Fennel and Chicken Soup

3

A fabulous combination! And a great way to use up left over chicken…oh and one of my very favourite vegetables!

fennel-bulbs_3278929b

Ingredients

1 fennel bulb – trimmed and cut roughly into 3 or 4 chunks.

1 tulip shallot – or a small onion if not available

1 litre of chicken stock

A pinch of saffron

A pinch or two of smoked paprika

A clove of garlic crushed

About 100 gm left over chicken meat – no skin

A little olive oil

50 gm unsalted butter

50 ml milk – optional

METHOD

Pop the fennel chunks in a food processor with the shallot and whizz until well shredded. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and when warm add the fennel and onion. Pan fry gently for about ten minutes until the fennel becomes soft. 

Add the garlic. Stir for another minute or two. Pour in the chicken stock and add the saffron and paprika.  

Put a lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Pop the chicken in the food processor and whizz until broken down. Add to the soup. 

Simmer for a further 15 minutes with the lid off.

You could now add the milk – or cream if you want to be remarkably indulgent (!)  – and simmer for another minute – then remove from the heat , and blend down gently with a stick blender.

Serve with warm crusty bread!

I promise you, this is full of fabulous flavours!

 

 

Aubergine Caviar

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Aubergine Caviar

I have revelled in the sun today and in between having a hack at various bushes I sat in the garden and looked for inspiration for some snacks and nibbles to make and squirrel away for the coming week. I came across this recipe in a marvellous French cook book and gave it a go. The result – I have nibbled already – is stunning. Simplicity itself and it will keep in the jar in the fridge for at least a week – I doubt it will survive so long.

As for the photography – well, the sun was pouring in through the blinds and I am not sure if it has added or detracted from the aubergines – but hey, I felt like I was in Le Midi so it is as it is!

You will need –

3 aubergines – halved lengthways
90 ml olive oil plus a splash or two extra
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled but bashed sightly to release the aroma
6 thyme sprigs – you could equally use rosemary
Sea salt and black pepper

Get your oven to 180c. Score the flesh of the aubergine halves with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern. Place then on a baking tray flesh side up. Drizzle with the olive oil and season each one. Pop a clove of garlic and a sprig of thyme on each half. Cover with a sheet of foil.

Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for an hour or so until the flesh is really soft. Remove from the oven. Throw the thyme sprigs away. Take the garlic cloves, peel them and place on a chopping board. Next, scoop the flesh from each half onto the chopping board with the garlic. Get rid of the skins. Chop the flesh and garlic finely and mix together. Spoon it into a jar, add a splash of oil and seasoning. Stir well. Press it down and cover the surface with a little more olive oil. Close the lid!

Once it has cooled place in your fridge or larder. You can enjoy it as an aperitif with crusty bread or crackers.

Parfait!