“ Type: Soups „
NCG minersota It would be true to say that I am not a fan of soups. I have always liked the idea of soup (especially when I am trying to go on a diet) but they always fail to fill me up. Soups are very watery in consistency, even the creamy ones and this makes me feel as though I am drinking liquid and so my brain doesn't register it as food leading me to feel empty. I have also been unsuccessful in trying to find a good vegetarian soup but when I found the New Covent Garden Minnesota soup I hit gold. I have found it on offer in sainsburys for £1. They are 600ml cartons and they are fresh so they shelf life is similar to that of milk. They are normally priced at £1.99 for 1 carton. They are sometimes on offer at 2 for £3 or 2 for £3.50. Compared to other fresh soups they are comparative in price. Half the pack which is 1 serving contains only 102 calories and 2.1g of fat of which only 0.3g is saturated. So this is a good soup for those on a diet as it contains a lot of veg, beans and pasta and good for the waist. The pasta has a slightly more watery base than most soups and largely consists of tomatoes and basil. To me it reminds me very much of pasta sauce and when heated up it tasted smells a lot like pasta sauce. There is beans, courgettes, peppers and pasta. The vegetables are quite chunky and the beans and pasta give the soup a lot of substance without adding a too much calories. It is because of the chucky vegetables that make this soup very filling. Also there is no thickening agent such as cream or potatoes which I don't like at all. I eat the soup warm but it can be eaten cold in the summer. I give it a 8/10 for flavour and 10/10 for filling by stomach up. The vegetables taste much better than the tinned soup but that may be because of all the preservatives in the can version. The carton is very easy to open - the sides are pulled in two directions and I have never spilled the soup which is very good for someone who always has a tendency to make a mess. If only using half the soup then the other half should really be placed into a container and then the fridge as I don't really think it would be a good idea to leave the soup in a cardboard container without covering it. It does have to be consumed within 3 days of opening it. I tend to have one half for lunch and the other half for dinner the next day so it doesn't really cause a problem. This is a very filling, low cal minestrone full of flavour and punch.
Minestrone soup comes from Italy and varies from region to region and season to season depending on what vegetables are available. It means "A big soup" and a bowl of Minestrone really fills you up especially with some lovely bread. My carton of Minestrone soup was one of two bought on offer in Tesco this week at £2 for 2 although normally priced at £1.96. The tetra pack carton, which is recyclable, has instructions on how to open and even my husband managed to open it without it spilling everywhere! Heating is easy, on the hob for 5 minutes without letting it boil or in the microwave for 3 minutes in the carton, stir and cook for a further 2 minutes then stand for 2 minutes. It takes longer but means no washing up! Minestrone is a tomato based soup and Covent Garden Minestrone soup has 27% tomatoes, water is the only ingredient that is in a larger quantity. There is a mixture of vegetables - carrots, potatoes, courgettes, onions, red peppers, celery and two types of cooked beans. Cannellini is 2.6% and pinto 1.8%. Pasta is quite a small ingredient just 1.4%, but I like more vegetables so this suits me. Tomato paste, olive oil, basil, parsley, garlic, salt, sugar, oregano and cracked pepper complete the ingredients. All the ingredients are natural. There is an allergy advice note saying that the soup contains celery, wheat and gluten, but is suitable for vegetarians. We had two large bowls of soup from the carton which contained 600 grams and that provided me with 111calories, the protein content was 4.2 grams, 17.4 grams of carbohydrate, only 2.7 grams of fat making it very good for people trying to cut down on fat, 3.6 grams of fibre which is a fifth of what is recommended each day. The salt content sadly is a bit high as there is 1.5 grams which is ¼ of the daily allowance, they describe this as being "medium!" The contents are all natural, the quality is good although that is reflected in the price, it is easy and quick to heat and can be kept for a short time in the fridge, my carton had about 12 days before the use by date and can be kept in the freezer for a bit longer, but the all important factor is the taste. It is described on the carton as being very nearly a "knife and fork" soup! Wrong, you could eat the vegetables but there would be a lot of soup left which needs a spoon, but it is a substantial soup. This soup is bursting with Mediterranean flavours, it is a very good soup in my opinion, not quite as good as my Minestrone soup but the best I have tasted in bought soup, lovely strong tomato flavour with plenty of varied vegetables and lovely herbs. A great soup if you want to take to work for your lunch to share or eat over two days and if you need a quick soup at home but homemade is my choice every time.
I have just eaten a bowl of New Covent Garden Minestrone Soup for my lunch, well I say soup but it is more than just a soup, it is crammed full of beans, pasta and vegetables. Whenever I eat a bowl, I always feel like it's more like a full meal rather than just a bowl of soup it really fills me up. That said I still like the addition of a big wodge of granary bread to dunk in my soup. I used to buy tins of soup but have found recently that the price of tinned soup has been creeping up. I therefore decided that I might as well pay a bit more and get a fresh soup. New Covent Garden are one of the market leaders in this field and they only use natural ingredients sourced from carefully selected farmers and growers. Their ingredients basically try and replicate the same ingredients you would find in a cooks kitchen cupboard and herb garden. The soup does have to be stored in the fridge but once in there it keeps for a good while, that is unless you open it when it should be eaten within a day. The soup comes in a distinctive 600g cardboard carton. I like the carton as it looks reassuringly traditional with pictures of fresh ingredients on the front of it. I generally eat a carton to myself (greedy I know) but I would say one carton could easily serve two adults, depending on your preferred portion size. There is definitely a knack to opening the carton, I can find the carton a bit fiddly to get open. There are instructions telling you how to do it. I tend to pull diagonally from opposite corners. As with all New Covent Garden soups, it can be cooked in the microwave or on the hob. My preference is on the hob as I find the soup retains its flavour best this way but when I am at work I use the microwave for convenience as this way it saves washing up as it is placed directly in the microwave in its carton. Either way it takes approximately 5 minutes to heat up. The soup tastes predominantly of tomatoes which I find really comforting especially on a cold day and red pepper which adds just the slightest of heat to the soup. The soup contains lots of Italian herbs such as basil and oregano, to me the oregano flavour really stands out and compliments the tomato flavour. They don't hold back on the veg either. The soup contains carrots, potatoes, courgettes, celery as well as cannellini and pinto beans. I often find with soups that contain lots of veg its hard to distinguish between the different flavours, they can often amalgamate into one. Not with this soup, I can taste each individual veg it has in it and they still have a lovely crunch to them as well. The slight bitterness of the courgette is nicely balanced against the sweetness of the carrot, the beans give the soup a different texture. Although it is recommended you eat the soup fresh, they can be frozen for up to one month and then cooked in the microwave without having to defrost them first. I have done this and never had any problems. There are lots of different flavours to chose from including: Chicken Mulligatawny, Broccoli & Stilton and Lentil & Smoked Bacon. I have tried several and they have all been delicious with the exception of the Leek and Potato, which in my opinion is best avoided. They also do Risottos and Pasta Sauces which I keep meaning to try. I do find the soups expensive to buy but on the whole feel the quality of the soup and the New Covent Garden ethos is worth paying for. Really, they are pretty close in taste to a home made soup (though nothing could match my Mums). I quite often buy these soups when they are on offer which they frequently are in the main supermarkets. They usually sell for around £2.00 each but Sainsburys are currently selling two cartons for £3.00. The soup is suitable for Vegetarians and is pretty low in fat and calories too, although it does seem to have quite a bit of salt in it. Here is the nutritional information if you need it: Per 300g serving Energy 111 kcal Protein 4.2g Carbohydrate 17.4g of which sugars 8.4g Fat 2.7g of which saturates 0.3g Salt 1.5g
This soup comes in a cardboard package, much like the old style milk cartons before plastic took over. There are instructions on the top telling you how to open the package and the packaging also contains nutritional information, ingredients, allergy advice, storage advice and cooking instructions. I was lucky enough to purchase this soup as an Asda 'whoops' for a bank balance busting 10p, but having now sampled the soup I think I would happily pay the £1.99 Tesco price as it provided a filling lunch (with accompanying chunky bread of course) for two people. According to the packaging Minestrone simply means 'dish' and there is no set recipe. The Minestrone soup produced by the New Covent Garden company contains leeks, cannellini beans, potatoes, carrots, celery, green beans, cabbage, pasta (of the penne variety), tomato paste, olive oil, parsley, salt, garlic, oregano, thyme and black pepper. The soup is of mixed consistency as chunks of vegetables and pasta float within a runny liquid base. There is a strong taste of pepper to the soup, but it is not overwhelming and you do get a pleasant vegetable taste too. The pasta is a little too soft for my liking, but as this is a soup and not a pasta dish it is the appropriate consistency and texture. The soup comes in a 600g measure, easily enough for lunch for two, providing 108kcal/455k kj per serving (36Kcal/152kj per 100g). It can be heated the traditional way in a pan on the hob (5 minutes at a gentle heat, stirring frequently) or 5 minutes on high in a microwave (900w) with 3 minutes of heating followed by stirring and a further 2 minutes heating plus 2 minutes to stand.