are deliberately not precise – just use what you have.

Spicy lentil and tomato soup


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  • Cooking oil (£1.30/500ml Olive Oil, Sunflower & Extra Virgin)
  • 1 onion (chopped) for each recipe (loose onions 70p/kg)
  • 2 red chillies (chopped) (50p/60g). If you only have green lentils, use those but allow longer to cook
  • Garlic cloves, 1 or 2 per recipe, according to preference (basics garlic 35p/pack of two)
  • Seasoning: salt, pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube per recipe (65p for box of 10)
  • Dried red lentils (£1.10/500g)
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (30p/400g)
  • Spoonful of soured cream or crème fraîche to serve (optional) (60p/150ml)


Begin by oiling the bottom of a large saucepan and heat. Add a chopped onion, two chopped red chillies, chopped garlic and seasoning. Crumble one stock cube to a pint of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add to the pan. Stirring the ingredients, pour in a cup of dried red lentils. Simmer until the red lentils have softened. Empty the chopped tomatoes into the pan. Leave to cool then blitz in a blender. I like to leave the soup on the chunky side but you can keep going until it’s smooth, if you prefer. Reheat before serving, then add a generous dollop of soured cream on the top. This recipe works well with added chopped bacon or chorizo, too.

Sweetcorn and smoked paprika soup


  • Cooking oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • Seasoning: salt, pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube per recipe (65p for box of 10)
  • 400g can of sweetcorn or leftover corn on the cobs (2 cans – 30p/200g each)
  • A generous pinch of paprika – I prefer smoked as the flavour works so well (£1/44g) but use whatever you have


In your oiled saucepan, brown the chopped onion and add in the garlic and seasoning. Drain the sweetcorn and pour into the pan, followed by a vegetable stock cube dissolved in a pint of water. Simmer until sweetcorn is heated through. Whizz the cooled mixture until smooth in a blender, and serve with a good sprinkling of black pepper.

Comforting carrot and potato soup

A simple recipe for using up leftover potatoes and carrots after your Sunday roast.


  • 1 vegetable stock cube (65p for box of 10)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • Four large carrots (chopped) (60p/1kg)
  • Two large potatoes (peeled and chopped) (60p/1kg)
  • Seasoning: black pepper
  • Crusty bread (optional extra)


If cooking from fresh, add a stock cube into a saucepan of water, pop in your chopped onion, four large chopped carrots and two large peeled and chopped potatoes and heat until the ingredients are soft. Purée in a blender and serve with plenty of black pepper and some crusty bread.

Clare Lawrence

Mouthy Blogger

Clare Lawrence, nicknamed 'Coupon Clare' at college, lives mostly in Cornwall. Proud mum to Gregory, she'll stop at nothing in her quest to save cash!

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