There are days when cooking dinner proves too taxing, same goes for lunch at work, though soups are possibly the easiest meals to prepare, sometimes it is simply handier and all together more pleasant, to call upon a third party to do the work for you.
Having tried a multitude of ready made soup brands, I have never been able to call any of them "proper soup" until now. Some I use as sauces, others as virtual punch bags in conversation when the issues of salt or products that pretend to be home-made come up.
Curious as ever, I noticed a new company, Yorkshire Provender, on the supermarket shelves, so I decided to embark on a tasting adventure for Pebble Soup readers. I was sent five flavours. Considering this is a small company producing from a North Yorkshire home, this was very generous and I was going to make sure that my review would be thorough and impartial therefore I involved others in the tasting.
Each pot is 600g, makes two very generous portions or three normal size bowls.
I like the clear plastic, the colours are vibrant and inviting.
All the ingredients are seasonal resulting in two delicious collections a winter and a summer, each made of seven soups.
The fat content starts at 49 kcal, 0.4g fat per 100g. A winner when it comes to boosting these fading new-year's resolutions.
On opening the pots, the first thing you notice is the smell, wow, it is almost possible to identify each of the ingredients, Yorkshire Provender has potted a feast for the nose. Here is what my neighbour and taster for the day says about it, "A bouquet of thyme and bay literally filled my office. I used the work microwave and had envious stares as I walked back past the rows of office desks."
It is rare to find soups with enough texture or "epais" as he calls it and since anything looking too liquid is banned from the table, I was a bit of a concern but 4 out of my 5 passed the stringent thickness test.
And then there is the marriage of flavours, these are original enough for the consumer to want to try them out but not too wacky that the end result tastes odd.
Yorkshire Provender is available in a wide range of supermarkets from the Co-op to Waitrose via the giants of retails and independent providers.
Pebble Soup overall verdict is 9/10.
Butternut squash Soup with Orange and Ginger came top. it is full of flavour and extremely well balanced which is always a bit difficult when ginger is involved. Ginger is a difficult ingredient which can easily be over-powering but here at 0.1%. There are also loads of other spices,celery seed, tumeric, pepper, garlic, mace, lovage, nutmeg which add roundness to this lovely soup.
AC our now famous forager-neigbourg reviewed Winter Soup with Roast Vegetables and British Beef. Here is what he says, " The quality was excellent, chunky vegetables, a rich velvety base and a black pepper and chilli after kick. Very flavoursome combination of chunky vegetables married together with a good choice of herbs and a picquant beef and tomato sauce. If I had made it at home, I would have been proud." before adding that on the minus side it was a little oily.
Pea & Fresh Spinach with Coriander is my personal favorite. It is fresh, silky and the colour made me smile. I would eat it cold too, in fact, I partly did, it is how good this is.
Sadly Tomato and Red Pepper soup with Wensleydale Cheese & Rosemary was a little disappointing, the cheese does not come through enough, it is still a nice soup but slightly watery so it hasn't got the depth of the others.
Chunky Vegetable & Ham Soup with Winter Greens and Lentils is full of taste and since March is not yet spring we might need earthy tasting ready soup in the fridge ready for the evening meal.
Price and disclaimer
Yorshire Povender soups retail at £2.39, I was provided with complimentary soups for the purpose of this blog-post, all opinions are my own ...and my neighbourg:)