Soups & Starters

John Cage’s Mushroom Dogsup

John Cage once read in a book that “catsup” is a thin liquid. So, as he likes it thick, he calls his recipe “dogsup.” This can be done with any kind of edible mushroom and must be kept at least a year before being used.

Ginger root
Bay leaf
Black pepper

Break the mushroom caps in small bits; slice the stem. Place in an earthenware jar with 1 tablespoon of salt for each pound of mushrooms. Let stand in a cool place for 3 days, stirring and mashing several times a day. On the third day, put over a low fire, in an enamel or Pyrex pan, until the juices flow freely. This takes about ½ hour. At that moment, a “catsup” is strained through a sieve; the “dogsup” is just mashed. Simmer for 20 more minutes. Measure the mash, add to each half pint: 1 ounce ginger root, chopped or grated; a blade of mace; a bay leaf, broken up; a pinch of cayenne; 1 ounce each of black pepper and allspice. Boil down to half the quantity. Add, for each half pint, a teaspoon of the best brandy. Bottle, cork, and seal.

Lesley Handford’s Mackerel Pâté

Hannah Cull’s Muhummara (roasted red pepper & walnut dip)

3 red peppers
50g fresh breadcrumbs
a handful of walnuts
2/3 cloves of garlic
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 dried red chilli
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2(ish) tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 (ish) tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 200C. Put the peppers on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are cooked and the skin is blackened. Put the peppers in a bowl, cover with cling-film and, once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin and seeds.  Put the peppers in a food processor, add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, molasses, cumin, chilli and garlic.

Stir through the walnuts, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and the olive oil. Add more pomegranate molasses and salt to taste.


Marjolein’s Leak Soup

Wash 3 leaks and cut into chunks after removing the dark green

2 handfuls of oat flakes
Optional sprinkle of aniseed seeds or basil to your taste
Pepper and salt
Water or bouillon


Cook on a low heat for 30 minutes

Blend the mixture then sieve to remove remaining debris

Serve with a dollop of sour cream

Bjorn Ekstrom’s Potato and Leek Soup

5-6 potatoes
1 leek
2 big yellow onions
1 cube of vegetable boullion
2 dl or 7 oz of cream
white pepper
olive oil
7 dl or 24 oz of water

Peel and chop the potato and the onion.
Fry the potato and the onion in a pot with oil.
Split and rinse the leek. Chop it into small pieces.
Fry the leek together with the potato and the onion.
Pour water into the pot, add the boullion and let it boil.
When the soup is boiling, pour the cream into the pot and let the soup cook until the potato gets soft.

Add salt and pepper.

Serve with brown bread and milk.

Boris Karloff’s Guacamole Boris Karloff

2 avocados
1 med. tomato, chopped fine
1 small onion minced
1 tbsp. chopped canned green chilles
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. sherry
Dash cayenne, optional
Salt, pepper

Peel and mash avocados. Add tomato, chilles, then stir in lemon juice, sherry and seasonings to taste, blending well.

Serve as a dip for tortilla pieces or corn chips or as a canapé spread. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

Eddie Nuttall’s Cider and Red Onion Soup

Ingredients (Serves 2):

1 x Red Onion
1 x Vegetable Stock Cube
2 x Cans of Cider (doesn’t have to be fancy (Strongbow, Magners, etc.). However, do not use White Ace or White Lightning or similar, this is not a good thing to put into your body under any circumstances)
Salt/sugar/mixed herbs to taste
Olive Oil

1. Chop red onion into small rings
2. Heat a blob of olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions
3. When onions are translucent (but not browned), add the cider and the stock cube
4. Simmer on a medium heat for roughly 20-30mins. At around the 15-20min mark the cider should start to reduce and the alcohol should have evaporated. This sometimes takes slightly longer, so taste the mixture periodically. When the alcohol has evaporated, add the salt/sugar/mixed herbs depending on your taste (it’s trickier to gauge the overall flavour before the alcohol has gone)
5. Continue to simmer until the soup has reduced to a nice, thicker consistency
6. Serve in a back garden with black pepper and interesting bread. Note pinkish colouration from the onions.
The means are slightly crooked, but the end results are amazing.

Zahra Mani’s Summer Soup/Pistou

Pistou is French for “Pesto” – this soup is a celebration of home-grown
summer vegetables and olive oil…

Soak about 300 g of dried beans (according to taste) in cold water over
night. (You could use tinned beans if you really must).

The next day, chop up 3 or 4 small-ish, freshly picked courgettes, 3 or 4
waxy new potatoes, fresh broad beans (all to about half-inch cubes or slices),
and a de-seeded tomato.

Heat a dash of olive oil in a large pot, add all the above (having drained
the dried beans), along with a big sprig of fresh basil, and stir gently
before covering with cold water. Let it come to the boil, then simmer until
the potatoes and beans are cooked – the courgettes shouldn’t be too soft.
While the soup is cooking, use a blender to purify as much fresh basil as
you can find with 2 cloves of garlic and the de-seeded flesh of 2 oxheart
(cuore di bue) tomatoes, a generous pinch of sea-salt and a really generous
glug of best extra-vergin olive oil. This is the pistou.

Salt the soup. Then, to serve, pour the pistou into the soup at the table,
and eat with toasted bread with olive oil. Accompanied by a nice crispy
young white wine.

Christian Fennesz’s Chicken Soup

Free Range corn fed chicken breast and legs
Parsley root and leaves
Red and yellow carrots
A couple of small tomatoes
One large red onion
Salt and pepper

Chop onion in half and place in a large saucepan (like a woman’s breasts).
Heat on stove until brown.
Halve the other vegetables and add to the pan.
Throw in the parsley.
Add 2 litres of water to the pan.
Add the chicken.
Gently cook for 3 hours.

Optional: add noodles/dice vegetables.

As you serve, chop ingredients into smaller pieces and add liquid and noodles if required.

Marjolein Kuijsten’s Leftovers Soup

[From dinner eaten on April 1st 2011…]

In a saucepan, bung together:

leftover rice
sajoer (mixed veg & spices and coconut milk)

add water and/or more coconut milk and part of a tablet of mushroom bouillon

heat well and devour

Sampled and enjoyed on April 3rd 2011

Mike Harding’s Courgette Soup

5 courgette plants are getting ready to deliver their crop in the Touch garden… there will be far too many to eat daily, so I had a look at freezing them, but apparently they go a bit squishy when defrosted. So I investigated a courgette soup recipe… either this or lucky neighbours!


2 lbs (900 g) courgettes
½ lb (225 g) potatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 onion
1½ pints (900 ml) water or white vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper (best is Madagascan pepper – thanks, Philip!)
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 tablesepoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 oz (56 g) grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons cream


Wash the courgettes and chop into chunks. Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes.
Peel and slice the onion. Crush the garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Lightly fry for about 5 minutes to soften.
Add the potatoes to the pan, cover with half of the stock or water, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes until half-cooked..
Add the courgette chunks, salt and pepper to taste, chopped oregano and basil and the rest of the stock or water, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fully cooked.
Either rub through a sieve or put through a blender to make a smooth pureee.
Return to a clean pan, re-heat and add the cream, grated parmesan and chopped chives without boiling.

Serve immediately with a sprinkling of cheese on the top of the bowls.
Serves 4.

Sohrab’s Yoghourt Borrani

spinach 500grams
plain yoghurt 1 pack
garlic 1-2 slices
spring onion 1 branch (optional)

This is a very easy quick and yummy to make side dish. its best for summer night dinners!
Wash the spinach and put it in a pot, add some salt and let it cook by itself without adding oil or water. Spinach is a juicy vegetable and we cook it until it lost its water! then put it in a bowl and let it go cold while chopping your garlic.

Add the yoghurt, chopped garlic, and some black pepper to the spinach and mix it well, put it in the fridge for half an hour and then bring it on the table! you can make decorate it with some rose also (also dried rose)

Parker’s Onion Soup

30g or 1oz of butter
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
675g or 1½ lbs of onions, halved, and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic crushed
½ teaspoon of caster sugar
1 litre or 1¾ pints of vegetable stock (I always use marigold stock powder)
2 teaspoons of yeast extract or marmite
290ml or ½ pint of dry white wine

Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and sugar and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes, or even longer, stirring from time to time until the onions are soft and richly caramelized.

Add the stock, yeast extract and wine and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and leave to simmer for a further 30 minutes.

The onions never go totally brown, but you want them really really soft and gooey and sticky. The tiny amount of sugar helps them go a bit darker.

The yeast extract makes the soup go much more brown, after cooking for 30 minutes. But never dark brown.

Michael Esposito’s Mormon Funeral Potatoes

There are many versions of Funeral Potatoes. Some recipes call for putting cheese (about 1 cup of Cheddar, American or whatever you like) in the potato mixture and using buttered bread crumbs for the topping.

1 1/2 lbs frozen hash brown potatoes, preferrably southern-style diced ones
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of celery soup (or cream soup of your choice)
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of potato soup
3/4 cup milk
1 pint sour cream
Grated parmesan cheese and butter for topping

Heat over to 350 degrees F.

Mix all the ingredients except cheese and butter, and pour into a shallow baking dish. Top generously with cheese and dot with bits of butter. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pascal Wyse’s Fried White-truffle Eggs

First you need to hunt down an Italian white truffle, tuber magnatum. For this you will need a dog that has been trained to get very excited at the smell of one. Pigs get excited, but they are harder to wrestle away from the treasure when they find it. You also need to know where to look, which is still a bit of a mystery to be honest (Plutarch decided they occur where lightning meets thunder, if that helps). To save time, buy one in a shop, at mind-boggling expense.

Really you should eat it as soon as possible, but if you can bear the wait, place the truffle in an airtight container in the fridge, accompanied by a few eggs and some unsalted butter out of its wrapping. Leave overnight and they will absorb a little of the smell.

Before you cook, bring the eggs to come back to room temperature out of the fridge. Melt some of the butter until it starts to foam a little, then add the eggs. You can fry them, but to preserve every bit of the aphrodisiac perfume, cover the pan and use a low heat. Serve on a hot plate, add salt and grate (using a truffle slicer or a potato peeler) enough tuber magnatum over them to disguise the fact that they are eggs.

Stick your head right over the plate, take a very deep breath through your nose, then eat.

Stephen O’Malley’s AXA9LING’s Edemame Humous of the Gods

1 bag frozen shelled edamame
2 tbs peanut oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
salt & pepper
3 scallions
chunk of fresh ginger, chopped

Boil the edamame for 4-5 minutes, then drain.
Put the scallions and ginger in a food processor and mince very fine.
Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
Add more rice vinegar, salt and pepper to taste

The original recipe has much more oil but I don’t think you need it.
If the hummus is too thick without the oil, add a little water.

Phill Niblock’s Bean Soup Ei Style

Two boxes (or bags) of beans, preferably different, soaked overnight and drained
Garlic, chopped or crushed, browned in olive oil, one head / large several onions, chopped fine and browned as well

Sweet peppers, various colors, chopped and browned
Mushrooms, chopped and browned
Carrots, six to ten, chopped to bite size pieces
Other vegetables – broccoli, zuchini, tomatos, etc

Make as vegetarian. in a separate pot, fry chopped bacon. add soup to this pot to make a meat version.

Cook beans and browned vegetables for several hours (say 6), add other vegetables one to two hours before first serving.