White bean and chorizo soup: (Pictured) Add 1 teaspoon crushed garlic and 2 sliced chorizo sausages to almost-cooked onion (Step 1). Cook for 1-2 more minutes to brown chorizo. Add 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme and 1 teaspoon paprika. Use finely sliced celery and carrot as the vegetables. When vegetables are soft, add one 390g can cannellini beans (drained). Heat through and serve.
Cauliflower and bacon soup: Dice 3-4 rashers lean bacon. Add to onion (Step 1). Use 1 head of cauliflower and 2 potatoes as the vegetables. Simmer until soup has thickened. If you prefer a thicker, smoother soup, blend using a stick blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup grated edam cheese and serve as soon as cheese melts. Top with chopped fresh parsley.
Leek and potato soup: Add sliced leek and 1 teaspoon crushed garlic to onion (Step 1). Add 1 bay leaf to stock. For the vegetables, cook 3 large (or 4 medium) potatoes in boiling water until tender, drain then mash. When soup is cooked, remove bay leaf and add mashed potato. Stir well to combine. Add 1 cup trim milk and a little white pepper. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley and a little grated cheese.
Pumpkin soup: Add 1 teaspoon crushed garlic to onion (Step 1). Increase stock to 4 cups. Use 5 cups peeled, chopped pumpkin as the vegetables or include 1 large potato in the mix. Blend to a creamy consistency and add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg before serving with a little crispy bacon to garnish (optional).
Curried kumara soup: Add 1 teaspoon crushed garlic and 2 teaspoons curry powder (more if you like it hot) to softened onion (Step 1). Cook for 1 more minute to develop flavour. Use kumara or a kumara/potato mix as the vegetables. When cooked, blend to a creamy consistency then add 1 cup trim milk. Heat and serve topped with chopped fresh chives.
Pea and corn soup: Use 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and 1 1/2 cups frozen corn as the vegetables. Serve as is or blend for a thicker, creamier soup.
Hearty chicken and vegetable soup: Make Basic soup using chicken stock. Increase stock to 4 cups. To the vegetables, add 1/2 cup small pasta such as small macaroni or orzo and 1 large (or 2 medium) skinless chicken breasts. When pasta and vegetables are cooked, remove chicken and leave to cool for a few minutes. Shred and return meat to pot. Add 1 cup chopped spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve with a blob of basil pesto.
Minestrone: To the stock add 1/2 cup pasta shapes and cooked lean bacon. Add one 400g can chopped tomatoes or tomato purée and one 390g can red kidney or cannellini beans (drained) towards the end of cooking. Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
Lentil and vegetable soup: If a slightly curried flavour is preferred, add 1 tablespoon curry powder to cooked onion (Step 1). Replace 1 cup of the stock with one 400g can chopped tomatoes in juice. Add 1/2 cup red lentils when adding vegetables. Increase vegetables to at least 4 cups of colourful vegetables.
Broccoli and blue cheese soup: Make Basic soup increasing stock to 4 cups. Use 1 head of broccoli and 2 medium courgettes as the vegetables. When cooked, blend to a smooth consistency then add 100g crumbled blue cheese. Heat through. For a smoother soup, blend further. Serve with a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese over the top.