There is so much more to soup than just soup. Try these delicious soups and the yummie little extras that will turn any soup into a gourmet meal.

Biltong Soup

125g butter; 250ml flour; 10ml black pepper; 1/2 tsp nutmeg; 1/2 tsp ground coriander; 500ml milk; 1.5 litres beef stock; 250ml cheddar cheese (grated); 250g biltong (finely grated); 125ml cream

• Melt the butter and add the flour. Stir over a low heat for one minute (ensure it does not burn).
• Add the black pepper, nutmeg and ground coriander. Stirring continuously, gradually add the milk and the stock.
• Stir over low heat until thickened and remove
• Add the cheese and 200g of the biltong keep warm untill ready to serve ensuring soup doesn’t boil
• Add cream to taste, just before serving.
• Top each serving with a generous sprinkling of grated biltong.

Mashed Potato Puffs

Cooking spray or butter; 2 cups cooked mashed potatoes; 3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheese, such as Parmesan or Gruyère, divided; 1/4 cup minced fresh chives; 1/4 cup diced cooked bacon or ham (optional); Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper; Sour cream, for serve (optional)

•Place the mashed potatoes, eggs, 3/4 cup of the cheese, chives, and bacon or ham in a large bowl and stir to combine. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper.
•The seasoning will depend on how seasoned your mashed potatoes were to begin with.
•Fill each muffin cup of a mini-muffin pan with the mashed potatoes.
•Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
•Bake at 200° C until the potato cups are set, browned on top, and heated through, about 20 minutes.
•Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spoon or knife to gently release them from the pan.
•Serve immediately. (With biltong soup)

Beetroot soup

This beetroot and Bramley soup is a light and wintry starter recipe that won’t fail to impress your guests.
For a fiery kick, add some horseradish to your recipe like in this beetroot, apple and horseradish soup recipe served with herbed dumplings.

65g butter; 2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped; 2 celery sticks, chopped; 6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small Bramley apple; 800g beetroot, trimmed and sliced (no need to peel); 1.5 litres chicken stock, hot; Sour cream and fresh dill sprigs, to serve

• Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan over a low heat.
• Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and a splash of water, cover and sweat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft.
• Peel, core and slice the apple and add to the pan with the beetroot.
• Cover and sweat for a further 15 minutes.
• Pour in the stock, season and bring to the boil.
• Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, until the beetroot is tender.
• Cool slightly, then purée with a hand-held blender, or in batches in a food processor, until smooth.
• Season and set aside to cool until just warm.
• Divide the soup between bowls, season and top with dollops of soured cream and fresh dill sprigs.

Dress up your soup

Instantly turn your plain-Jane soups into into mini masterpieces when you add a little something extra for flavor, crunch, and eye-appeal. Try these easy ideas to upgrade your next bowlful. Make them while the soup heats up and guaranteed to add a whole new dimension to every mouthful.

Garlic Butter Croutons
Sauté minced garlic in butter over medium-low heat for one minute. Add bread cubes. Cook and stir until toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Variations: Add rosemary, thyme, or oregano.

Parmesan Crisps
Place tablespoon-size mounds of grated Parmesan cheese 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for about 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool to firm up before removing. Variations: Add minced herbs to cheese before baking.

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Stars
Use mini cookie cutters to cut shapes out of flour or corn tortillas. Toss with oil or butter and cinnamon sugar. Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes. Variations: Go savory with cumin or smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.

Toasted Sweet Potato Strips
Use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips. Toss with oil or butter, and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes, or until lightly crunchy. Variations: Season with cayenne, curry powder, or cinnamon sugar.