It’s cold outside and what could be nicer than experimenting with a new soup recipe?
Heidi’s Northumberland celeriac and fennel soup was at the very top of my to do list. I had a big bowl of chicken stock left over from a couple of days ago, so it was soup and risotto for supper, no question!
I followed Heidi’s recipe, cooking the vegetables and the fruit in stock till they were soft. Then they were puréed and the liquid adjusted. Salt and pepper to taste, mixed in some ground toasted almonds and a generous spoonful of half fat creme fraiche (instead of half and half regular cream) per serving. Warmed the soup through, without letting it boil, and even remembered to warm the soup bowls!
Celeriac is very good right now, firm and fresh and one of my favourite winter vegetables. It was wonderful in this soup! I also like it
- added to mashed potatoes
- cut into julienne strips, blanched for a minute and slathered in mayonnaise and yoghurt with a grainy Dijon mustard: celeriac remoulade.
- as a layering vegetable in a shepherd’s pie or similar.
I’m sure I read somewhere that it has loads of accessible iron too, so a good vegetable to put on your list if your iron levels are low.
It discolours on contact with the air, so acidulated water is a good idea if it is going to be used for remoulade or some assembly dish where it has to hang around for a bit before getting cooked.
I had no blanched almonds, so I went through that lovely ritual of pouring boiling water over the almonds and popping their skins off and toasting them in the oven. They’re much nicer that way anyway. That’s the smell of a Danish Christmas come early for me and I think this soup would fit right in for a Danish Christmas Eve supper.
We followed up that nutty, intensely flavoured and creamy soup, scattered with ground toasted almonds and chopped fennel fronds with a mushroom risotto out of Marcella Cucina a great Italian cook book by Marcella Hazan and….
… then dived into a tasting box of chocolates from Artisan du Chocolat – a gift from Tutak to Brian that I was allowed to share selectively.
I think they are some of the best chocolates I have ever tasted! In fact I couldn’t take an unblurry picture because I was too eager to grab another of those salted liquid caramel balls…
In the winter garden, a rogue fennel seedling has inserted itself in the patio step and is waving its little fronds defiantly against the cold. I wonder when the first fennel was grown here? I always thought it was an Italian plant, but maybe it came over with the Romans?