Soup it up as winter chill is still in the air!

That warm-you-right-up goodness of a steaming bowl of soup is the perfect way to end a busy day in the chilly air. In fact, for many it’s the perfect winter comfort food no matter whether they’ve spent a winter’s day outside climbing a hillside or curled up inside with a good book.

Although many of us think that great soup is only served in restaurants like those at Granny Mouse – or difficult to prepare so best purchased from a supermarket or deli, it is a lot easier than you think.

According to culinary artist Theo Mannie of Granny Mouse, it could be as easy as cooking up some of your favourite winter vegetables or even using up leftovers to create a wholesome and easy-to-reheat meal for later in the week. Then there are those tummy warmers that have more exotic ingredients.

At the end of the day, though, the secret is in the seasoning.

To get you started, Theo is sharing two of the Granny Mouse favourites – a hearty and healthy soup inspired by the flavours of the sea and a soup based on one of the staple veggies that we nearly always have in our pantries – the good old onion.

For a wholesome evening meal, he swears by this delicious French Onion Soup (simple but moreish) as well as the ever popular Seafood Chowder with Chorizo which captures the richness of the sea. Both can be served with fresh crusty bread from your nearest bakery.

French Onion Soup


1kg onions, sliced
200g butter
1 pinch mixed herbs
1L chicken stock
1 clove of garlic finely diced
Grated cheese, preferably a strong smocked cheese


Using a heavy based pot, melt the butter on low heat. Place all the onions together with the garlic into the pot and allow to sauté till golden brown, turning only occasionally. This should take about 45min. Pour in the stock until the onions are just about covered, add a pinch of mixed herbs and cook for about 30min.

Cover a couple of stale bread slices with the grated cheese. Place under a grill until the cheese becomes golden brown.

Serves 4.

Seafood Chowder with Chorizo


200g butter fish cut into cubes
100g calamari cut into cubes
100g mussels
200g smoked kippers
200g hake cut into cubes
100g chorizo diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1L milk
100g flour
2 bay leaves
200g butter, plus 100g extra for cooking
1 stick celery diced
1 onion diced
200ml white wine
1tsp peppercorns
10g fennel flowers
Salt and pepper


Place the kippers, peppercorns and bay leaves in a pot. Pour the milk until the fish is completely covered. Cook on low heat for about 5min, but do not boil. Strain the milk and set aside both the fish and milk separately.

Pour the wine into a sauce pot and allow to come to a boil. Once this has happened, add the mussels to the pot, cover and cook for 3min, strain and set both aside.

In a heavy based pot, sauté off the onions, celery and chorizo with 1100g butter on medium heat for about 5min until the vegetables begin to get soft. Place the rest of the butter in the pot, add the flour a little at a time stirring constantly until the flour has dissolved and combined forming a paste.

Pour in the wine from the mussels, continue to cook and stir until all the liquid has been completely absorbed. Once this has happened, begin to pour the milk from the kippers. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce no longer has a taste of flour.

Once this has happened and there are no lumps, add all the seafood except the mussels. Reduce the heat and cook until all the fish is ready. Chop the fennel and add it to the pot together with the mussels. Season to taste and serve with some warm bread.

Serves 4.

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