It was quite fortuitous that the day I had planned to sample these GlORIOUS! soups, was also the day that London had a splattering of snow/sleet/thunder. In April. So for lunch I sought comfort and warmth in a range of soup samples along with a warm hunk of homemade gluten free soda bread for dunking which I will share at the end of this post.
The new GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious soups range comes in a range of adventurous flavours inspired by world cuisine, all of which are under 150 calories or fewer per portion and less than 2% fat. Most of the range are gluten free (though not all so do check the labels especially those containing grains). Soups are often regarded as comfort foods, but when made from a vegetable base without a heavy hand of double cream like these GLORIOUS! soups they are proof that comfort food doesn’t need to be an overly indulgent affair.
I believe and promote eating well to feel good, and whilst I strongly believe that sometimes something a little gluttonous does wonders for the soul (a different kind of feel good), eating lots of vegetables and fruits and a balanced diet the rest of the time will most definitley have a beneficial effect on that feel-good feeling! These soups all contain a portion of vegetables so would happily fit into that balanced plate.
I love that the soups come in adventurous flavours (I’m all about adventures after all), and the Fragrant Thai Carrot was definitley my favourite; think carrot and coriander, but a little more sophisticated. Then there was also the New England Butternut Squash which I also enjoyed too. I personally prefer soups that are a smooth puree to those that have grains or beans floating in them, like the Texan Four Bean Chilli (various beans) or Vietnamese Super Green (spelt), but maybe that’s just me.
I generally have no idea what the calorie content of most of my recipes and meals are these days, as I prefer not to focus on numbers (I find it soul destroying and have learned that not all calories are created equally), but on the quality of the ingredients, so it was rather interesting to learn that all these soups are only around 150 calories a portion. I try to promote eating until full and listening to your body so that counting calories isn’t a necessity but do appreciate that for some people counting calories is a good first step to reducing or understanding portion size.
I usually shy away from products marketed as low-fat and don’t generally use low-fat versions of ingredients in my recipes (fat is a wonderful flavour carrier), but it was interesting to look at the ingredients lists of these soups and note that in all but one case they are low-fat because they are based on vegetables and stock which are actually naturally low in fat, rather than skimping on ingredients (the Goan Tomato and Lentil used low-fat yoghurt).
My only real criticism would be some of the ingredients that are included wouldn’t be my primary choice – such as sunflower oil, cornstarch (presumably used as a thickener), and flavour enhancers like sugar creeping in. I try not to be dogmatic or rigid about this, and when buying off the shelf products like this always accept that there are some compromises to be made.
Soup technique was one of the first things we covered in chef school, and whilst personally I would usually choose to make my own soup instead of buying a carton (because fresh is always best), I can see the attraction of being able to buy these off the shelf for an office lunch or quick dinner after a long day at work.
I’ve been playing around with a gluten free soda-bread for quite some time, and whilst I still don’t feel I’ve got the perfect combination of flours and liquids, I was rather pleased with the texture and flavour of this soft cake-like loaf. When altering a wheat flour recipe to gluten-free flour, I usually start by making my own flour blend rather than relying on a shop bought flour . I usually base my blends approximately in the ratio of 40% 1 type of whole grain : 40% a 2nd type of whole grain : 20% starch. Today I chose Hodmedod’s organic British quinoa flour and a brown rice flour as my whole grains, and then tapioca flour as my starch. In the past I’ve tried regular yoghurt, or goat yoghurt as the acidic medium to set off the bicarb raising reaction but today I tried buttermilk (and not just any buttermilk but organic raw buttermilk from Hook & Son’s in Borough Market). The buttermilk certainly created a lighter fluffier loaf than yoghurt and I am sure was responsible for the buttery flavour of the bread. I’ll keep playing with this recipe in future but here it is for posterity.
Beware a huge hunk of this bread smothered in butter will most definitely vastly increase your calorie intake alongside the soup!
- 140g quinoa flour
- 120g brown rice flour
- 80g tapioca flour
- tsp bicarb of soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 240mls buttermilk
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
- Combine the flours with the bicarb and salt in a bowl, give a good stir to make sure they are evenly distributed throughout.
- Make a well in the centre then pour in the buttermilk, stir with a wooden spoon, then go in with your hands to bring it together, the dough will be quite wet. Form into a ball and pile onto a lined baking sheet. Rinse your sticky hands, then wet them and use them to smooth over the surface of the loaf. Use a knife to make a cross/slash in the top of the loaf.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes (the bottom will sound hollow when done), then tear and smear with butter before you dip in the soup and eat!
GLORIUS! Soups are available in various leading UK supermarket chains.
Disclosure: This post was commissioned by GLORIOUS! and I was sent the soups to review. All opinions are my own.1