Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Soup at home

Now I actually get to eat the soup I made for the TV show yesterday. I had only tasted it for seasoning yesterday and it wilted so considerably under the harsh studio lights I certainly didn’t intend to try some after the filming. So today I heated up another bowlful and posed it with the original Simon Hopkinson recipe though to be fair he said he got it from the sadly no longer open Walnut Tree near Abergavenny which had been an old favourite of his. However I was delighted to read that Shaun Hill is re-launching it again next month so maybe it will get to shine again.

I think I am recovering from the jetlag but do feel particularly wiped out today, I can’t really believe it was all that clapping yesterday – it is possible to get 'enthusiastic audience' fatigue? So with that in mind a bowl of home-made soothing soup seems just what the doctor ordered. Thankfully all the slaving over a hot stove has already been done and a little gentle re-heating shouldn’t be too taxing.

And I have to admit it is a lovely soup. It is velvety unctuous and flavoursome and thankfully entirely crust free! I would heartily recommend.

This is the recipe as printed in the Independent back in 1998, then Simon Hopkinson used cepes but the version he put in the wonderful book Week in Week Out definitely say porcini. Other than that it is the same simple and oh so tasty recipe. I guess the white truffle flourish was another later addition also, though I think the droplets of white truffle oil did add a little extra luxury and headiness.

Cepe and potato soup, serves 4

200g fresh cepes, thinly sliced or diced
5 medium potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
60g butter (I found that I wanted to use a little more)
200ml single cream
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper

Peel and roughly chop the potatoes, just cover with water, add salt and the garlic. Cook until collapsed. Pass the whole lot (water included) through the fine blade of a mouli-legumes (vegetables mill) - try not to use a food processor as this will make the soup too smooth. Return to the heat. Add half the butter, freshly ground pepper (I like white rather than black here, though can you find to find white peppercorns in any supermarket?), and taste for salt. Beat the mixture well with a balloon whisk; if it is too thick, add some water.

A few minutes before serving, add the cepes, which have been sautéed in the remaining butter, with the cream, parsley and seasoning. Serve with Parmesan sprinkled over the surface.

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