This week has been so dull and gloomy that I am prompted to light the fire, despite the fact that it is actually quite mild. It chases away the damp and transforms the house with flickering cheer. The dancing flames make me think of Halloween and Bonfire Night, which is just around the corner. While both events are centred mainly around the children, I always think it is a good excuse for grown ups to enjoy a treat or two. If you are planing a bonfire party or an evening of ‘trick or treating’, it is possible to rustle up something special for the adults with a little advance preparation. Like an elegant celeriac & apple soup, garnished with fresh wild mushrooms and chestnuts and served with cheesy toasts.
Spend a little time making the soup ahead of the event and it can be finished in a matter of minutes when ready to serve. As you will know if you are a regular reader, a good set of knives is a must in the kitchen, they make light work of preparing any dish. I have used Robert Welch Signature Knives for years, long before I started the blog and was fortunate enough to collaborate with the brand professionally. Although I have most of the range, the four knives I use most regularly have now been included in a stylish new knife block – the Signature Q.
The Signature Q block comes in an ash (shown) and walnut finish, contains a 22cm Bread Knife, 16cm Cook’s Knife, 14cm Kitchen Knife and a 10cm Vegetable Knife. Visit robertwelch.com for more information.
If you are someone who shoves their kitchen knives in a drawer (I used to be that person) and wonders why they quickly become blunt or damaged, it might be time to up your culinary game. The Signature Q‘s innovative design has magnetic locators which prevent damage when knives are inserted or removed, ensuring that they remain sharp. Investing in a decent set of sharp knives and having them to hand in a block will make such a difference to your food prep, that you will wonder how you managed beforehand.
The block includes the four best selling knives in the Robert Welch collection and as already mentioned, the ones I use most often. The Vegetable Knife, Kitchen Knife, Cook’s knife and Bread Knife are used in my kitchen from dawn until dusk, both professionally and for preparing family meals and entertaining.
All four knives from the block were used to make this gloriously autumnal celeriac and apple soup with wild mushrooms, thyme and chestnuts. Prepped and on the stove within 15 minutes, it can left to simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, while you can get on with carving the pumpkins. Happy Halloween!
* this post is sponsored by Robert Welch, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 shallots or one medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 celeriacs, peeled and chopped into large chunks (approx. 1.2kg in total)
- 1 braeburn apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus extra for garnishing
- Roughly ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
- knob of butter
- 100g fresh wild mushrooms, chanterelles or girolles, gently brushed to remove any grit.
- 50g vacuum packed chestnuts, quartered
- 50g gruyere cheese, grated
- 6 slices of sourdough
- 2-3 tablespoons of cream for drizzling
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry gently until soft and translucent, adding a little more oil if necessary.
- Add the celeriac chunks, apple, thyme leaves, grated nutmeg and bay leaf. Stir in the vegetable or chicken stock, bring to the boil.
- Cover pan with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes or until the celeriac is tender.
- Allow to cool slightly and liquidise in a food processor until smooth.
- Strain the soup through a sieve, using a wooden spoon if necessary to work it through.
- Stir through the mustard and season to taste.
- Put the grill on high. Place a frying pan over a high heat, adding a knob of butter and fry the mushrooms until golden and the moisture has evaporated.
- Add the chestnuts for the last 30 seconds, then tip the mushrooms and chestnuts onto a plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Sprinkle the sourdough slices with grated sourdough and grill for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
- Gently reheat the soup and ladle into bowls.
- Top each bowl with the fried mushrooms and chestnuts, drizzle with cream and sprinkle with thyme. Serve with cheese toasts on the side