Anna Clayton column

Lancaster Guardian columnist, Anna Clayton.

Lancaster Guardian columnist, Anna Clayton.

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National Soup Day falls on February 4 and in Lancaster a group of soup-fanatics hope to host an annual soup celebration- starting in February 2016.

To help celebrate soup this year, Lancaster’s Soup Dragon has written this week’s local food column.

“Why is soup so great?

“Its souper (best get that pun out of the way!)

“It’s delicious – so many fabulous flavours to choose from.

“One pot cooking - makes for a quick and easy meal. “Most soups freeze well too.

“Up your five-a-day. An easy way to get at least two of the five portions of fruit and veg nutritionists recommend.

“Price – make your own very cheaply.

“What better thing to come home to on a cold, winter’s day than a toasty fire and a warm, comforting bowl of soup.

“You could just open a tin or tip out a pot of supermarket soup, but you really can’t beat fresh, homemade soup – so much fresher, tastier and healthier.

“Soup is regarded as one of the oldest cooked foods.

“Soups feature in all the world’s cuisines - soups, broths, potages, chowders, clear soups, cold soups, even sweet soups.

“The list is endless and this versatility means you really can make soup from whatever you have to hand.

“So just take a look at what is left in the fridge.

“Soup making is great for using up veg that have past their best.

“Alternatively, see what’s on offer at your local market.

“Why not roast some extra veg when the oven is on?

“Roasting vegetables gives a soup an extra intensity and depth of flavour.

“For example, at Lancaster Soup Dragon we use roasted root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes), together with fresh herbs, in our ‘Herby Underground’ soup.

“Adding herbs and spices is a great way to provide extra flavour and interest, and by chucking in a few chick peas or lentils you can create a ‘whole meal soup’.

“One of the most popular soups on our stall is ‘Spicy Moroccan’, a flavoursome and sustaining soup which incorporates chickpeas, couscous and homemade harissa (a spicy paste).

“Finally, for added impact add a simple garnish - a dollop of soured cream, a splash of chilli oil or a scattering of home-baked croutons can make a good soup sensational.

“And don’t forget, just like a dog isn’t only for Christmas, a soup isn’t just for National Soup Day.

“There’s a soup for every occasion and season.

“So join us in celebrating this soup-erior food throughout the year.”