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My Golden Pear

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Six weeks since I lasted posted on my blog! - how did that happen? 
We did have a couple of weeks in France which was really lovely and very relaxing.  Lots of wine, good food, sun and sea does make for a good holiday.  It was straight back into real life once we got back with the kids back at school.  Kirsty, my youngest started 'big school' which was so exciting for her but much harder for me.  I do miss having her around the house but she is so happy at school and her brother is loving his role as big brother and all round protector.  On top of the kids being at school all day, my hubby was away on a business trip so the house was exceptionally quiet.  On the plus side, the house was also exceptionally clean, tidy and organised which is probably the first time that has happened in the last 7 years. 
To save me having to cook every night while my hubby was away, I made up a big pot of this lovely, rich French onion soup with onions and garlic all the way from France. 
 Curled up on the couch, bowl of soup in hand, pile of recipe books at the ready and just peace and quiet -
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 small bowls or 2 very generous bowls
  • 2 tblsps olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 5 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • sprig of thyme
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 2 tblsps balsamic vinegar
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 French baguette
  • 250g Gruyere cheese, grated
Cooking Directions
  1. Melt the olive oil and butter together in a large pot.
  2. When hot, add the sliced onions and cook on a high heat until just starting to brown.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 25 minutes or until the bottom of the pan and the onions are nice and brown.
  4. Add the chopped garlic and thyme leaves for the last 5 minutes.
  5. Add the beef stock, vinegar and red wine, stirring well to remove all the sediment from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Just before serving: slice the baguette into 1cm slices and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.
  9. Toast both sides under the grill.
  10. Top one side with grated cheese and place under the grill again to melt the cheese.
  11. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and place the cheesy toast on the top.
  12. Serve immediately.  

Written by : Angela Darroch

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Thursday, 3 January 2013


Well that's it for another year.  Christmas decorations have been packed away, the fridge cleared out and hubby sent back to work.  As much as I love Christmas, I do enjoy the process of sorting out and cleaning up afterwards.  It makes me feel calm - everything in its right place again. 
On the food side it feels good to be back to healthy eating again.  I made a big pot of this lentil soup today.  Warm, comforting with just a hint of chilli and best of all it's low fat.
It is also perfect for freezing.

For the printable version - click here
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 carrots, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 0.5 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tins (800g) chopped tomatoes
  • 200g red lentils
  • 2500ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oil and cook the onion, thyme & carrots for about 4 minutes until just soft.
  2. Add the garlic, chilli and mustard seeds and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils and stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Blend until smooth or leave chunky.
TIP - Store your fresh thyme in the freezer.  When you need to use it just give it a shake and the leaves will drop off the stems.
Written by : Angela Darroch

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