“ Type: Soups „
Nothing beats a good bowl of homemade soup, and whenever I get the chance, I make my own from scratch. But I find it useful to have a couple of ready made soups in stock for when I need a quick soupy fix. And that's where New Covent Garden soups come in very handy.
Containing all natural ingredients, the company's boast is that their products will taste homemade. Not true, in my opinion, but they certainly don't taste fake, and that's more than can be said for a lot of soups out there.
One problem I have with the NCG range is that not many of the flavours are gluten free, so as a Coeliac, my choice is quite limited. Browsing the supermarket shelves the other week, I could find only a few of these soups that didn't contain wheat flour, but I was pleased to see that one of them was Plum Tomato and Mascarpone, which sounded lovely, so I bought it. It usually sells at just over £2 per carton, but it was on a 2 for £3 promotion at the time.
It comes in the usual NCG carton- 600g, and made from shiny cardboard which it says can be 'widely recycled'. To open, you grasp the cardboard corners at the top and pull apart. It's relatively easy, but be careful not to pull to hard, in order to prevent yourself from getting a soupy shower!
The ingredients list on the back is refreshingly short: plum tomatoes (43%), water, onions, tomatoes (8%), tomato paste, olive oil, mascarpone cheese (1.8%), sugar, basil, salt, garlic, black pepper, oregano and rosemary.
The freshness of these soups means that they don't have a long shelf life- it's usually 2-3 weeks in the fridge, or a month in the freezer (although they recommend eating them fresh).
You can heat this soup on the hob or in the microwave. Personally, I prefer the good, old fashioned hob, because I like to see what's happening to my food. It takes around 5 minutes to heat up, but it shouldn't reach boiling point, as this could affect the flavour.
Pouring it into a bowl, the first thing I noticed was the smell- very tomatoey, with a nice herby sharpness to it. Colourwise, it was quite orangey, and speckled with bits of herb. So far, so good. Now for the taste test. This it passed with flying colours! The tomato flavour was strong, fresh and vibrant, as you'd expect from its high tomato content, and it was given an extra zing by the herbs. Despite the strong flavour, it wasn't sharp at all, and had a rich creaminess to it which must be due to the mascarpone. It really did taste natural, and while not quite as good as a homemade soup, this certainly came close. I also really liked the soup's consistency- it was virtually smooth, but had a slight texture to it which somehow made it seem more natural.
One 600g carton fed two of us, and was really quite filling, with some bread alongside it. And at 155kcal per serving, this makes for a guilt-free meal. I would certainly buy this soup again, as I think it's one of the better ones in the NCG range, and the rich flavour makes it worth paying for. Four stars for this one!
New Covent Garden Plum Tomato & Mascarpone Soup
I love soup and due to the excesses of the festive season, am trying to eat healthy lunches to try and watch my calorie content. I prefer to make my own soups but don't always have time, so find that the New Covent Garden chilled range is a handy way to have tasty soup in a hurry. It is heaps better than tinned soup and there is a wide range of flavours so you are sure to find something that you like.
A 600g carton (you can also buy smaller 300g "one portion" cartons) normally costs around £1.90 but these can often be picked up on special offer (I bought some for just £1 each recently in a local supermarket). I find that a carton is enough for 2 lunches, served with a decent chunk of fresh bread such as tiger bread.
The soups usually have quite a good shelf life (check the dates to be sure) and can generally be frozen too, so it is worth stocking up if you see them on offer. You can find them in the chilled section of most supermarkets.
To heat the soup, either warm in a pan or cover and pop into the microwave for a couple of minutes, stirring half way through cooking.
This soup is an enticing orangy red colour and quite thick and smooth looking. The taste is really delicious, the tomatoes taste really fresh and tangy with a slightly sweet aftertaste and the mascarpone adds a creaminess which is really quite special. Each mouthful is mouthwateringly good making this soup quite possibly one of my favourites from the range.
Ingredients are as follows;
Plum tomatoes (43%), water, onions, tomatoes (8%), tomato paste, olive oil, mascarpone cheese (1.8%), sugar, basil, salt, garlic, black pepper, oregano, rosemary
Nutritional info per serving is as follows;
FAT - 8.4g
SAT FAT - 2.4g
SUGAR - 15.0g
SALT - 1.2g
CALORIES - 155
In summary, this is one of the tastiest pre-prepared soups that I have tried. The combination of tomatoes and mascarpone are quite different to most other varieties and really satisfying and delicious. It is also quite healthy and low in calories so perfect if you are watching what you eat. Well worth buying, if you haven't already!
I really not enjoying this bitter cold weather, but on the upside it the perfect excuse to indulge in warming winter fodder. I love tucking into hearty stews, casseroles and soups at this time and year. It just makes me feel all warm and cozy and somehow it feels fab to be eating a steaming bowl of soup whilst it is all frost and cold outside.
I do try and make my own soup but to be honest my efforts have dwindled a little little in the last couple of months as all of a sudden both my girls have refused to eat it. I was slightly offended but my husband slightly restored my confidence as he said it tastes pretty good. I was therefore really chuffed when I spotted several varieties of New Covent Soup on offer for £1 a carton. At full price it normally costs closer to £2 which is expensive and really not an option for my weekly shop.
I have tried several varieties of these soups in the past, generally at my mum's as she is a huge fan of the range and I have always thought that they taste fantastic. It is also like eating a homemande soup as they contain entirely natural ingredients. It is really reassuring to look at the side of the carton and only find ingredients that you recognise and that you expect to find to provide the flavour.
Each carton contains 600g of the soup and this usually lasts me for two really decent sized portions. Onnce opened the soup can be stored in the fridge but the rest has to be consumed within 24 hours.
When I was shopping this week, most of the reduced varieties had sold out and I was left with the choice of carrot & coriander or the one I opted for... Plum Tomato and Mascarpone. At lunch time that day, I poured approx half the soup into a saucepan and heated on the hob until it was piping hot. I served it up with some crusty bread and couldn't wait to tuck into my scrummy looking lunch.
The soup was a really rich orange red colour and thick in texture. The aroma was really inviting and homely and I loved the fact that the soup was speckled with herbs. It also taslted blooming fantastic... the tomato flavour was really fresh and it was given a gorgeous creaminess due to the inclusion of the mascarpone. I thorougly enjoyed every spoonful and I would definately buy this one again.