01 January 2010

Welcoming in the New Year

Starting the year as I mean to continue, our first cooked meal in 2010 was a success on every level. Making thrifty use of left-overs and a few solitary ingredients from our vegetable basket, yet delighting all who partook of it, especially my husband who allegedly does not like soup - or so he claims every time until he has eaten a bowl full or two...

Celeriac Soup Meets Three Friends

Soup Ingredients:
1 head of celeriac
1 leek
1 onion
3 potatoes
1 garlic clove
1 apple
a knob of butter
coarse sea salt
fresh thyme
a bay leaf
a dollop of mascarpone

The soup was roughly inspired by a recipe in "River Cottage every day" but this is my take on it. To prepare the soup, roughly chop up the celeriac, leek, onion, potatoes and garlic, and sweat off in a little butter. Top up with ca. 1-2 liters of water, season with coarse sea salt and pepper, add a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf and simmer for ca. 20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Remove the bay leave, add a spoonful of mascarpone and puree. Adjust the seasoning. Serve with several garnishes and oven-warm bread rolls.

I served this soup with three accompaniments. The first one was a plain salad of beluga lentils I had made the previous day: boil lentils until soft, season with salt and pepper. Chop and fry off a shallot in olive oil, add to the lentils and add sherry vinegar to taste. We ate this as a starter yesterday, topped with smoked goose breast. Obviously you would not want to overdo it on the vinegar but as they were, our lentils made a pretty and substantial garnishing for the soup.

The soup's second friend is an old crony, namely crumbled blue stilton cheese. Celery and stilton soup is a classic, but I wanted to give my children the choice to discover this playfully at their own speed, so I served a piece of stilton on the side, making crumbles with a fork which we stirred into our soup.

The third accompaniment was a bowl of fried apple pieces, adding both sweetness and tartness. Peel and core an apple and cut into small pieces. Fry off in hot olive oil with several sprigs of fresh thyme. Serve with the oil which you may want to sprinkle over the soup. Enjoy!

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