One of the things I've come to love about England is the seasonality of the produce. I think I arrived at just the right time to be able to experience a push in the food culture towards local, British and seasonal produce. Whether this be thanks to Jamie Oliver's campaign against bad school dinners, or whether cooking has become the new rock 'n roll, this surge of pride for local food and produce is a welcome breath of fresh air. Especially for me, coming from Australia and from such a temperate climate where seasonal veg is pretty much available all year round and exotic fruit such as mangoes and lychees were quite the norm for me.
So, it's always a pleasure to use up vegetables that we have in abundance. We've been getting our organic vegetable box for about 5 or 6 weeks now and in every box we've had about 4 onions - and since we don't use onions every night, the stock pile has been growing. Not wanting to have to throw any of the onions away, Friday saw me looking for a recipe to use up them up in. And, after delving into Nigel Slater's - The Kitchen Diaries, I decided to do a version of his French Roast Onion Soup.
Now, I love onions - especially roasted onions with their slippery and velvety texture and sweet aroma that fills the kitchen. I've never had onion soup before, and this was definitely the best way to be introduced to it.
Roast Onion Soup
4 or 5 onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 litre of vegetable stock
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
Peel the onions and quarter them lengthwise, place in a roasting dish along with the peeled and crushed garlic. Cover in olive oil and season. Roast them in a 200 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes turning once. Let them cool and slice into chunky pieces.
Add them to a pot with the garlic and pour over the vege stock. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Whilst simmering, take 4 slices of bread and cut into quarters and trim the crust. Brush down with olive oil and grill until toasted. Place the sunflower seeds in a dry pan and roast over a high heat until brown.
Serve in a small bowl with the sunflower seeds sprinkled over and the croutes placed on top.
Serves about 4.