This colourful soup is light yet satisfying. Chunky cubes of white fish, prawns and small pasta shells combine with the full flavours of fennel and leek to make a delicious first course. Serve with warm crusty bread, or chunky slices off a hearty mixed-grain loaf or poppy-seed bread plait.
Different types and brands of chilli sauce vary widely in flavour and some are very hot, so start with just a dash if you are not familiar with the product and then add more to taste. * Use 450 g (1 lb) each of monkfish fillet and scrubbed mussels instead of sea bass and prawns; add the mussels with the fish. Replace the fennel with 4 sliced celery sticks and 2 diced carrots. Discard any unopened mussels at the end of cooking. * Plain low-fat yogurt can be added instead of cream, but do not heat the soup once the yogurt has been added or it will separate. * Omit the chilli sauce and instead add 2 tbsp dry white vermouth; use chopped fresh dill instead of parsley.
White fish is a rich source of protein and it contains very little fat. It is also a good source of vitamin B12, which is essential for the formation of red blood cells and for maintaining a healthy nervous system. * Bulb or Florence fennel contains more phytoestrogen than most vegetables. This naturally occurring plant hormone encourages the body to excrete excess oestrogen, a high level of which is linked with a greater risk of breast cancer.
B1, B6, B12, E, niacin * C, copper, iron, selenium * potassium