Broccoli and blue cheese soup

Being on holiday this week, I bought tickets for a National Trust site, Lyme Park – the stately home used as Pemberley in the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (the BBC one, not the rubbish film with Keira Knightley). However, being in England, shortly after we arrived it started to hail and it was too cold to stay more than an hour despite it being April and I didn’t even manage to stay long enough to find the Mr Darcy statue in the lake. When I got home, I just wanted to warm up with this winter soup that I adapted almost to non-recognition from ‘Jamie’s Great Britain’. This recipe works best with the strongest blue cheese you can get i.e. the British Stilton.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 small heads of broccoli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • seasoning
  • 1.5 litres flavour chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 100g Stilton cheese

Method

1.) Chop up the stalks of the broccoli into pieces and heat the oil in a large pan/crockpot

2.) Add the stalks on a low heat and peel and chop up the onion

3.) Add the onion to the pan with 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

4.) Strip the rosemary leaves from the sprigs and finely chop. Strip the thyme leaves and chuck all the herbs into the pan

5.) Add 200ml water to the pan and put on the lid. Cook on a low heat for 40 minutes

6.) When the 40 minutes is nearly up, make up the stock and chop up the florets of the broccoli

7.) Add both to the pan and put the lid back on, cook for another 15 minutes

8.) When done, take off the heat and blitz with an immersion blender until smooth.

9.) Add the cheese and stir until melted, season and serve.

cheese and Chive flapjacks

If I remember correctly, in the US, if you spoke about flapjacks you’d be referring to pancakes. In the UK, however, you’d generally be referring to golden syrup (light amber coloured molasses), mixed with oats and butter and baked. It’s a very well-loved treat here so I was going a bit left field with this savoury version which I found on the BBC good food website but it was a revelation. Unfortunately, as I discovered it only keeps for a couple of days so it’s best making to share.

Serves 16

Ingredients

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250g porridge oats
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 100g mature cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 10g chives
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp golden linseeds

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees C fan oven)

2.) Peel and grate the carrots

3.) Melt the butter in a large pan then add the oats, chia seeds and carrots

3.) Grate the cheese

4.) Chop the chives finely

5.) Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl

6.) Add the oat mixture, the cheese, chives and the seeds to the bowl and give it a stir

7.) Spray a 20 x 20cm baking tin with oil and tip in the oats

8.) Spread out the mixture and press down so it covers the tin evenly

9.) Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden

10.) Leave to cool and cut into slices to serve.