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Gadgets I’d Like on MY Christmas List – Yes I Know it’s only October

It’s no secret that I’m a gadget girl.   Between Air Frying, Soup Making and Pressure Cooking, I tend to fall for lots of ideas and then not always follow through.

Some gadgets have been absolutely disastrous for me.  I bought an egg cooker that I thought was a saving grace, but within a month, I hated the blasted thing.  It kept cutting out, never cooked how I’d like it to, and the eggs just didn’t taste right.  A rice cooker that I was loving, packed up after a few uses and I couldn’t find the receipt to take it back.  On principle, I wouldn’t replace it.  I see rice cookers and I eye them suspiciously from shop aisles.  I was even suckered into an Air Fryer as my one had packed in.  I have regretted that choice for the last 2 months that I’ve owned it, but it does get lots of use.  I should have stuck to what I know, but it’s done now.

I have a yoghurt maker that I love, and works a treat.  My breadmaker, however will soon need replaced.  Mine is years old and I think is beginning to wilt.  For years, every loaf turned out perfectly, but now, it’s hit or miss.

So – the top gadgets for me are:

1 – New Soupmaker

My husband decided to drop mine, into a bucket of water.  Ahem…..  If you ask me, I think he dunked it to wash, then realised it doesn’t like the electrics being flooded with water.  He did dismantle it to dry it out, but although it still worked to heat, it no longer blended.  He owed me a new one.  I actually just went and bought this, so Christmas won’t be without a soup maker after all.  It’s a little more fancy than my last version, and has a lift out inner to make for easier cleaning, and today, yes, today, will be the first day I try this out with a new recipe.  I do need to review this soon.

(Aff Link)

2 – Actifry

My last Actifry blew up.  It had been used for hundreds of hours, and didn’t really stand a chance against loads of teenagers constantly making chips…….  The ideal thing about that, is that I don’t have to get involved.  The teens found it easy to throw in some chips, bung in a spoon of oil, and when it finished turning, the chips were ready.  AND, if they got distracted and forgot about the chips, they weren’t burning the house down.  When they put food in the oven, it invariably ends up burnt, or with the bottom of my oven seeping whatever food they cooked.

I was in Costco when my Actifry blew up, and they had another make on offer, which I ended up buying.  And while it’s great for other features, it fails miserably for chips.  For the teens to use it on their own, they have to put the chips into a closed basket, which rotates.  It’s rotation feature is amazing for chicken, but for chips, not on.  To get the chips out, they either have to open the basket with their hands wrapped in a towel or oven glove, or lift the whole thing out and do it.  If’s fiddly, and there’s a bigger chance of getting burned.  If they put the chips on the bottom of the pan, they have to be moved around in person half way through cooking, which sort of defies the potential of air cooking.

Anyway, I’m stuck with a machine that is actually good for many things, but just not for chips.  A new Actifry isn’t in my future, but one of these, I’d like.

(Aff Links)

3 – New Phone

Again, this isn’t actually in my future, but I’d love the new, super dooper iPhone.  I guess most of us Apple gadget fans would.  It’s just too pricey for me, so I’ll stick with my old iPhone 6S Plus, which is now out of contract and only costs me airtime.  It does have a teensy scratch on the screen, but I haven’t managed to persuade myself that it’s worth the cost of replacing with something that costs around a thousand pounds.  It doesn’t stop me looking at the picture with pure envy….

I can’t afford the phone, but maybe if I buy an iPhone X case, I can pretend there’s one on the way for my Christmas.  Given that the hub and I only give token pressies to each other for birthday and Xmas, I’ll just live and dream..

(Aff Link)

4 – Hoover – Vaccuum Cleaner

The name depends on where you come from.  Up here, we say hoover, but online, people all tend to say vacuum cleaner, and think Hoover is just a brand of vacuum.  Our is borked.  I don’t buy these often, but when I do, other people tend to be the ones who break them.  Kids – are you listening…….

These are what I’d like.  I haven’t pressed the button on buy yet, as I keep hoping for a sooper dooper sale, but I think I’ll have to go for it soon.

(Aff Links)

5 – Breadmaker

In actual reality, the first one below is the one I’d ideally love, as it also makes pasta.  I haven’t tried making pasta flour in my old breadmaker, so it might be worth trying to see if my dying machine can make anything suitable before splashing out.  I suspect that although I’d love one that also makes pasta, it’s a bit on the pricey side for me, so the second one is more likely to be my replacement one after Xmas. I like the idea of a black breadmaker that’s more likely to blend into my worktop than the light coloured machines.

(Aff Links)

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Soup Maker Club

Soups have begun to take over the blog.  I know a fair few of you visit, just for the soups.  I see many of you subscribing after reading soup posts, but if you’re just after soup recipes, you might not want to read lots of my other posts, articles and sometimes, even my rants over nothing much in particular, but things that bother me at that specific moment.  I’m very happy for you to stay subscribing to all posts here, but if you just want soups, smoothies and shakes, I’ve created a place for those to go.

I plan to keep soups I’ve made and photographed on the Scottish Mum blog, but for those of you who don’t want to read everything else, I’ve started a soup maker recipe specific blog.   All the recipes from here will be added, and there will be lots more recipes, particularly ones I’ve made, but have not got round to photographing.  For those, I might use a stock picture or just no picture at all, but rest assured, every one that makes on on this blog and on the Soup Maker Club and posted by me, will have been cooked up by my trusty Morphy Richards.

The new website won’t just be limited to a soup maker.  The plan is to enjoy soups of all kinds, from a pot, to bubbling in a tin over a camp fire, or even thrown into the microwave.  If you’ve got an unusual way of cooking soup, then I’d love to hear it from you and feature your own recipes over there.

Soupmaker club

All you have to do, is head over to to find me over there.   Sign up to join the club, and instead of being sent each new recipe as it arrives, I’ll send you a digest of weekly or monthly news, including new recipes on the blog and posts, giving you the choice whether to check them out or not.

If you want to add your own recipes for the soupmaker club, just send them to me, or use the form on the website.  I can’t see my soupmaker being used any less than it is now, well not for the rest of my own life, so I’m hoping to build an impressive backlog of soups for us all to enjoy.

Thanks for listening and for the ongoing support of my readers, as without you, there would be no blog.



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Soup Maker Recipe: Cream of Aubergine and Butter Bean Soup

Keeping Aubergine Soup simple isn’t as easy as it looks.  The sponge like texture ensures you need to work fast, or it may discolour more quickly than you expect.  Leave peeling your Aubergines till last (or Egg Plants for those across the water).

For this version, I wanted to make it without much preparation, so I went for a can of butter beans that was in my cupboard and fast approaching its sell by date.  It’s as good an excuse to make up a soup as any.  Finished with pink peppercorns on the top, this looked lovely on the table.

Soup Maker: Cream of Aubergine and Butter Bean Soup (Egg Plant)

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 21 minutes
Total Time 31 minutes
Course Soup
Servings 4 -6


  • 500 g Aubergine Egg Plant (Cut into smallish cubes)
  • 200 g Butter Beans
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Pot
  • 1 Herb Flavour Pot
  • 150 ml Fresh Cream (Single or Double)
  • 700 ml Boiling Water Approximately ((or up to your maximum fill level - it could be less than this due to springiness of the Aubergine))


  • As simple as it can be. Just add all the ingredients to the pot, choose your setting and put your feet up for around 20 - 30 minutes..
  • Be careful with liquid here. You can only fill your maker to its maximum fill lever, which could be less than the ingredients in my recipe needed. Check your appliance. Aubergine soaks up liquid like a sponge, so you need to be extra careful.
  • For this version, I first selected the chunky option, to ensure there was no explosion if the Aubergine swelled up when boiled. Thankfully, it all worked out fine and I could blend it afterwards. You know your own soupmaker, so choose the option that suits you.



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Soup Maker Recipe: Budget Chicken Noodle Soup

Have you ever gone to your cupboard when you can’t be bothered shopping, or you’re in a hurry and no time to get anything, but have some hungry mouths to feed.  This recipe is more or less down to the kids loving noodles, but not having any fresh in the house.

Feel free to change the potatoes with any other veg you happen to have handy in your cupboard.  Granted, this isn’t the prettiest soup on the planet, but it is like having a full meal in a bowl.

Soup Maker Recipe: Budget Chicken Noodle Soup 1.6 Litres

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Soup
Servings 4 -6


  • 1 packet Chicken Noodles Approximately 85g
  • 1 Chicken Stock Cube
  • 250 g Cubed Potatoes
  • 200 g Pre-Cooked Chicken Shredded
  • 1 Dessert spoon Flour
  • 1 l Boiling Water


  • Open your pack of instant noodles and break them up as you put them into your soupmaker.
  • Add the cubed potatoes, stock cubes and the pack of flavouring from your noodles. Put the chicken in, then stir in the litre of boiling water. Make sure you do not overfill your own machine if it is different from mine.
  • Choose a chunky setting for a bowlful that looks like a casserole, or blend it for a smooth version.


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Soup Maker Recipe: Carrot and Coriander Soup

This is a luxurious and tasty, not to mention creamy soup, intended for soupmakers up to 1.6 litres.

If you think it may be too rich for you, replace the cream with more boiling water or stock and away you go with the low calorie version.

Soup Maker Recipe: Carrot and Coriander Soup

Course Soup


  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 200 ml Fresh Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 800 ml Boiling Water
  • 1 Stock Pot Vegetable or Chicken
  • 600 g Carrots Peeled and Sliced or Chopped
  • 75 g Onion Chopped
  • 75 g Potatoes Sliced


  • Saute the onions in the olive oil, adding your stock pot as the onions soften.
  • In the pot, add your onion mix, and the rest of your ingredients. Make sure to stir well before switching it on. It really does help to avoid soup sticking to the base of your soup maker if you don't have a non stick surface.
  • Select the smooth function for this option.
  • Serve with croutons.


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Soup Maker: Scottish Cullen Skink Soup Recipe

I’ve seen lots of different recipes that say they’re Cullen Skink, but the traditional way is to use smoked haddock, onions and mashed potatoes.  Using the traditional Cullen Skink Recipe requirement of pre cooked and mashed potatoes wasn’t an option for the slow cooker, as I wanted to be able to add the potatoes to cook in the pot like the other soup maker recipes.

I used regular haddock rather than smoked haddock, as I’m not a smoked fish fan.  If I’d used the smoked haddock, then I wouldn’t have eaten it.  Smoked fish is a very niche taste, with a smaller potential base of people who would enjoy it, so change your ingredients to suit your own tastes.

Using the water from the poached fish as the fish stock for your soup is what makes the dish.  Without it, the taste will be diluted and it will simply taste of heated milk.

In the end, I had a wee bit of a disaster when my soupmaker gave up the ghost half way through and shorted out.  It meant I had to transfer it to a pan to finish the job for this recipe, but it still turned out very nice.    To serve, I simply dolloped in some mashed potatoes made for the supper that evening, with a dash of parsley on the top.

Presentation wise, this is a lovely soup to dish up.  It would look perfect on any dinner table with some decoration on top of the actual soup itself.  A piece of cooked fish would also work really well sat on top of the mashed potatoes.  This is more of a meal in a plate than a regular soup, so be ready to have a full stomach after only one bowl full.

This is my version.  How would you make yours?

Soup Maker: Scottish Cullen Skink Recipe

Lesley Smith
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 21 minutes
Total Time 31 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine British
Servings 4 -6


  • 400 g Potatoes - Diced Small
  • 300 g Cooked Haddock Usually Smoked but we use Unsmoked
  • 100 g Onions - Chopped and Sauteed
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Poach the haddock on some water on the stove for around four minutes, until fully cooked.
  • Remove the haddock and strain the fish stock that's left over.
  • Add the potatoes, onion and fish to the soup maker and 200ml of the fish stock. Top up with 600ml semi skimmed milk. Add a teaspoon of salt and pepper.
  • Set your soupmaker to the smooth setting and wait until it's done. You may need to reblend to get the consistency you prefer.
  • Optional. Add up to 100ml of fresh cream and mix well to serve. This soup is not suitable for freezing.


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Top Tips For Using A Soup Maker

What are my top tips for using a soup maker?  Read on to find out.

Tomato Soup 8 Why Should You Use A Soup Maker?

For me, a soup maker was a welcome present from Morphy Richards, which has seen a labour of love grow from early beginnings.

Morphy Richards now have a new machine on the go, which seems to have a sauté base, so I covet that version at the moment.  For now, I will stick with my kettle version of a soup maker.

I imagine that if you are looking for soup maker recipes, that you already own a machine, but if you don’t, there are major differences between the two styles that prevail.

Types of Soup Maker

Kettle / Jug Type

This is like the version that I have.  It resembles a large kettle, but you cannot see the inside of it while the soup cooks.  You do need to use the minimum and maximum settings on the kettle to make sure you have the right amount of ingredients and fluid in your soup maker. My version can also make smoothies, which is a very welcome thing indeed.  The blender attachment is in the top of the kettle, which makes for very easy cleaning.

Blender Type

These versions tend to be slightly more expensive.  They can often sauté onions and vegetables, but with the kettle versions catching up, that benefit will soon be wiped out.

These usually resemble a traditional counter top blender, with the blending tool in the bottom of the glass.  They are said to be more difficult to clean, but I cannot vouch for that.  You really would have to find out for yourself.

Considerations For Buying A Soup Maker

Decide what SIZE of soup maker you will need.  My version makes soup from 1.3 – 1.6 litres.  If you are only making soup for one person, you might be fine with a small quantity soup maker, or simply freeze what you have made for another day.

Different SETTINGS do made a difference.  I wanted the option to have both smooth and chunky soup from my soup maker.  The smoothie function was an added bonus.  It isn’t obvious when you look at some versions, but reading more deeply into functions and settings, you might find the one you are coveting cannot do one or the other.

If you want ease of CLEANING, then you have no option but to read through the reviews of people who have owned soup makers.  I have only suffered from one burnt bottom of the pan, and that was my own fault, as I forgot to stir the ingredients with the fluid before I popped on the lid.   It is worth nothing though, that even though the bottom did burn, just a little….a ten minute soak with hot soapy water, and it scrubbed off no problem.

Soup Maker Tips and Tricks

  • Prepare as much of your ingredients as possible in advance. Considering that most of my recipes are simply chop and plop, it’s quite easy to do.
  • Use boiling water for your stock, or liquid addition. I find that if I use it cold from the tap that the vegetables may not be fully cooked when the soup is ready.  Starting with hot stock, gives it a great chance to add more flavour and taste.
  • If you plan to use anything frozen, make sure the ingredients are fully thawed first.
  • Make sure all meat that goes into the soup maker is pre-cooked. Soup makers do not have long enough settings to cook your meat.
  • Chop your ingredients into small pieces, especially potatoes, carrots and turnip. This allows the vegetables to fully cook in the short soup maker cycle.
  • Ensure the lid is fully closed or sealed.
  • Do NOT open the lid during cooking. If you do you may find yourself splattered with very hot liquid.
  • Some soup makers have a strong pulse setting. I’ve seen many people recommend holding down the lid, to avoid soup being pushed up and out of the blender.  I do not have this problem with my version, but remember to check out the possibilities of your own.
  • Follow your manufacturers minimum and maximum guidelines. My jug has these clearly marked on the inside of my machine.
  • Do not submerge your soup maker fully in water to clean.  Follow your instructions to the letter, or you may short out your machine.
  • Follow your manufacturers instructions for cooking, cleaning and maintenance.


  1. NEVER fill your soup maker past its manufacturers recommendation or outside the minimum and maximum fill levels.
  2. Do NOT immerse any parts of your soup maker fully in water.
  3. Keep soup makers and kettles away from the edges of counters, especially if you have children, to avoid them being dragged over the edge.
  4. Do not be tempted to open the lid during cooking. The soup maker contents may explode over you.
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Soup Maker: Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Recipe

Buying vegetables that are nearly end dates is a common feature of my shopping now.  I get them home, immediately make them into some kind of soup and then I have some frozen goodness in the freezer for whenever it is needed.

I would never have actually done that pre soup maker days as the effort required was just too much, especially for a small batch of soup.

These vegetables were on their last day for being sold, so I snapped them up for pennies.  I had made 3 batches of soup within an hour or so of coming home from the shop.

Soup Maker: Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Recipe 1.6 Litres

Lesley S Smith
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 21 minutes
Total Time 31 minutes
Course Soup
Servings 6


  • 300 g Sweet Potato Chopped
  • 300 g Butternut Squash
  • TablespoonParsley
  • PinchSalt
  • Hot Water
  • Stock Cube
  • Parsley and Lemon Seasoning


  • Prepare the vegetables and chop up into reasonably small pieces for speed of making the soup.
  • Put the vegetables, stock cube and a pinch of salt into the soup maker or pot.
  • Add water to the 1600 ml mark in a soup maker, or to the same level in a measuring jug with the vegetables in if you plan to use a pot for your cooking.
  • Choose your soupmaker setting and set it to go. I use the smooth setting most frequently. If you are making this in a pot, take off a simmering heat when the vegetables are fully cooked and use a blender to puree your finished soup. Sprinkle parsley and lemon seasoning on the soup before serving.


All the ingredients for the 1.6 Litre output of soup need to total up to approximately 800g.  I simply add a few carrots, potatoes and the onion and then top up with the largest main ingredient to the 800 grammes.



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Giveaway: Morphy Richards 1.6 Litre Soup Maker – Ends 13th Dec 2013

Earlier this week, I reviewed this Morphy  Richards soup maker after trialling it for a few days.

Morphy Richards Soup Maker Featured

I did say that I would be putting one up for a giveaway and here it is.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to complete the steps in the rafflecopter widget and obviously get in touch within 7 days if you are picked as the winner through random generator.

It’s currently on sale at the discounted price of £44.99 by using the code GH2255 on the Morphy Richards website.

Good luck to you all, this is indeed a time saver in the kitchen and one that is now my new best friend.

The winner will be drawn by random generator on the 14th December 2013.  The competition closes at midnight on the 13th December 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the widget sticks you will find the direct link here.

The Rules

  1. Open to UK Mainland Entrants only.
  2. The prize will be delivered to you and you must give us your address to send it to you.
  3. Winners will be notified within 3 days of giveaway end. If the winner does not respond within 7 days, a new winner will be drawn.
  4. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter random generator.
  5. Morphy Richards reserves the right to amend, add or withdraw this giveaway at any time.
  6. Each entry method entitles you to one entry into the draw.
  7. You may tweet daily.  Each tweet counts as a rafflecopter entry, only if you enter it into the rafflecopter widget daily.
  8. The prize will be for one Morphy Richards Soup Maker.