This post is in association with Cully and Sully
In my head, I'm a Nigella-esque domestic goddess who makes everything from scratch and always has something in the fridge or cupboard ready to go at every meal time. In reality, I am *sometimes* that person but I am just as often someone who is grabbing a slice of toast in between caring for a baby, or dashing to the local shop for a meal deal to eat al desko. Despite my best intentions, I haven't prepared lunch to bring to the office in at least a year (because I just can't face the sadness of leftovers reheated in the microwave) and although I pour over cookbooks with nourishing salads and mouth-watering sandwiches, I am inclined to neglect lunch in favour of handfuls of snacks snaffled from the cupboard throughout the day. Basically, I'm a lunch-based mess.
And so, whilst I dream of being the kind of person who makes all their own soups, I know that it's actually a lot more feasible to grab something ready-made. Cue Cully and Sully, who sent me a bunch of their delicious soups to try out this week, thus upping my lunch game immeasurably. Their fresh soups are the perfect thing to have on hand if you're busy but need something tasty for your lunch; they're the perfect one person portion and you can even throw them in the freezer so you can stock up without resorting to tinned numbers, which tend not to be so flavourful and sometimes don't have quite the wholesome ingredients of fresh soup like Cully and Sully. They're basically the next best thing to making your own.
Whilst soup is pretty tasty on its own, if you're reaching for the same flavours time and time again you can end up with lunch fatigue (yet another problem I have when it comes to bringing my own lunch to work). So there are a few ways you can jazz up your pre-made soup to give yourself a little variety and convince your colleagues (or your baby, in my case...) that you're some kind of lunch wizard.
Cream + Greens + Nuts & Seeds
Any tomato-based soup works well with a little swirl of something creamy. I used soured cream, but creme fraiche or double cream both taste just as good. Throw in a handful of rocket or spinach to wilt down whilst you're heating through your soup (this works much better on the hob than in the microwave, sadly) for a little extra greens and then top with some toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds (or both). That bit of extra crunch and creaminess will have you craving another bowl almost immediately.
All the Carbs
Sometimes I find soup isn't as filling as I like, so bulk it out with some extra carbs to avoid mid-afternoon hangriness. I added some pearl barley into my Cully and Sully Chicken & Vegetable Soup, and the texture works really well with soup, but equally you could add rice, pasta shapes, rice noodles or even some giant couscous into your soup as you see fit. Serve with crusty bread because there's nothing better than carbs on carbs.
Extra Veggies + Fresh Herbs
Taking a little bit of time and adding a few little extras to your soup is, in my eyes, a form of self-care. It takes your soup from 'hurried lunch on the go' to 'I want the tastiest thing possible to eat'. Whilst this Smoked Haddock & Salmon Chowder would be delicious on its own, a handful of tinned sweetcorn thrown in whilst you heat it up, and a sprinkling of fresh parsley just gives it a little bit of extra pizazz - and don't you deserve a little extra pizazz in your life?