Having recently started a new job (hooray!), I’ve come to realise just how easy (and expensive) it is to nip out for a Pret every day. It costs me £16 per day just to get to work and back, and a coffee, snack and sandwich in Canary Wharf can easily set you back £10 – which all adds up pretty quickly! So I figured it’s about time to start prepping packed lunches. However, by the time I get home in the evenings, doing extra meal prep and washing up is really the last thing I feel like doing. Heinz got in touch at just the right time, asking me to try their handbag-sized cartons of Heinz Soup of the Day Fragrant Thai Carrot & Coconut – and then recreate their exact recipe at home to compare the two.
I’m not one to gravitate to tinned soups or any foods with long shelf lives, instead hovering near the hummus, overpriced olives and ‘freshly made’ salads. But a quick read of the Heinz Soup of the Day packaging and it’s clear these clever cartons are not your run-of-the-mill shelf soups; not a single additive or preservative, just fresh and natural ingredients blended into a soup and then sealed into an air-tight carton – which explains why there’s no need for any artificial preservatives, colours or flavours – and it stays fresh for up to a year, and doesn’t even need to be stored in the fridge! There are no added sugars, they’re totally vegetarian, and there are even two of your five-a-day in every carton. But where they really win in my eyes is that the compact carton fits in even my smallest handbag, and – unlike Tupperware – there’s no risk of horrifying spills (the last time I took a homemade lunch to work, my bag got squished during my commute, the Tupperware lid popped open and curry seeped everywhere – into my makeup bag, purse, notebook and phone, total disaster).
Anyway, Heinz asked me to try their recipe (below) and compare my version with theirs. Their list of ingredients was reassuringly short and simple (costing around £6 to make at least 10 batches); just an onion, three carrots, a stick of celery, and a dash of coconut milk and Thai yellow curry paste. Very manageable.
(I doubled the recipe to make a bigger batch for freezing)Having tried the recipe below, here’s my verdict:
My freshly made Thai carrot and coconut soup
It was fairly simple to make, but the peeling, chopping, simmering, and blending still took an hour in total.
For the reasons above, plus a sink full of washing up, it still felt like too much faff to consider doing for the sake of a packed lunch.
Incredible flavour, and I’ll definitely be making this recipe again for when we next have people over!
Total score: 24/30.
Heinz Soup of the Day Fragrant Thai Carrot & Coconut
Snip open carton, pour in bowl, microwave, eat. Five minutes, tops.
Considering it doesn’t even take up fridge space and can be kept in your locker, desk drawer, or cupboards at home, there is literally zero faff.
Sorry, Heinz. My soup did taste better than yours! But the flavour tastes amazingly fresh considering its shelf life.
Total score: 27/30
As gorgeous as this recipe is, I think I’ll save it for weekends and entertaining, and stick to Heinz’s version during the week – and leave the Tupperware at home!
Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes.
You will need:
- 1 x tablespoon of olive oil
- One small white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 x clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Thai yellow curry paste
- 4 x medium / 3 x large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 X topped and tailed stick of celery, chopped
- 1 low-salt vegetable stock cube plus x 1.5 cups (350ml) water
- 1 x tablespoon (15ml) coconut cream
- 1 x tablespoon (15ml) single cream
- 1.5 x teaspoons cornflour
1. Add the oil to the pan and heat on medium / high heat until oil is shimmering.
2. Add the diced onion, garlic and Thai curry paste.
3. Fry gently until onions are soft and light brown in colour.
4. Add the carrots and celery and fry for 2-3 minutes Put the kettle on to boil and when ready, dissolve one stock cube in 350 ml of boiling water.
5. Add to the pan, stir, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
6. Take the soup off the heat and blend it to an almost-smooth consistency.
7. Add the coconut cream, single cream and cornflour and stir through.
8.Take the pan back to a gentle heat and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
9. Pour into a bowl, add a small pinch of salt to taste