Sunday, 1 January 2012

Sweetcorn and Chilli Soup

The New Year has barely begun and I'm already worried that I've broken one of my New Year's resolutions.  This being the one about not eating the child's leftovers no matter how hungry I am nor how wasteful I might think it is to throw them away.

When I did WeightWatchers 15 years ago, I was childless, but still paid attention to the tips about not hoovering up leftovers and not licking cake bowls.  When I'm being good, the second I've taken the last useable scoop of goodness from a baking bowl, I immediately squirt Fairy round it to prevent any unnecessary licking.  I have, on occasions of desperation, tried to find a route between the random lines of  liquid to savour some of that uncooked cakey goodness (what cake doesn't taste better before it's been cooked??).  It always ends horribly and teaches me a lesson for being a lardy-whatsit.

Jabba the Hut (aged 20) and her Grandad
I really need to apply that same rule to the child's dinner plate.  There's only so much 'watch Mummy eat this one and then you eat one' that I can legitimately get away with.  That is why I have failed over the last year to lose any further weight.  I should know better.

Over these past fifteen years, my weight has yo-yo'd by a stone or two, but thankfully, I've never been in such a bad place that I've repeated the Jabba the Hut look that I was sporting aged 20.  

Me at my slimmest
I've also since discovered that diets just don't work for me. I need to eat healthily, but I need to enjoy what I eat and I need to exercise lots.  Whilst shedding the my Jabba jowls, I used to swim with my mum at the weekends and my reward would be scrambled eggs and bacon medallions.  It's amazing how many lengths I managed to clock up knowing that was what I would enjoy when I got home.

I find I run better when fuelled by a piece of coffee cake (not a regular occurrence!) or knowing that tea will be something really tasty with chorizo in it, that a diet definitely wouldn't allow.  I follow the 3, 4, 5 plus 2x1 principle.  300 cals for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 500 for tea and two snacks of 100 calories (or there abouts) plus cardio 4-5 times a week.  Touch wood, I will be back to my happy weight in the next couple of months.

Ingredients - I ski-ed slightly off piste here
I love nothing more than taking a recipe and working how I can make it fit into my healthy eating regime - although if it's something a bit naughty, I will either make it on a running day or eat a smaller portion with loads of veggies or salad (carrot cake with carrots on the side anyone?).  Hopefully this blog, which has been the cause of the recent ballooning will also help me back in the correct direction as I work my way through some healthy recipes and the odd cake here and there as a treat.

Back to my dilemma about whether or not I've eaten the child's leftovers.  For some reason, Ocado only sell massive tins of sweetcorn.  I opened a tin for her dinner the other night, only to be informed by the 'If-I-hide-my-eyes-then-the-dinner-will-magic-away' stance that sweetcorn is now off the menu for the foreseeable.  So it's been languishing in a tupperware box in the fridge for a couple of days.  Does that make it leftovers? Hopefully only to a pedant.

The idea of warm, tasty soup for lunch after a 3.5 miler at 7am was really appealing so I leafed through my cook books and a few blogs before happening on a suitable sweetcorn soup recipe in this month's edition of BBC Good Food mag - helpfully entitled 'The Healthy Issue'.

Finished soup
It was so easy to make, that the husband pottered into the kitchen while I was cooking and said 'Oh, you're not cooking so I'll do the washing up.'  I can only assume his usually super-astute powers of observation are still subject to a New Year's Eve hangover.

It's really tasty too.  It needed more salt in than I would've expected with the stock to balance the sweetness of the corn.  I used fresh stock left over from Christmas though and it's something I've never used before so maybe it's less salty than stock from cubes.  The parsley and lime gave it a lovely fresh taste and the chilli gave it the needed warmth.

Happy and will make it again.  It's also freezable and contains two of your five a day so all in all, a winning recipe.

 Please note, I even made the effort to use my proper camera today for the picture (mostly because my phone has died already)

Recipe - Serves 6 (they must use tiny bowls, I think 4 is more realistic)

  • 25g butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (I 1tsp used Very Lazy Chillies)
  • 800g frozen sweetcorn (I used tinned)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (I used chicken)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (I used lime)
  • 5tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra to serve (I used 2 tbsp Garden Gourmet in the soup and just used fresh to garnish as my little plant was looking a bit sad)

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onions for about 10 mins until nice and golden, stirring occasionally.  Add the chilli to the pan and fry for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally.  Add the corn, stock and some salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins until the corn is tender but still crisp.
  2. Transfer two-thirds of the soup to a blender and whizz to a coarse puree.  Add this back to the pan and stir in the lemon juice and parsley.  Season if needed.


  1. I do the same thing with the bowls straight in for washing up! Best diet tip ever. I can't wait to make soup as I feel huge. Happy 2012 .

  2. Oh yummmm! The new edition of Good Food has so many ace looking recipes in, my copy has post it notes sticking out at every angle and this is one of them. Definitely making it soon!


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