Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Cream of Celery and Blue Cheese Soup


Mr Ellwood and I had a very exciting weekend. A very, very exciting weekend. An unbelievably exciting weekend. We, ladies and gentlemen, got to go to the London 2012 Olympics! Not only that, but we were blessed to have tickets to the final day of the rowing- we got to see Team GB bring home 2 Golds and 1 Silver! Woohoo!

It was such a wonderful day, and we were so impressed by not only how organised it all was but by just how amazing the volunteers were! There were literally thousands of them, not only at the event but dotted all over London, and they couldn't have been more helpful or charming or upbeat. They really set the tone for the whole day and I think the whole Olympics owes them a great big thank you!


What does this have to do with Celery Soup, though? Patience, dear readers, I promise I'm getting there.

After the rowing in the morning we decided to head into the centre of London to soak up some of the atmosphere... and we just so happened to pop in to one of my favourite places on earth - Borough Market. The best food market I've ever been to (please feel free to recommend others- I'm happy to travel)! I'm going to dedicate a whole separate post to the wonder that is Borough Market, because I think everyone needs to see for themselves how awesome it is, but for now I want to tell you a story about cheese.

There was once a girl who was dating a boy, and she went to London for the day with her amazing big sister. The girl felt sorry for the boy, who was sitting at home trying to write his final dissertation for his University degree. She felt so sorry for him, she decided to send him a care package of foodie delights to cheer him up. The two girls had great fun picking out things they thought he would love- a bottle of the fiercest ginger beer, a pork pie with the most buttery flaky pastry, a wedge of smooth and creamy blue cheese... and even a small tub of roast pork with crackling which, after having had it for their lunch, the girls had decided was the best in world. After wrapping it all up very carefully and tightly, and clearly marking on the box that the contents were 'fragile', the girls sent off the care package first class and excitedly waited for the boy to receive it the next day.

By lunchtime the next day, the girls still had not heard from the boy- and, not knowing him to be the rude type to ignore such a wonderful gift, they realised something might be amiss. One short and painful phone call to the boy later the girls discovered that he had randomly decided not to work from home that day, so had not been home when the postman arrived. By the time the boy checked with the post office it was shut for the day and, being a Saturday, it would be shut the next day also. To make matters worse, it was a bank holiday weekend- meaning the post office would be shut on the Monday as well. Oh my.

It is safe to say that by the Tuesday the boy was not very popular with the people at the post office, as his care package could only be described as 'ripe'. On taking it home, he made the (very sensible) decision to discard the pork immediately, and after a little investigation decided the pork pie should go the same way. The ginger beer was obviously perfectly fine (phew!) and to his surprise (and the girl's delight) the blue cheese was so very well protected in its neat little wax paper package that it was perfectly fine also! Yay! What makes this an even happier ending is the fact that that cheese was the best blue cheese he had ever tried (and believe me, he has tried A LOT) and fast became a firm favourite. 

Now every time the girl or the boy (or both, as was the case on Saturday) have the opportunity to go to Borough Market they seek out that little cheese stand and purchase a wedge of that precious cheese. Sadly, this past weekend they didn't have that particular cheese available, but thankfully they sent us away with the most beautifully creamy and sharp Roquefort so we forgave them.


Hence the celery soup (I told you I was getting there)! Tenuous a link as this may be, for some reason blue cheese immediately makes me crave a bowl of celery soup. Actually, not 'some' reason- my mum is the reason. My mum makes the best celery soup around, and I am fortunate enough to have the recipe - and now you are too! Well, a very slightly tweaked version (sorry Mum, you know I can't help it), but still the credit is owed to her.

Cream of Celery and Blue Cheese Soup
Serves 4 (easy to half/ double)

Ingredients
1 whole head of celery, leaves and all (but keep a few for garnishing), finely chopped
1 large leek, including the medium dark green bits (but not the very dark), finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
75g butter
150g blue cheese (Stilton is perfect, but use whatever is cheap/ your favourite/ on hand)
1 litre of chicken stock
150ml single cream
Salt and pepper, to season

Directions
1) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the vegetables and salt and pepper. Stir until they're well coated then reduce the heat to medium, pop the lid on and leave for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

2) Add in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a really gentle simmer, pop the lid back on then leave it for 40 minutes.

3) Turn the heat off. Add in most of the cream (keeping about a tablespoon aside for drizzling on top) and most of the blue cheese (again, keeping a few wee crumbles for garnishing), then use an immersion blender to process it until it is smooth (we like it silky smooth, but feel free to leave a bit of texture if you prefer).

4) If you want to heat it up a little please do, but don't let it boil as the cream could curdle (yuck).

5) Serve with the reserved celery leaves, blue cheese crumbles and a swirl of cream (it's a green soup, we have to do something to make it pretty!).

Everyone say "Thank you, Mummy Grant"!

2 comments:

  1. I never thought of using blue cheese with celery soup. Thanks for this recipe. Got to try this soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh please do, it works really well! Let me know how you get on :) Thanks for visiting!

      Delete