Monday, 8 June 2009

Top Three Reasons I am Posting Two Soups in a Row in June

1. It is cold here. I had to wear a jacket. In June! Hope for better weather tomorrow.
2. My baby is sick. And by my baby, I mean my almost-legally-a-man, Harry, who has been reduced to I-want-my-mommy, my-throat-hurts status.
3. The soup is good, very good.

When one has a sick baby, no matter the size of said baby, one must head directly to the stores to stock up on sickie essentials. Ginger ale, popsicles, crossword puzzles and lozenges are all appropriate. It does not matter that you have a half dozen little-used puzzle books at home, or an opened bag of lozenges in your purse. A sick person likes to have fresh things presented to them. A sign that they are loved. This small service to the infirmed will reduce their malady by approximately one day. It's the least we can do.

Another sickie stand-by is soup. Which is not to say my sickie ate his soup. No, he took a look at the oniony broth and decided that popsicles were the way to go for his poor, swollen throat. Hubby and I ate the soup for him. It was delicious.

English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar
Jamie Oliver, Jamie at Home

Good knob of butter
Olive oil
Handful fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for garnish
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 red onions, peeled and sliced
3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
11 ounces leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups good-quality hot beef, chicken or vegetable stock
8 slices good-quality stale bread, 3/4-inch thick
7 ounces freshly grated Cheddar
Worcestershire sauce

Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a heavy bottomed, nonstick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without coloring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes, the onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavor, so don't be tempted to speed this up.
When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavor.
Preheat the oven or broiler to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it's perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking sheet. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to t like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.
Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place 1 on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven or under the broiler to melt theLink cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the baking sheet and carry it to the table. Enjoy.
More soup for Souper Sunday!

Why are these dogs dressed up?

Bella and Merlin went to a party last week at The Blond Duck's house. They had lots of fun at The Pond Puppy Ball, and made lots of new friends.

They wore their party hats (ok, they are left-over from St. Patrick's Day, but they don't know that!) and they wore their yellow duckie raincoats. They felt very smart indeed.

Such a wonderful time they had, Bella won the honour of being named Princess of the Puppy Ball. Congratulations, Bella! Methinks the judge has a thing for pugs..

Aw, who's a cute shih tzu?