Here's my own soup recipe that I love. The butterbeans add great texture and bite, and it has only a hint of chilli so is suitable for kids. This recipe will make 2 adult portions or 1 adult and 2 children's portions.
1. First, finely chop 1 small onion and 1 clove of garlic. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan, and gently soften the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
2. Add 1 tsp of freshly ground dried chilli (you can use fresh if you prefer), and cook for another minute, being careful not to let the chilli burn.
3. Pour in 1 tin of good quality chopped tomatoes. Re-fill 3/4 of the tin with water, and add this to the pan.
4. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
5. After 15 minutes, add half a tin of drained butterbeans. You can use the dried ones of you prefer, but they need to be soaked overnight then boiled for at least an hour, and frankly, who can be bothered with that?!
6. Now leave the soup to cool a little, then whizz (that's a technical term there) with a hand-held blender until smooth. Pureeing these butterbeans will thicken the soup, much as you would use potato or flour in some other soups.
7. You can then stir in the remaining half of the tinned butterbeans, leaving them whole.
Or you can get your trusty helper to do this....
Now, how about some homemade croutons? I actually first knocked these up when I only had stale bread to have with my lunch..they do say necessity is the mother of invention, and that's certainly true in the kitchen.
I used wholemeal bread for these, but white bread would work just as well, if not better.
Cut your bread into cubes. Heat a generous 2tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Get it pretty hot. Add the bread cubes, and toss them in the oil. They'll take about 6-7 minutes until they turn golden brown. Halfway through, sprinkle over a liberal amount of grated parmesan, and keep tossing.
Serve the soup with the croutons alongside for people to help themselves, and some extra Parmesan for sprinkling if you're feeling in the need for cheese.