Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Wild Garlic & Potato Soup

Though very comforting, root vegetables begin to lose their appeal as the days get longer.  This time of year we have to jump on spring greens and what better than free and fresh spring greens?   Not so far from here there is a Coillte forest area called ‘Mote Park’.  It’s a great place to go for a wander and forage for wild garlic – you’ll know it when you smell it.

Wild Garlic Mote Park

I had brought my scissors and a carrier bag so filled it up, brought the wild garlic back to the kitchen, washed it and quickly made wild garlic & potato soup.

Here’s the recipe:

For 6

1 large white onion, peeled & roughly chopped

1 leek, washed & roughly chopped

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

3 large potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped

1 carrier bag wild garlic

1.5L light vegetable stock or water

sea salt & black pepper

1 clove garlic (crushed)


Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion and leek.  Season with salt, cover and sweat for 15-20 minutes stirring a couple of time.  Remove the lid and add the potato and stock/water.  Bring to the boil and simmer until the potatoes are just cooked.  Add the wild garlic and crushed garlic clove.  Cook for less than 1 minute.  Blitz with a blender and season well.  This soup should look lovely and green.  A dash of cream at the end would be fab.

Potato & Wild Garlic Soup

A French Onion Soup Night

Autumn is so welcome – because of the sheer beauty.

This was 8 o’clock yesterday evening.

Garden & Fog

Gazebo & Hen House

Sunflower & Trees 1

Sunflowers & Trees 2

Leeks at Foggy Dusk

I set about making some french onion soup – vickscakes got it into my mind, as well as the head gardener and my husband.  It seems there aren’t a whole pile of organic onions around Ireland this year and we have a whole pile.  The head gardener feels they need to be used before Christmas.  I started to make a dent with french onion soup.

Just last week I added to our small le creuset collection with this beautiful 22cm casserole:

Le Creuset & Fire

We had received a ‘one 4 all’ voucher nearly a year ago as a wedding gift and it was about to expire.  I got a great deal on this pot.  My plan was to make Julia Child’s beef bourguignon as the maiden dish.  I got home with all my onions and wondered what pot to use.  No matter how hard I tried to convince myself otherwise – this was now the best pot I had for french onion soup!   I took out ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and made a version of the french onion soup there, doing the best with what I had……in the le creuset pot.  It’s not exactly Julia’s but I definitely had the onions.

This is what I did for 2 people:

6 onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced in 1/2 moons

1 1/2 tbsp butter

1/4 tsp sugar

600ml beef stock

1/2 glass red wine

sea salt & black pepper

4 rounds french bread

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2oz grated parmesan and cheddar mix (gruyere would be best I think)

  1. Julia recommends heating the butter in a pot, adding the onions and covering to cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly and add 1/4 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt and 1 bay leaf.  Cook the onions for a further 30 – 40 minutes with the lid off, stirring regularly until the onions turn a lovely dark golden caramel.
  3. Add the red wine, beef stock, salt and pepper to season.  Bring to boil and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.  (Julia recommends adding brandy towards the end – I didn’t have any.  She had also recommended a white wine, not red but I didn’t have any).  I have added Marsala wine before to this recipe before serving and no complaints.  Sometimes it needs a kick – especially if you’re using beef buillion.
  4. During this time, I set my top oven to low and had the slices of french bread ‘drying out’ for 30 minutes.  Half way through the drying out I rubbed each slice with a clove of garlic and some olive oil.  If the bread is soft in any way it will sink and get soggy very quickly.  When the soup is ready (after checking seasoning etc), ladle it into warm bowls, top each bowl with 2 rings french bread and sprinkle grated cheese on the bread.  Place under a hot grill for less than a minute to melt the cheese.

Onions carmelising

Enjoy with a glass of red wine near the fire!

French Onion Soup

Al fresco

I took my lunch in the sun today, using the herb bath for a table.  It was lovely!  Lentil, carrot & cumin soup – one of my favourite and a recipe I regularly pass on at courses.

Cumin & Lentil Soup al fresco