Sunday, December 25, 2005

Solstice celebrations

We opened the pub from 12 noon until 4pm today, then closed the door and went upstairs to have a thoroughly untraditional dinner.
Starter: olives, crisps, manzanilla
Main: rack of lamb(honour guard), sprouts, roast tatties, roast parsnips, very nice red wine (will check details if there's any left....)
Pudding: Xmas pud, brandy butter

In the spirit of the season, our resident pyromaniac decided to make a great light.

T + 5 mins
Him what done it
T + 2 mins
Heat haze
and look at that heat haze....
T + 15 sec
T + 2 sec and counting

Can I just mention that these pictures were taken without flash....

It's been wonderful to have a night off, and as our guests have just come in, I think I shall sign off and head for bed.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Family dinners

Some time ago I mentioned that I was making soup. This is an autumn-into-winter thing for me: I very seldom want soup in summer, and if I do, I go out and buy it.

Several very nice people asked me for the recipe, which has developed over the past few months, so here it is:

Autumn Soup from the Spread
Peel and cut into chunks lots of orange vegetables.
I use neep, carrots, butternut and apples
Steam the vegetables until soft, then either use a mouli (my preferred option) or liquidise to make a vegetable puree.
You can freeze the puree at this point, or simply continue to make your soup.
In a large pan on the stove, heat some beer to drive off the alcohol: about 1/4 the volume of the veggie puree you have.
I use anything to hand unless it's Guinness which I think is just too dark. Kelburn Dark Moor was lovely.
Once the beer stops smelling of alcohol, add veggie stock: about 1/2 to the same volume as your veggie puree depending on how thick you like your soup.
Add your veggie puree (fresh or frozen) and stir to heat through.
Once the soup is hot (boiling it won't hurt at this stage) add some grated cheese: about as much cheese as you used beer, but more won't hurt.
I've used cheddar, pecorino romano and parmesan - all were good
Heat the soup again to melt the cheese, but be careful of boiling unless you've used something like gruyere which doesn't mind heat too much.
Serve, garnishing with a little more grated cheese, and scoff.