Celeriac and Apple Soup – A tasty, warming vegan soup for a cold winter’s day
This Celeriac and Apple Soup is an easy vegan soup recipe that makes a fantastic lunch or supper on a cold winter’s day. It is easy to make and features the classic celery and apple flavour combination. Think Waldorf Salad but warm and comforting!
Celeriac is not the most popular of root vegetables. Its gnarly exterior, which seems perfectly designed to trap soil puts a lot of people off as it seems hard to prepare. Actually, you just need a confident attitude and a good vegetable peeler. Remove the outer skin, together with all the lumpy, gnarly bits, and you are left with a creamy globe of deliciousness that can be used in a whole range of ways in addition to Celeriac and Apple Soup. It is traditionally used in the classic French salad, Celeriac Remoulade, where it is thinly sliced and mixed in a mustard-flavoured dressing. It can also be boiled and mashed or roasted as a side-dish.
This easy, warming vegan winter soup combines the classic flavours of celeriac and apple.
2 medium-sized potatoes
1 tablespoon of oil
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
500 ml vegetable stock
1 eating apple
Optional garnish: 1 eating apple
Peel the celeriac using a vegetable peeler to remove the rough outer skin. Cut it into 1 cm chunks.
Peel and slice the onion.
Heat the oil in your saucepan. Add the celeriac chunks and sliced onions, season them with salt and pepper, and very gently fry them for around 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. It is really important to add seasoning at this point and to cook gently to bring out the flavour of the vegetables – it will make a huge difference to the taste of your soup.
Next, peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan with the celeriac and onions. Cook gently for a few minutes.
Then, peel the apple, remove the core and chop into rough chunks. Add the chunks to the vegetables together with the crushed clove of garlic.
Add the stock to your saucepan and simmer the vegetables gently for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.
If you wish, you can make a dried apple garnish for the soup. Slice an eating apple thinly vertically (so the slices are “apple shaped”). Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes. Remove slices and use to decorate the soup. The apple-shaped slices look good on top of the soup and will also have a concentrated apple flavour which will enhance the taste.
This recipe for Easy Poached Pears is a fantastic make-ahead autumn or winter dessert. The cooking time is quite long but the preparation time is very short and extremely simple – basically you just need to peel the pears!
There is something very autumnal about pears. I love eating them just as they are. However, it is often quite difficult to get them at just the right stage of ripeness – one day they are hard and unripe and the next day they are soft and squishy! The beauty of cooking with pears is that you do not need to use ripe ones. This recipe is best made with unripe pears which then become beautifully soft and fragranced with Marsala wine, cinnamon and vanilla, during the cooking process.
Marsala is a fortified Italian wine which is generally widely available. If you do not have any Marsala wine, you could use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alteratives.
The recipe is based on Delia Smith’s Pears Baked in Marsala Wine but I cook the pears for a shorter time and do not add arrowroot to thicken the sauce as I prefer it to be thinner.
Easy Poached Pears is a make-ahead autumnal recipe which transforms unripe pears into a sumptuous dessert through slow cooking them with Marsala Wine, cinnamon and vanilla.
6 unripe pears
600 ml Marsala
75 g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or a vanilla pod)
Set your oven to 250 F/130 C/Gas Mark 0.5.
Remove the skins from the pears using a vegetable peeler. Take a thin slice of the base of each pear. This will give it a flat bottom so that it will stand up on the plate when it has been cooked.
Put the Marsala, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla essence into a heavy casserole. Heat until the liquid is simmering and the sugar has dissolved.
Place the pears in the casserole on their sides. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven.
Bake for 1 hour and then turn the pears so that their other side is in the liquid. Bake for a further 1 hour.
Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside in a dish to cool.
Place the casserole containing the liquid on the top of the stove and boil rapidly with the lid off for around 10 minutes. The liquid will reduce by about one third.
Place both the pears and the liquid separately in the fridge to chill. When you are ready to serve, place the pears on individual plates and pour some of the liquid over them. Good accompaniments are whipped cream or a mixture of half whipped cream and half mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.
This is a vegan recipe and can be served with non-dairy cream or ice-cream.
If you don’t have Marsala Wine, you can use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alternatives.
This vegan Butternut Squash Soup recipe makes a fantastic autumn lunch or simple supper. The squash is cooked slowly to bring out its natural sweetness. This is then balanced by the addition of warming chilli flakes and creamy peanut butter. This soup is based on the River Cottage Butternut and Nut Butter soup but I leave out the ginger and lime in my version as I often don’t have these to hand and I think the soup tastes fine without them!
Whether you are vegan or not, it is a great soup when days are getting colder and you want something sustaining, warming and nutritious. If you are looking to introduce non-vegans to vegan food, serve them this soup and see if they appreciate just how tasty plant-based food can be!
My vegan Butternut Squash Soup also freezes very well so you can make a batch and keep it in the freezer for when you need a quick lunch or supper. It is is also good as an addition to autumn and winter packed lunches. My children have insulated thermos flasks which mean that I can include soup in their lunch boxes and this Butternut Squash Soup is always a popular choice at this time of year.
This Fennel Soup can be made in either vegetarian or vegan variations. The aniseed flavour of the fennel is mellowed by slow cooking and this gives the finished soup a sophisticated taste which belies the simplicity of the ingredients. This means that, although it is really easy to make, this soup would not be out of place as a starter at a dinner party, particularly if you include the additions of cream, Pernod and decorate it with chopped dill or herb fennel.
When I first started cooking for myself, around twenty years ago, I loved to experiment with complicated recipes that included lots of different ingredients. However, over the years, my recipes have generally become simpler. Now I like to focus on one main ingredient and cook it in a way that brings out its particular unique flavour. This Fennel Soup recipe is a really good example of this approach. It is all about the taste of the fennel and how it can be transformed by slow cooking into something really special.
Not everyone likes aniseed. Actually, I am not that keen on aniseed! I do not eat aniseed flavoured sweets and actively dislike Pernod as a drink option. However, I love fennel, particularly when it has been slow cooked, as the aniseed taste is transformed into something special. And the addition of Pernod to the soup gives a aniseed boost without being overpowering.
This is a really easy recipe that showcases the fantastic flavour of fennel. Slow cooking the fennel mellows its aniseed flavour and produces a sophisticated soup that is at home as a dinner party starter as well as an informal lunch.
25 g butter or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 fennel bulbs
Salt and pepper
1 large potato
500 ml water
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder or a vegetable stockcube
Milk or water as required to thin the soup
1 tablespoon Pernod (optional)
1 tablespoon double cream (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh dill or herb fennel (optional)
Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan
Roughly chop the fennel bulbs and the onion and add to the saucepan. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and fry them very gently for around 15 minutes until they are soft and sweet.
Peel and chop the potato and add to the pan with the fennel and onion.
Add 500 ml of water and a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the soup until smoothe in a food processor or with a hand-held blender.
Add milk or water – or a combination – to thin the soup to the desired consistency. You will need around 500 ml depending on how thick you want your soup.
If you wish, you can add Pernod and cream to the soup before serving and decorate the surface of each bowl with chopped dill or herb fennel.
This recipe can be either vegetarian or vegan. If you wish to make a vegan version, use oil to cook the vegetables, water to thin the soup and omit the double cream (or use a non-dairy alternative).