Even though we can buy mushrooms all year round, this is a good time to make mushroom soup.
cook 25 minutes
340g mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
1 thick slice of bread
1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken stock or beef stock
Melt the butter. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook them gently.
As the juices start to run, stir in the garlic, half the parsley and seasoning to taste.
Put the piece of bread in the pan and add some of the stock so the bread soaks it up. Then stir it into the mushrooms.
Add the rest of the stock and simmer for 15 mins.
Puree in a blender – gently reheat, stirring in the cream and the remaining parsley.
This soup also works well as a chilled soup should you want to make it in the summer!
Cauliflower and coriander soup
Or for something a bit different how about this (from Casa Moro – a great recipe book!)
cook 50 minutes
60g butter (or vegetable margarine)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1½ tbsp coriander seeds, roughly ground
1 x 1kg cauliflower (or 2 small ones). Discard the leaves and slice roughly 1cm thick
750ml vegetable stock
1 egg yolk
½ tbsp cornflour or plain flour
400g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
Salt & pepper
Optional 1–2 tsp chilli flakes
Melt the butter or margarine in a large saucepan with the oil.
Stir in the onion, garlic and coriander seeds and cook, stirring every now and then, for 10–15 mins until they begin to colour.
Add the cauliflower and 300ml of the stock. Cover and simmer for 20–30 mins. Every now and then, instead of stirring it, use a potato masher to mash the soup.
When the cauliflower is soft and fairly smooth, add the rest of the stock and bring to a simmer. (If you want a very smooth soup, whizz it up in a blender, but you may prefer it as it is with a slightly grainy texture.)
In a bowl, stir the egg yolk with the cornflour to make a smooth paste. (This will stabilise the yoghurt when it is heated.)
Now stir in the yoghurt and then whisk this mixture into the soup. Bring gently to the boil, season with salt and pepper and stir in the fresh coriander.
To be thoroughly authentic, caramelise 75g butter by heating over the very lowest heat until the pale whey separates and turns a golden brown. Sprinkle some of this on each bowl of soup and top with chilli flakes.
Mushroom and haricot chasseur with lemon herb dumplings
A splendid one-pot dish for 8 people (or 4 people twice) but you do need a big pot!
This is especially for those who have hunted their mushrooms (chasseur means ‘hunter’) but just as good for those who’ve bought them! This recipe needs a £5 bottle of red wine.
cook 2 hours
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large red & 1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips
450g (1lb) mushrooms – a mixture is nice
2 carrots, cut into half-moon slices
2 tins of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
750ml red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
450 g wholewheat flour
110g vegetable suet
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon – zest and juice
Handful fresh herbs, chopped (parsley/sage/dill/rosemary)
Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4
Heat the olive oil in a really big, flameproof casserole and sauté the onion, garlic and peppers until soft.
Thinly slice half the mushrooms and add these and the whole mushrooms to the onion and pepper mix, along with the carrots and the haricot beans. Add the tomatoes and gently mix together.
In a separate jug, mix the tomato paste, thyme, cayenne and red wine, plus a little seasoning. Pour the liquid over everything in the casserole.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put in the oven for about 1½ hours, stirring gently a couple of times.
For the dumplings, mix together the flour, suet and baking powder; add the lemon zest and juice, salt and herbs.
Mix together thoroughly, gradually adding just enough water to make a stiff dough.
Form into 16 golf ball-sized dumplings.
Put them into the casserole for the last 30 mins of cooking, leaving the lid off so they crisp up on top but the bottom part is absorbing the lovely juices of the chasseur. Mmmmmmm!
Spiced apple cake
This is SO good. It can be eaten as a cake or served with cream or ice cream as a dessert. Serves 6–8.
cook 1 hours
125g butter or margarine
225g soft dark brown/muscovado sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
225g plain flower
2 tsp baking powder
2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
300g cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp clear honey
2tbsp demerara sugar
Line a 20cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.
Heat the oven to 160˚C/ or 140˚C fan/Gas mark 3.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the eggs.
Sift over the flour, baking powder and spices and fold them in gently.
Stir in the apple and then spread the mixture into the tin, smoothing it out evenly.
Bake for an hour until risen, lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
While the cake is cooking, combine the honey and demerara sugar. Once the cake is cooked, allow it to cool for a few minutes but spread the honey mixture over the cake while it is still warm.
This cake will keep well wrapped in foil for 3 or 4 days but my guess is it will be eaten pretty quickly!