Tag Archives: soup recipes

Soup (Book) Week: Magic Soup


Welcome back to Soup Week, where I review the 5 latest Soup Cookbooks I’ve read. Depending where you are, you may be still putting up with bitter cold… If things are looking up and getting warmer, chances are, it’s still a bit chilly, at least when the sun goes down. A nice bowl of soup is still a comforting way to get that chill out.

In case you missed it:


Magic Soup
by Nicole Pisani & Kate Adams 
(cookbook) – worth a flip

Isn’t the cover of this book just beautiful?! I was drawn to it. I am not sure where I found it; but it was not at my local library. I had it in hand and was determined to find some new-to-me-recipes.

I love the introduction and learned many things in this book! Like did you know that the “first restaurants in Paris served restauratifs (restoratives), in other words, bone broths”?

The title of this book came from the name of a soup made in Mauritius that women traditionally eat after the birth of a child to help her with the nutrition she needs to heal her body and be strong. But we all know that soup can be magical in its own right, the way it warms us, makes us feel comforted, basically nurturing and healing us from the inside out.

However, there were very few recipes in this cookbook that I can realistically see myself attempting to make. 😦

There are a few reasons for this. One is that this book was ultimately written for Brits, even though this version is adapted for an American audience. I know that shouldn’t be an excuse because I’ve overcome all of the odd-to-me (Australian) measurements in the best cookbook you’ve never read, fairly easily. The measurements have been adapted in this book, but are sometimes just odd… like 1 lb, 2 oz of tomatoes or 2 tbsp of quinoa.

Some of the ingredients are confusing or strange, too. I thought maybe 1 tbsp of tomato puree might actually be tomato paste because a lot of recipes only called for that amount. But then I ran into a recipe with an odd 10.5 oz amount of this ingredient.

Maybe I’m not open-minded enough to try some of the unusual ingredients, or maybe I’m just too lazy to search for them. Maybe if there was something that was totally intriguing or if I’d could make a variation or swap, I’d give it a go; but that didn’t happen so much as I flipped though the book. I mostly admired the photos! Although Nicole and Kate say that many of these ingredients can be found at specialty markets and online now, if I read one odd-ball ingredient, I pretty much admired the photo and moved on. Though, now that I’m sitting at a computer I can look a few of these items up!

Just to name a few of the bizarre ingredients:

  • lovage leaves – I’m finding fennel leaves as substitute, but that’s not something I’d normally buy either
  • white miso paste
  • one green chile – this could mean anything!
  • black onion seeds
  • calçot onions
  • sumac
  • nettle tops
  • sundried tomato puree – they make this? or is this sundried tomato pesto?
  • Hojicha green tea
  • umeboshi plum
  • lily bulb flakes
  • samphire
  • asafetida (To be fair, this was listed as an optional ingredient, so it shouldn’t deter me from making the recipe. It was the mung beans that did.)
  • chicory heads
  • curry leaves – I thought curry wasn’t actually a spice, but a spice blend or dish?! I didn’t know these existed.
  • air-dried mountain ham – I’ll just go out back to my mountain and get this. (Joking, I am pretty sure I could have substituted prosciutto here.)
  • runner beans
  • umami paste

Most of the recipes call for hot stock. I’m not sure why the stock has to be hot before adding it to the other ingredients. It was never explained.

Recipes I do want to try from this cookbook, though, include:

  • Greens & Grains – I can see this one as being highly adaptable
  • Herb Soup – This is one of the few that looks so easy! Stock, rice, mixed herbs, soy sauce or lemon juice. Done. No wasted herbs ever again.
  • Magic Soup – I have to try this namesake of this book!
  • Garlic Soup – I tried one version of this {see above from 300 Sensation Soups!} and it was horrible. Here’s to giving it another shot!
  • Portuguese Chicken, Lemon & Mint – As far as herbs go, mint is not one I usually buy or grow. But I am intrigued here.

If you are really adventurous in the kitchen and want to amp up your soup game, this book might be for you! I’m sure that I’d go crazy over many of these soups if I’d had them in a restaurant or someone else had served them to me; but creating them with some of these unfamiliar and intimidating ingredients is what’s holding me back.

UPDATE: I did make a couple of soups from Magic Soup before I published this post!

Portuguese Chicken, Lemon & Mint Soup

This soup was so good and refreshing! I was just wanting some extra veg like carrots or celery. It’s quite low cal and the servings seem small until you start shoveling in that quinoa that falls to the bottom. 😉


Greens & Grains Soup (no photo)

This soup didn’t come out at all like I had expected. By the time the farro was finished, there really wasn’t any broth left, making it not much of a soup. I did end up adding a little later, but still ate this “soup” with a fork! However, I still loved the extremely nutty flavor I got from the farro, tahini and almonds. I’ve never had anything like it! If I made this again this is what I would change:

  • I would add more hot broth and/or water after the farro is cooking to make it more of a soup.
  • Instead of topping the soup with kale or spinach, I would put the greens at the bottom of the bowl and top with soup so that the greens have time to wilt.
  • I’d add some any other leftover veg I had on hand, perhaps carrots, zucchini or bell peppers.


I now have all the ingredients to make this soup’s namesake. I’ll report back as soon as I do so.

What new-to-you ingredients have you shied away from or are happy you tried?