Mexican tomato & bean soup: this fresh, piquant summer soup combines many of the ingredients you might find in a feisty salsa, but in this case they re all souped up. Add more chillies if you like it hot, and a handful of fresh sweetcorn kernels, sliced straight from the cob, is a good addition if you have them. A scattering of diced avocado can replace the soured cream, if you prefer.
River Cottage summer garden soup: You may not have access to the same range of just-picked veg, but gather some good, fresh stuff from a farm shop, market or greengrocers and you will get a similar result. Vary the veg according to what is available. Just chop it all into small, similarsized pieces, and ‘build’ the soup, cooking the harder, denser veg for slightly longer, and you’ll end up with a vibrant, fresh-tasting bowlful.
This soup is easy, cheap, filling and very, very tasty. You'll definitely want a second helping.You can finish the soup in various ways: a few more snippets of bacon, fried until crisp, make a lovely sprinkle, as do some simple fried bread croûtons.
This is a substantial soup – serve it with a salad and some bread and it’s a meal in itself. As the barley simmers with the vegetables, it thickens the broth and gives it a creamy texture. You can certainly use pearled spelt in place of pearl barley.
Bloody beetroot soup: Hugh loves the tangy, savoury flavours of a Bloody Mary and likes playing with them in the kitchen. In this very quick soup, they form the perfect counterpoint to the earthy sweetness of beetroot.
Creamy roasted tomato soup: The creaminess in this soup comes from a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts, thrown into the roasting tin with the tomatoes. Once puréed, the result is rich and sumptuous. The riper your tomatoes the better – but roasting will sweeten and intensify even less than perfect specimens.
Leek and celeriac soup - even though unglamorous, celeriac can create a soup which is so elegant and rich. Of course, the addition of oysters makes it particularly sophisticated, but it’s also good simply splashed with a little cream and sprinkled with some finely chopped chives.