This Bramley apple soup is like the classic French onion soup. It is an ideal recipe to showcase some wonderful Irish artisan producers.
I visited Highbank Orchard in Kilkenny a while back and was hugely impressed by the work they are doing. They produce a beautiful cider vinegar.
For blue cheese you could try Cashel Blue or Crozier Blue produced in Tipperary. And, as you know, I am a great fan of Carol’s Stock Market in Derry.
Have a look at her website, and she delivers all over Ireland. This soup is ideal if you want to cook gluten free.
Medjool dates are the king of dates with that delicious caramel treacly taste. This is good with any sweet white wine. For the custard you may make your own or buy a ready-made one. This is a super easy delicious dessert that I come back to time and again.
Learn to Cook with Neven is out now published by Gill Books.
Bramley apple and onion soup with crumbled Cashel blue
50g (2oz) butter
1kg (2 ¼lb) onions, roughly chopped
2 Bramley apples
500ml (18fl oz) medium dry cider
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of dried thyme
½ a bay leaf
2 litres (3 ½ pints) chicken stock from a cube is fine)
225g (8oz) potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, thinly sliced (to use as a garnish)
75 g (3oz) Cashel blue cheese
Handful fresh chervil sprigs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Heat a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add 40g (1 ½oz) of the butter, then tip in the chopped onions and allow to cook gently for about 15 minutes, or until they are softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
2 Peel the apples and remove the cores, then roughly chop and toss in a little of the cider to prevent discoloration. Deglaze the pan with the remaining cider and the apple cider vinegar. Add the apples and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cider has reduced by half.
Baked apples with Medjool dates
4 Bramley cooking apples, each about 300g (11oz)
50g (2oz) butter
50g (2oz) Medjool dates, finely diced
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp brandy
Custard, to serve (can be store-bought)
Icing sugar, to decorate