Monday, September 13, 2010

Roast Onion and Thyme soup with Feta

Intensely savoury, dark and interesting this one, quite salty from the feta and with a depth that if you look into it for too long will show you your future . . .

- Put the oven on to hot, say 200 centigrade.
- Peel and slice some onions. Mine were a little bit smaller than an apple so for a pint of soup ( 2 peoples worth ) I used 5. Slice them to the size you want in the soup.
- Put the onions into a roasting dish and add in a clove of garlic crushed, peeled and chopped, the leaves and tips from a handfull of fresh thyme sprigs and a tespoonful of whole cumin seeds.
- Pour over enough olive oil to coat everything and lob in a tablespoonful of butter and some ground black pepper.
- Place in the oven and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions start to blacken and char at edges. Ten to twenty minutes probably.
- Turn the oven down low, maybe 130 centigrade so that it is just bubbling and leave to cook nice and slowly until the onions are soft and honey coloured. This will take a while, another twenty minutes to half an hour or more even. The slower the cooking the more the sweetness of the onions will come out.
- Once cooked transfer into a saucepan, oil and everything and top up with a pint and a quarter of vegetable stock.
- Simmer gently for ten minutes or so to allow the flavours to blend check for seasoning and serve with some creamy feta crumbled in.

I had the oven on at the time so roasted the onions but there is no reason you cannot cook them in a frying pan on the stove. Just keep the heat down low and watch that they do not burn,

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leek, Cheese and Walnut Pie with Wholemeal Cumin Pastry

I had a vision. A vision of leeks slowly cooked in butter and mixed with cheese, fragrantly relaxing onto my plate like a hippy earth mother at peace with the world. So I made a pie.

- Make some pastry. Take a cup of plain flour, a cup of wholemeal flour and 4 ounces of butter and a pinch of salt and rub them together with your fingertips until they resemble breadcrumbs. Mix in a teaspoon of ground cumin seeds and half a teaspoon of whole seeds then mix in just enough cold water to make it all stick together, 4 tablespoonsful in my case.
- Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and pop into the fridge for the time being.
- Now the filling. Put a frying pan on to heat with a iittle oil and a slice of butter.
- Peel and chop an onion and four or five leeks and put them in the pan top cook slowly for a good fifteen or twenty minutes.
- Turn the oven on to hot, say 200 celcius.
- once the leeks are nearly cooked, they should be translucent and turning honey coloured, drop in a handfull of walnut pieces and then stir in a dessertspoonful of plain flour.
- Roll out the pastry and line a deep dish with it, I could only find a flan dish so used a 7” cake tin. I think the metal tin helps keep the pastry crisp with the wet filling. Cut off the excess and roll it out again for the top.
- Now mix a handful or so of a nice cheese with some taste to it, cheddar in my case, into the leeks and themn spoon it all into the pastry case.
- Put the top on, squash the edges and cut a notch in the middle to let the steam out and put in the oven until golden brown on top.
- If you are lucky and allow the pie to cool a little you can turn it out onto a plate to reveal it’s full glory.

I served ours with some boiled and fried potatoes and a green salad of well . . . lettuce leaves and a honey mustard dressing.

It was lovely by the way . . .

ps the photo has the 70's retro look because it was getting dark at teatime and my photo had that bright orange look of artificial light. Come to think of it the cookery books in the 70's tended to have very colour saturated photos anyway so maybe it was appropriate after all.

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