CREAMY COURGETTE SOUP (Serves 4)
This soup is unbelievably quick and easy to make and its surprise ingredient transforms it into a quite spectacular soup that you could serve for any occasion.
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 small knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 litre / 1¾ pts vegetable or chicken stock
4 courgettes, wiped and cut into chunks
1 x 160g pack Boursin (garlic and herb cream cheese)
Black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Over a gentle heat, fry the onions until soft but not brown. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the courgettes to the boiling stock (this way they retain their fresh, green colour) and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes and onion are soft.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly before liquidizing in a food processor. Return to the saucepan and crumble in the Boursin cheese. Whisk well until the cream cheese is completely melted into the soup. Season with black pepper. Heat gently before serving, but avoid boiling the soup.
PORK CHOPS WITH APPLE AND SAGE (Serves 4)
25g / 1oz butter
500g / 2lbs apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 tblsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried sage or 1 tblsp fresh sage, chopped
4 pork chops, rinds removed
150ml / ¼ pt cider
Salt and pepper
4 tblsps coarse breadcrumbs
4 tblsps grated cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF) Gas 6. Butter the base of a shallow, oven-proof dish and spread the apple and onion over the base of the dish. Sprinkle with sugar and sage. Arrange the chops on top, then pour over the cider. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes. Mix the crumbs and the cheese together. Remove the foil from the dish and cover each chop with the crumb mixture. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are browned and the chops tender.