I realised with horror that I haven’t actually posted anything for a lot longer than I thought… so I’m going to make up for it with a series of give-aways over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas.
First up, my favourite home-made soup recipe (nothing to do with books, research or translation, except that I often make it to take into work for lunch); next week: a new short story in translation! and I might even work up to a book give-away… watch this space.
This recipe is loosely based on a recipe I was once told by the chef at the Corporation Arms, Longridge, where I worked while I was studying. The measurements are only approximate (and are mixed imperial/metric) because this is the first time in nearly 20 years of cooking it that I’ve written it down rather than just following it in my head!
butter and/or light olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
c. 700g mushrooms (usually one of those supermarket cheap big tubs; preferably open-cap white mushrooms), chopped roughly including stalks
plain flour, a couple of tablespoons
1.5 pints chicken or vegetable stock
c. 150 ml double cream
In a large pot, melt the butter and/or oil (I tend to use half and half: a decent slice of butter and a good glug of oil) and cook the onion with a pinch of salt until starting to look translucent.
Add the garlic, cook for another few minutes, then add the mushrooms. I usually put the lid on briefly at this point to help the mushrooms to soften.
When the mushrooms have softened (5-10 mins) and there is a bit of mushroom-y liquid at the bottom, add enough plain flour to soak up the liquid and make a loose roux.
Cook this for a minute or so, then add the stock (chicken for my non-veggie preference) and a good sprinkling of dried chives (a tablespoon or so; fresh chives are also fine but dried work just as well here). A pint and a half of stock is probably about right, though to be honest I usually just pour hot water from the kettle into the pot until it looks ‘right’, then add a couple of stock cubes.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 mins.
Add the cream and allow to bubble for a few minutes to thicken. Add the parsley and some black pepper, and then take off the heat.
I would now take about 1/2 of the soup out and blend till smooth then add it back to the pot, but that’s a matter of personal preference; at any rate, check the seasoning, then try not to eat the whole lot in one go.