Tag Archives: comfort

The Next Best Thing To A Duvet Day: Velvety Mushroom and Chestnut Soup

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Winter is dragging on, my mood is as gloomy as the weather, and I feel like I am going to be cold forever.

I wish I could just burrow under the duvet and wait for the temperatures to start climbing again before venturing back out, but I can’t do that because I would most probably get sacked. Unfortunately, my job cannot be done from home, and it definitely cannot be done from under a duvet, so like most other people I have to suck it up, leave my bed and wrap up in a lot of layers in order to go to work. And it sucks.

Sadly, taking your duvet to work isn’t normally very practical either. So, what to do? What could make up for having to get out of bed?

In my opinion, the next best thing to a duvet is probably soup. It is warm, comforting and satisfying, and unlike a duvet you can take it to work to enjoy during your lunch break, without having to endure being stared at by your co-workers as if you have suddenly grown a second head. If you agree with me, then this recipe is definitely for you.

This mushroom and chestnut soup is very tasty and warming. The chestnut purée is optional, but the texture wouldn’t be as smooth and velvety without it. Use any mushrooms you want; if you are lucky enough to have access to wild mushrooms then don’t hesitate to use them. I usually go for a mixture of chestnut mushrooms and (rehydtated) dried porcini.

You will need (for 4 servings):

800 g mixed mushrooms (rehydrated weight if using dried mushrooms), quartered
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
30 g butter
3 tbsp olive oil
2 pinches dried thyme
3 tbsp brandy
1 litre hot chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
Salt, pepper
4 heaped tbsp unsweetened chestnut purée

Method:

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and butter together on a medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and thyme and cook until soft but not coloured (about 3 to 4 min).

Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 min, then add the brandy and cook for 1 or 2 min to evaporate the alcohol. Add the stock, season, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 25 min.

Transfer about 2/3 of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour it back into the pan with the rest of the soup, and stir in the chestnut purée. Check the seasoning.

Serve with plenty of crusty bread, and crème fraîche if you like.

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Filed under Mains, Soups, Starters, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Your Sunday Night Hug: Fried Eggs With Potatoes and Peppers

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Do you ever get this Sunday night feeling? You know, at the end of a great, sunny weekend, full of your child’s smiles, and laughter, and walks around the park, good food and good company, and a host of simple, little joys. When you realise this is over, and in the morning, once again, you will don your corporate smile, and matching suit, and make your way to work.

When you get this feeling, you want and need something that will help you make the most out of the small slice of weekend you have left. Something comforting and safe.

This is what this dish is. A little piece of sunny Sunday, a bit of a smile on your plate, an edible hug to help you through the week ahead.

You will need (for 2):

4 eggs
1 green pepper
3 medium potatoes
1/2 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. In a non-stick frying pan, heat up enough olive oil to come up to about 5 mm deep. Gently fry the potatoes on a medium heat until cooked, but not crisp.

Meanwhile, de-seed the pepper and dice it. Add it to the pan about 10 min after the potatoes. When cooked, drain the vegetables onto kitchen paper and pour the oil out of the pan, reserving just 1 tbsp.
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Return the pan to the heat with the reserved oil, and gently fry the onion. Add the potatoes and pepper. Spread in an even layer at the bottom of the pan.

Break the eggs over the vegetables, taking care not to break the yolks, and cook to your liking. Season, then serve with crusty bread.image

8 Comments

Filed under Eggs, Mains, Vegetarian