Every year at this time, we have the usual shot lettuce standing three foot tall, courgettes needing eaten and a row of onions that are practically getting up and walking off the soil themselves.

 That generally means that the soup pot is on the stove, using up our leftover vegetables, before they rot or are chucked to the hens.
Here are a few tried and tested soup recipes that you can’t go wrong with.
Even though hot lettuce soup sounds rather unappetising, I can assure you, it is the pick of the bunch for taste. And so easy to make – don’t worry if you don’t have sweet potatoes to hand, it tastes great without it. (This recipe has been printed before, and I always get requests for it to be printed again).
The courgette and parmesan recipe came to us courtesy of Douglas Boatman, (our gardening correspondent) who knows a thing or two about good food.
I even went to the trouble of taking pictures of our first foray into courgette soup. It was delicious, and even though we didn’t have parmesan, a good Scottish cheddar did a fine job of filling in.
And finally, French onion soup, which always conjures up images of autumnal evenings, with a chill in the air – which sounds just about right for the current climate.
And the joy of making soup is, it isn’t a very specific process, what you don’t have you won’t miss, and what you do have, you can just chuck in the pot and hope for the best.

This is a super quick and easy recipe, which can be stored in the fridge for later use. Don't worry if you don't have parmesan to hand, a good Scottish cheddar will do the job just the same. This recipe was sent to us by our gardening correspondent, Douglas Boatman, a man who knows a thing or two about good food.

Courgette and parmesan soup


500 g courgettes – sliced

1 medium onion – chopped

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

1 litre veg or chicken stock

75g grated Parmesan cheese (approx)


Saute courgette and onion in the oil

Cover pan and allow to sweat for a couple of mins.

Add stock and seasoning and cook until soft (20 mins approx)

Blend or liquidise until smooth

Check seasoning and add parmesan a few minutes before serving, allowing it to blend into the soup

Garnish as required and serve.

Hot Lettuce Soup


1 large iceberg lettuce

200g (8oz) potatoes

1 medium sweet potato (optional)

1 medium-sized onion

10ml/1 olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

10g (½ oz) of chives (or a small bunch)

Freshly ground black pepper


1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken stock

450ml (¾ pint) milk

275ml (½ pint) single cream


Peel and finely chop the onion and soften with a spoon of oil in a saucepan. Cover the pan, lower the heat and put the lid on the pan to help the onions to sweat and soften.

Peel and chop the potatoes and the sweet potato (if you are using) into cubes about half an inch to an inch thick (about 2cm cube). Place into a bowl and set to one side.

Shred the lettuce. You can remove the outer leaves if you wish to make sure your lettuce is clean, but this isn’t necessary.

Place all your vegetables into the pan with the onions – making sure to place your potatoes at the bottom, as they take longest to cook. At this point the pan will be full to the brim, but just pour in all your stock. Also add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper (to taste) before putting the lid back on the pan. Leave to sweat down and reduce for five to 10 minutes.

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Purée by either placing the mixture into a liquidiser and blitzing the mixture until smooth. Once smooth, return to the heat and add the milk and cream, mixing thoroughly into your soup. Reheat gently and serve.

The approximate calorie intake is 600 calories per pot or 100 calories per bowl (with just milk); with cream add another 400 calories on the first total – so about 160 calories per bowl.

Reipe courtesy of the Allotment Vegetable Growing website

French onion soup 


6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.

Olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)

1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme

Salt and pepper

8 slices of toasted French bread

A good handfull of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese.


In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelisation.

Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish.

Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese.

Put into the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Recipe courtesy of Simplyrecipes.com