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Packed lunches: Winter Warming Soups

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packed lunches
There’s nothing like a piping hot mug of soup on a chilly day to bring a smile back to your face. Look forward to luscious, hassle free lunches by cooking up a big pot of soup you can spoon into a container and pop in your bag for the perfect lunchtime treat.

Not only is soup a decadent lunch choice, it’s also a nice and cheap one too. One pot will go a long way and if you like a little variety, you can always freeze extra portions so that you can mix and match your lunch choices. Save money over winter with some special soups and always check for cheap train tickets before your commute or trip. Read on and find out which soups are our favourites…

Tasty Thai Chicken and Sweet Potato

A sweet and tasty soup that’s sure to warm you up in a hurry, this is an ideal train companion for those who like their soup with a little kick. Pack a roll or some crusty bread for dipping or just pour yourself a good sized portion, it’s a whole meal in itself.

You’ll need:

• 1 25g packet of chopped coriander leaves
• 2 Chicken stock cubes making 750ml of stock
• 2 Skinless chicken breasts
• 500g Sweet potatoes
• ½ tsp Fish sauce
• 160ml Coconut cream
• 2tsp red Thai curry paste
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 cm Root ginger
• 1 Red chilli
• 1 Stalk lemongrass

Preparing your soup:

1. Chop your garlic, chilli, ginger an add to bashed lemongrass and coriander stalks. Heat in a saucepan with a little olive oil before adding your curry paste and cooking until it starts to smell lovely, this normally takes 2-3 minutes.
2. Next you can add the chicken stock along with your coconut cream and your roughly chopped sweet potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are soft, around 15 minutes or so.
3. Take it off the heat and transfer to a blender where you can whizz until it’s smooth, don’t forget to take out the lemongrass first, though.
4. Now you can return it to the saucepan and add your finely chopped chicken. Cook gently until the chicken is cooked, about 5-10 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with fish sauce for a lunchtime treat everyone will be jealous of.

Spicy Carrot and Lentil Soup

For a vegetarian soup that packs a punch, there are few better winter warmers than spicy carrot and lentil. Filling, homely and possessing some subtle tastes as well as a kick, this is a great way to make sure your lunch will get you through a chilly afternoon. Bring along a piece of naan bread for dipping and your dish is perfect.

You’ll need:

• 600g Carrots
• 140g Split red lentils
• 2 Vegetable stock cubes to make 1L stock
• 125ml Milk
• 2tsp Cumin seeds
• Pinch chilli flakes

1. Dry-fry chilli and cumin seeds in a large saucepan until they start to jump around the saucepan and smell amazing. Scoop out and set aside about half of your cumin.
2. Add your coarsely grated carrots along with the stock, milk and lentils and bring to the boil.
3. Simmer your mixture for about 15 minutes or until your lentils look nice and swollen.
4. You can use a one handed blender to smooth your soup or keep it chunky if you prefer.
5. Sprinkle your toasted cumin on the top and your soup is ready to rock.

Transporting your soup safely

One of the best ways of taking your soup on the train has to be in a thermos. These have come on a lot since the old days, now not only will they keep your soup piping hot all the way through to lunchtime, but you’ll find lots of them look pretty swish doing it too.

If you’d rather keep your soup cool and warm it up at work, make sure you buy some sturdy Tupperware. Screw tops are best for avoiding drips or seepages and choose a microwave-friendly brand to heat with the minimum of fuss.

Are you talented when it comes to dreaming up tasty soups? Do you have the perfect recipe for us to try? Leave us a comment and share your packed lunch skills…

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