A Hearty Soup and Poached Pudding

09 Nov 2022

You'll find us slurping on soup all year long, but November is the month where it becomes a staple meal of ours. The best are those that are seasonal, making the most of the veg that's sprouting or even the fruit that's dropping as the case is with this month's recipe from our resident food writer, Flora Shedden. Taking us from potage to pudding, she's also shared one of her favourite fruits for slowly poaching... quinces at the ready! 
Poached Quince

Makes roughly 1 kg of poached fruit and syrup


500g quince
500g water
1/2 one lemon
375g sugar
1/2 vanilla pod (optional) or 2 bay leaves or 1 star anise


1. Peel the quince and cut it into quarters. Carefully remove the core; the fruit can be quite tough. Then place the quarters in a medium/large pan with the water. 
2. Juice your lemon half and add the juice to the pan.
3. Gather together the quince peel and core as well as your juiced half lemon in a small piece of muslin or undyed fabric. Tie together tightly with undyed string and add to the pan.
4. If using one of the aromatics (the vanilla, bay or star anise) add to the pan at this point as well.
5. Lastly, add the sugar.
6. Cover the surface of the water with a scrunched up piece of greaseproof paper – this will help trap in the heat and any steam that rises, making a luxurious pink syrup – and cover the pan with a lid.
7. Place over the lowest heat you can manage so it can cook low and slow. Or you can also nestle the pan in the embers of a low fire, at the edge of a bonfire or in a very low oven (120C). 
8. Allow the mixture to simmer very gently for 1-2 hours or until the fruit has begun to soften and a knife can be easily inserted. 
9. When it's ready you should have a lovely coral-coloured syrup and fruit. Remove from the heat and let it cool down completely – overnight ideally.
10. Remove the parcel of peelings and any aromatics used.
11. Store the poached fruit in its syrup in the fridge for up to one week. You can puree it for a compote adding a little syrup to loosen or simply serve sliced with yoghurt, granola and a good amount of the syrup drizzled over the top.
P.S. The syrup is equally delicious when added to fizzy water and ice or made into a cocktail – perfect with vodka.

Celeriac & Apple Soup

Serves 6

1 small celeriac (600g peeled weight)
2 eating apples
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 banana shallots
20g butter
1200g vegetable stock 
To serve:
Sage leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel your celeriac and chop it into 1-2cm chunks, scattering them across a roasting tray. 
2. Cut the apples in quarters (there's no need to peel) and remove the core. Then, add those to the tray too. 
3. Drizzle the veg with some oil and season well.
4. Roast for 25 minutes or until beginning to colour and the celeriac is cooked through.
5. In the meantime, finely slice the shallots. Add them to a large saucepan with the butter and cook gently for 5-10 minutes or until softened and caramelised. 
6. Take out the roasted veg and add them to the pan, then pour over the stock.
7. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or so. 
8. Blitz using a hand blender then taste and season (loosen with a little more stock if you need). 
9. To serve, heat a good knob of butter in a frying pan. Once melted, add enough sage leaves for however many servings you're planning (I normally do five leaves per person). Allow the butter to foam a little and keep cooking until the leaves become crisp and butter has gone a lovely golden nutty colour. 
10. Serve the soup piping hot in bowls with a good drizzle of cream on top. 
11. Garnish with some hazelnuts then spoon over the hot butter and crispy sage and enjoy immediately. 
Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for three months.

P.S. Flora's latest cookbook, Supper: Recipes Worth Staying in For, is now available to order and we highly suggest that you do! 
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