Snazzing up a Soup

Ok, break time. Since I like cooking I prefer homemade soups but sometimes there just isn’t the time. I’m not a purist – When I was living modestly in the UK and broke I’d boil some spaghetti, make a nest of it in a heatproof bowl, fill the centre with Campbell’s condensed soup, cover the lot with slices of cheese and grill until the cheese was nicely brown. I hungrier I was, the better it tasted.

Here in the Philippines (Subic Bay, if you want to know) I have to depend mainly on powdered soups which usually taste like… well, powdered soups. Here some solutions I found worked and made guests think I was giving them something spiffy.

For those ‘cream of soups’ I mix a tablespoon of Alaska for each portion, combine with just enough water to liquefy it and add to the cooked soup. That’s a good start. You can also get small nobs of butter (Magnolia Gold or Anchor, not butter substitutes or Star margarine) and, when you’ve put the soup into individual bowls ready for serving drop a nob of butter onto each. You can get fancier by mashing the butter with garlic to make garlic butter and using that instead.

For spiff na spiff, separate an egg for each portion. Put the yolks into a bowl, pour on some warmish soup and mix well, and quickly, then pour the mix into the soup, warm and mix in and serve. Do all three, it’ll be rich enough to buy a senator.

Don’t forget, too, hat a dash of booze works well. A little vodka in tomato soup, brandy in brown soups. The alcohol evaporates so the booze content will be low and it’s safe for kids.

What about egg whites. Always a question. If you’ve got an oven they’re good for browning pastries but my solution is to get some fresh or tinned (canned) fruit and whipped or whipping cream. Whip the egg whites until stiff. If you’ve got whipping cream whip it until its fairly firm, then carefully fold the egg whites and cream together, add sugar, brown is nice, some nutmeg or similar and fold them in, and slop in  little brandy like Emperador or Fundador fold that in and serve with the fruit.

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