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It time for some winter warmers – it’s Stew and Soup week at Big Barn!

What’s the perfect thing to twin with some delicious, warm homemade bread at this time of year? It’s the mighty soup and the hearty stew. With such a vast variety of colours, flavours and combinations they’re perfect for this time of year and they can help fit in with the post-Christmas budget and diet.

We firmly believe that soup is more versatile than it’s given credit for! It’s fantastic cold or hot, sweet or sour, as starter or main! It’s filling, can be a great way of hiding some of your 5 a day and while the Christmas leftovers are probably a distant memory, you can always use up the left over veggies or the scraps from a Sunday lunch!  Fresh local veg

In these times of uncertainty, austerity and obesity, everyone should know how to make a soup from scratch and it always surprises us that there haven’t been soup making demonstrations at food banks to help those less fortunate cook nutritious meals on a very low budget. We also think this could be something which all school children should know how to do given how easy they can be to make and how filling and healthy.

It is at least good to new see the amount of space supermarkets devoted to tinned soups has been reducing as having them pre-made begins to go out of fashion in favour of fresh and homemade options. Hoorah, when we are running short of metal and oil – have a read of our previous blog here – and when the ingredients are so high in sugar and salt.

While we agree it’s nice to have nursery food like Heinz tomato in the cupboard, it does seem a little bonkers that the same product could be made at home for a fraction of the price and have a tiny amount of sugar and salt compared to the tinned version.

Please then, have a go at making soup. Find out what is cheap and in season at your local farm shop, chop, in to a saucepan, add some water or stock, and heat up, leave chunky, mash or blend and, heh presto, soup! Or click here to follow a recipe for all kinds of yummy soup meals.

If you don’t fancy a soup, maybe a mighty meal of stew will tickle your fancy. Big chunks of meat and veg all cooked together to fill you up and keep you warm. The best thing about stews is being able to cook for hours. Leaving you to put your feet up with the rest of the family and relax until dinner time.

Grade 2 onions as they have not been topped. Perfect for stringing, cooking, preserving.

The mighty onion, perfect in a winter stew

They are not just great winter warmers though, a good stew is the perfect way to use up cheaper cuts of meat, left overs and slightly turning vegetables which in turn helps you save your precious coins, especially just after Christmas when January feels like the longer month of the year! You can feed many mouths on a tasty stew and they are full of much needed vitamins to fight off nasty winter bugs.

Check out one of our favourite stew recipes here.  Don’t forget you can buy all your soup and stew needs locally through our local food map or online at our BigBarn MarketPlace 

As always you can make a video of your soup or stew making experience and add it to our KIS (Keep it simple) Cookery video channel and perhaps become the next famous chef. To see soup videos so far click here.

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