French onion soup

Our kitchen has seen a lot of onion action recently, as I made Char’s Sweet ‘n’ Smokey Chipotle Salsa just a few of days ago.

Onion soup has been around for centuries. Dating back to Roman times, it used to be seen a food for the poor, because onions grow in such abundance. It has since developed into a pillar of classic French cuisine, with restaurants all over the world taking pride in their French onion soup. Cooked the right way it can take many hours for the onions to caramelise properly and the full flavour of the soup to develop. You can find much quicker recipes out there, my recipe is somewhere in the middle, with a cooking time of around 2 hours.

This soup in vegetarian, but traditional recipes use beef stock instead of vegetable stock. The recipe is easy, but you do have to stay close to keep the onions moving, so that they don’t burn.


2kg onions, thinly sliced

100g butter

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp flour

2 litres vegetable stock

1 bulb garlic

2 brown sugar cubes

White wine


Cut the onions in half and thinly slice each one. Peel the garlic cloves and finely dice them.

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan. Add the onions, fry them on a low heat with the lid on, stirring frequently for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and add the sugar cubes and garlic. Cook for a further 30 minutes, turning the heat up gradually. Keep the onions moving constantly, so they don’t burn. The onions reduce to about a quarter of their original volume. You want the onions to turn a golden brown colour and really start to caramelise.

Sift the flour into the soup, to thicken it. Pour in the wine, gradually, keeping the onions moving. Once all the wine has been added, add the hot vegetable stock.

Cover again, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with a toasted piece of bread with melted cheese on top. Voilà!

Cauliflower three cheese soup

September to January is peak Cauliflower season, so it’s time to dust off those great cauliflower recipes. I love using cauliflower in a good curry, or simply roasting it in the oven, spicing it up with a tahini and olive oil dressing.

This tasty soup is thick and creamy when eaten on a grey autumn’s day, like today. A thinner version with a little more water is very light and refreshing when served cold, during the hot summer months. It’s very simple to prepare and makes a great starter. Because of the anchovies the soup does contain fish, so it´s not vegetarian.


2 small or 1 large Cauliflower

4 small potatoes

80g Camembert

80g goat’s cheese

80g Stilton

200ml cream

4 fillets of anchovy

hot sauce

Peel and half the potatoes and add them and the cauliflower florets to a saucepan. Cover in hot water, once boiling bring down the heat to a simmer, until the vegetables are cooked. Remove from the heat, add the cream, cheeses and anchovies and season to taste. I usually add a few dashes of hot sauce to pep it up a bit. Blend thoroughly in a blender, making sure there are no bits. Serve is a tall glass with one of our Bread sticks.

** photos by Maia Horniak