veggie table : french onion soup, apple crumble & mulled apple juice
In her brand new column for Lip, Veggie Table, Kate Pimblett will take us through some of her favourite vegetarian dishes. This week, we have three winter classics to keep us warm on these chilly nights!
French Onion Soup
This soup is a classic, and when homemade, carries with it a sort of humble sophistication. It’s perfect served as an entrée, and is versatile and cost effective enough to be a main if cooking on a budget. It is also unbelievably easy and uncomplicated to make, especially if the onions are sliced in a food processor. As a winter standby it’s particularly beneficial, as onions are a strong source of Vitamins A and C, both of which are useful for the immune system. French onion soup is traditionally made on beef stock or bones, but that makes an otherwise vegetarian-friendly soup a bit of a trap. Here, vegetable stock is substituted, but Massel makes a very good meat-free beef-flavored stock for traditionalists.
4 tablespoons butter
1 kg (about 10 medium sized) onions, skinned and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons flour
6 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
1 cup of grated cheese (usually gruyere, but any other melt-able cheese will suffice)
Baguette, sliced according to the number of servings (This recipe serves 6-8)
Heat butter in a large saucepan, add onions and sprinkle with sugar. Fry for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, at which point they should be golden brown.
Sprinkle in flour and stir over a moderate heat for two minutes.
Add stock, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour into individual heatproof bowls.
Put grated cheese on each slice of baguette, and then put one slice in each bowl of soup. Place bowls under a hot griller (or oven at 230?C), until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.
For me, apple crumble is a wonderfully nostalgic dessert. It was introduced to me as a child by my Nan, but unlike warmed milk and bowls with woodland creatures dancing on the rim, it’s something I’ve never grown out of. It’s a very unfussy dish; almost any fruit can be added or substituted, and once you know how to make it you never really forget. It’s great for sharing, and can also be made in individual ramekins, which cuts about 10-15 minutes off cooking time. Adding to it’s perfect adaptability, it can be served anywhere between fresh out of the oven or straight from the fridge, and with any combination of icecream, custard or cream.
5 large green apples
½ Cup water
8 tablespoons self-raising flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
Peel, core and slice apples, then place in microwave safe pie dish with ½ cup of water. Sprinkle cloves.
Cover with cling wrap and microwave on high for 6-8 minutes.
For the topping, put all the flour in a large bowl. Rub in chunks of butter with your fingertips, making sure to keep it aerated (make sure the butter is cold, otherwise it’ll melt).
At this point, perseverance is key; it might take a while, but will eventually form tiny clumps. Alternatively, you can do the same thing in a food processor.
After that, gently stir in the sugar and rolled oats, being careful not to squash the butter.
When all dry ingredients are combined, use the mix to cover the dish of stewed apples. Bake in a moderate oven (180?C) for 25-30 minutes.
Mulled Homemade Apple Juice
As the name suggests, this is a non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine. It’s also a delicious way of using the apple scraps, which would otherwise go to waste. It’s a wonderfully comforting drink; very sweet and fragrant, and almost custom-made for a cold evening.
The peeling and cores of the apples used in the crumble
2 teaspoons lemon rind
3 ¼ cups boiling water
Juice of ½ a lemon
Caster sugar to taste
To make the apple juice, put the remnants of the apples, along with the lemon rind into a 1 litre jug. Pour in the boiling water and stir well.
Cover and leave to stand until cold. Strain off liquid and add the lemon juice and castor sugar, stirring until dissolved.
You could just leave it at that and have regular homemade apple juice, but the mulled version is so lovely for winter.
To make it, just bring the apple juice to the boil with an assortment of spices. You can customize it however you like, but traditional stalwarts include cloves, star anise and cinnamon.