Tomato and celery soup with potato nests

Onions, celery, diced carrot and red pepper, fried in olive oil until the onions were golden. Six cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped, added along with chopped thyme, black pepper and sea salt and fried gently for a minute. Added a glug of white wine, then a couple of pounds of Caroline’s cherry tomatoes.  Topped up with stock, simmered for 15 mins, then blitzed with a stick blender.

Potato strings made with my Spirooli, salted and deep-fried until golden, then dropped into the soup with a sprinkle of shredded basil.

Roasted butternut soup

Butternut squash, peeled and cubed then tossed in olive oil, sea salt, pepper and chopped rosemary and roasted for 40 minutes until browning nicely. Onions, peppers, celery and carrot, sauteed with a little olive oil.and chopped thyme until the onions were golden. Added the roasted squash and topped up with stock. Simmered for 5 minutes, then blitzed to a creamy consistency.  Served with shredded basil and smoked paprika.

Soupe de poissons

Mirepoix of shallot, celery and sweet pepper with a tiny bit of ultra-finely-diced carrot, sweated in olive oil until translucent.  Added paprika and crushed, chopped garlic, sauteed for a few minutes.   Added wide strips of orange zest peel, a chopped anchovy fillet, sea salt, black pepper and a generous pinch of whole saffron and left to infuse for a few minutes in a pint of fish stock that was nearly at the boil but not quite.  Added the stock to the main pan, brought to a slightly wobbly stage, not quite simmering.  Added bits of fish, in walnut-sized chunks.  Kept at non-quite-simmering for five minutes.  Added pre-cooked mussels and a drained tin of smoked mussels.  Left at the same heat for another two minutes, then scooped out most of the big pieces of fish and some of the mussels. and left them to drain in a colander.  Brought the remaining liquid and bits to the boil and skimmed off the foam a few times. Added a pile of fresh chopped tomatoes and a decent glug of passata, simmered gently for ten minutes then given a final skim then blitzed with a stick blender.

Served in wide pre-heated bowls with a selection of fish pieces and mussels in the middle and a bit of dill weed.

Roasted butternut and carrot soup

Butternut, carrots, red onions and red peppers, drizzled with olive oil and roasted on a bed of fresh rosemary sprigs until browned. Chopped the vegetables, fried the roasted onion for a few minutes, then added the vegetables with light meat stock.  Simmered 15 minutes, then finished with a knob of butter, blended, seasoned and served with a splash of cream and chopped parsley