Saturday, March 01, 2008

Looking Forward

Although I normally begin with a soup recipe, this recipe has just caught my eye and adapted to suit the ingredients I have in store. If you have leeks, use three of these these instead of the onion. If you prefer, use Stilton or Caerphilly cheese (or any other cheese that has good flavour). So often we open cartons of fruit juice and find we have some left - and with a shortish shelf life, once opened it needs using up. So this makes good use of apple juice. With this in mind, why not cook carrots in orange juice next time you make a soup?
Cheddary Cheese Soup: serves 4
1 oz (25g) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 oz (175g) strong, mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1 pint (600ml) milk
5 fl oz (150ml ) apple juice
salt and pepper
Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and saute until softened. Stir in the milk, apple juice and cheese. Heat gently, stirring all the time, until the cheese has melted. Season to taste. Serve immediately, with croutons and extra grated cheese.

This next recipe is more of a snack. Omit the onion and chutney and you will be making the ordinary Welsh Rarebit. However, serve the lot and satisfaction guaranteed.
Ploughman's Rarebit: serves 4
8 oz (225g) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1 oz (25g) butter
1 tsp English mustard
4 tblsp brown ale
1 small onion, grated
salt and pepper
4 thick slices granary bread
Worcestershire sauce (opt)
Put the cheese, butter, mustard, onion and ale into a saucepan. Heat gently until the cheese has melted, stirring until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
Toast one side of the bread, spreading a little chutney over the the untoasted side, then cover that with the cheese mixture. Cook under the grill until golden and bubbling. Season again with pepper and - if you wish - drizzle over a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.

Finishing with a recipe which is called 'an omelette', but which reminds me very much of the 'omelettes' we had in Tunisia where it is baked in a tin, and served in squares, rather like a tray-bake. This recipe also uses what they call 'spring vegetables', although we may have to wait a week or two to harvest from the garden. But as ever, we can - even now - buy the ingredients. Fresh herbs could be used (3 tblsp chopped) and creme fraiche and/or yogurt instead of the cream.
Spring Vegetable Omelette: makes 16 squares
4 oz (100g - or 1 pack) rocket leaves, chopped
2 bunches spring onions, thinly sliced
1 lb (500g) frozen peas
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tsp dried mixed herbs
12 large eggs
half a pint (300ml) double cream
salt and pepper
Mix together the rocket leaves, spring onion, peas, garlic and herbs and spread over the bottom of a greased 10" (25.5cm) square cake tin. Beat the eggs and cream together. season to taste and pour over the filling. Bake for one and a quarter hours at 150C, 300F, gas 2. Cool in tin. Serve, cut into squares, at room temperature. This eats very well with an onion relish or serve the recipe below.