Recipe: Make our celeriac and leek soup with blue cheese crumble
- Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis
I’ve been a bit low key recently readers. You see, the day before New Year’s Eve having just read Suffolk-based author Anthony Horowitz’s latest book Magpie Murders (well worth a look), I found myself in a bit of a dream state and quite literally fell over thin air just a couple of minutes from my front door. The result? A ripped muscle in my right hand (also my writing hand). It still twinges, and I can’t grip a steering wheel well enough to drive at the moment, but the thing that’s irked me most is how long everything now takes me in the kitchen. While I’ve mastered chopping soft-ish things, I still can’t quite muster the strength to push through an onion. To begin with I was at my husband and kids’ mercy, which meant a lot of ‘brown food’. Chips, waffles, chicken nuggets, pre-packed noodles. And all when I’d planned a post-Christmas health blitz.
That's until I pulled out my trusty Kenwood Multipro food processor. The poor old thing really has seen better days. It’s about 11 years old, the handle’s cracked off, and the blade section is in two parts which have to be pushed back together before use. It definitely wouldn’t pass any kind of health and safety or electrical test, and I will have to invest in a new one soon, but it still slugs away, making light work of everything I can’t easily do, from grating carrots, to dicing onions and grinding spices.
I don’t know what I would have done without it to be honest – I definitely don’t want to see another chicken nugget this side of spring.
This week, inspired by the contents of my Riverford organic veg box, and needing a simple dinner fix, I whipped up one of the easiest soups ever. It’s one I regularly make at this time of year, never quite believing the depth of flavour that can come from so few ingredients. Mr J had to peel and cut the tough celeriac, but the rest was handled deftly by Mr Kenwood. You can just make the soup, but for a final flourish, craving a bit of texture, I made a savoury, salty blue cheese crumble to sprinkle over the top. It takes less than five minutes to prepare and 15 to 20 minutes to cook, and it really brings out the best in the celeriac and leeks. Fennel seeds are superb in the crumble, but not for everyone, so leave them out if you like. A grating of orange zest will take the flavour up another notch too. A great winter warmer.
Celeriac and leek soup with blue cheese crumble
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(Makes 8-10 servings and freezes well)
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For the soup
1 medium celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large leeks, washed well and roughly chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes (I use Kallo organic)
150ml double cream
For the crumble
50g strong blue cheese
30g unsalted butter
60g plain flour
60g porridge oats
1/2tsp dried thyme
1/2tsp fennel seeds (optional)
½ spring onion finely chopped per person
Place the celeriac, leeks, potatoes and stock cubes for the soup in a large pan and cover with water (you want about 2-3cms water over the top of the veg). Bring to the boil, cover then simmer until all the vegetables are really soft. Remove to a blender (or use a hand blender) to whizz until super smooth. You might have to do that in batches. Pour back into the pan, add the cream and heat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the crumble topping place the cheese, butter, flour and oats in a bowl and rub until the cheese and butter are blended fully in like breadcrumbs. Add the thyme and fennel and season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Add two to three tablespoons of milk and rub the mixture again so it’s like rubble – some bits will be bigger than others.
Pour the crumble onto a lined baking tray and bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve soup into bowls and sprinkle over some of the crumble and spring onion slices.