Soup and Kailyard (last 2 of promised 7)

  • 22/01/08
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Parsnip and Honey Soup

1oz unsalted butter
1lb 2oz parsnips, roughly chopped
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1 bunch of thyme 
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp Fife honey
1¾pt vegetable stock
1 glass of cider
4tbsp double cream

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7. Heat the butter in an ovenproof casserole dish, add the parsnips and roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, then mix in the herbs and honey. Cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have caramelized.

Remove the dish from the oven, add the stock and bring it to the boil on top of the stove. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cider then pour the soup into a blender and purée until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, swirl in the cream and serve. It’s REALLY nice. The last one is nicked off Hugh at the Guardian here. We started with Celeriac  and end with Kale –  something else people get bored with and not sure how to cook ‘cos it can be tough.

Kale and Baked Eggs

500ml whole milk
half an onion
1 clove
1 pinch grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
40g butter
40g plain flour
125g mature cheddar, grated
Salt and pepper
500g curly kale
4 very fresh large eggs, at room temperature
1 big knob cold butter

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Begin by making a white sauce: put the milk, onion, clove, nutmeg and bay leaf in a pan, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Melt 40g butter over a low heat in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add flour and stir until a smooth roux is formed. Cook for five minutes, until it is the consistency of wet sand. Strain the milk and add a little at a time, stirring to remove lumps. Keep stirring over a low heat until the sauce coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the cheddar, reserving 25g for later; when melted, season to taste, then remove from heat and cover with greaseproof paper or clingfilm, to stop a skin forming.

Pull the kale leaves off their stems, wash and roughly chop. Bring a deep pan of salted water to the boil, plunge in the kale for two minutes, then drain. Stir the kale into cheese sauce, then divide between four large ramekins or put it all in one larger ovenproof dish. Make four hollows in the kale mixture and break in the eggs – keep the yolks intact. Dot a few pieces of cold butter around the eggs and sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Bake for eight to 10 minutes, until the eggs are cooked the way you like them. Serves four.