Christmas was magical this year. The little people have hit that wonderful age where it all starts to make sense or does it?? Father Christmas took some explaining and there was some confusion that snow does not automatically fall on Christmas day despite what all the cards depict. The ‘blue one’ got most upset with Mr.P several weeks before Christmas Eve over lighting a fire, ‘DADDY what could you be thinking, you’re going to COOK Father Christmas’! Similar heated discussions over ‘fire lighting’ became a regular occurrence yet somehow we managed to convince the ‘Pink’ and ‘Blue’ that the stocking filler would survive. That’s not to say that there was any guarantee that both stockings would necessarily be filled. It was a close run thing and probably fair to say the ‘blue’ one was a genuine border line case which became evident when several ‘bits of wood’ materialised on Christmas morning (no joke, bits of wood, not a type error I promise)! Apparently such wood was not misplaced, just a gentle reminder that the ‘wood’, ‘would’ have been a toy had behaviour been up to scratch! The moral of the story presumably being ‘room for improvement’. Needless to say the ‘blue’ one raised an eyebrow or 2, took it in his stride and declared he wants more wood next year so he can build a pirate ship, at this stage just the tiniest gasp of horror could be heard from yours truly!
Two weeks in the country, even the rain (and we had a lot of that) and wind (that also) could not knock the spirit out of just a jolly lovely holiday. It really was blissful, the pace of life slowing down to a gentle patter. Lots of friends and family to stay. Lots of feasting, frolics and fun. Lots of riding the fat pony and feeding the ever diminishing chickens (the Hunt ate one! and missed the fox) and crazy, wild Jacob sheep. I think we had a bonfire practically everyday (Mr.P loves a fire) and lots of cooking, egg collecting, searching for fairy gold and camp building in the woods. Sadly we have no tan to show for it, but we did spend lots of time outside and the ‘little people’ remained largely unperturbed by our looney weather, insisting on digging their beach (that will be the sandpit to you and me) rain or shine or/ and wind!
The last remnant from our blissful festive season has just been crumbled into the above soup and I can’t say I am too sorry. Firstly because it makes the most delicious soup and secondly because I just don’t like food that soldiers on and on and on, and that is exactly what this Stilton has done. No fault of the Stilton I hasten to add but somewhere in the pre-Christmas planning there appeared to have been a major over sight and over order on the cheese front. Every other Christmas morsel has long since vanished but the blue veined, slightly stinky cheese has been bothering my larder for a tad too long, hence it was ceremoniously swallowed up in this potage. I know there are a number of variations of stilton soup, and stilton and pear may sound a bit odd yet it really does work. The soup is more delicate than you think , with the pear balancing out the saltiness of the stilton. It also comes out deceptively orange which plays havoc with ones notions of what is in it! However orange, it is a beautiful marriage of two very different flavours. Really very good to eat now and an obvious way to use up that lingering Stilton.
Pear and Stilton Soup- Annie Bell ‘Soup Glorious Soup’ with a few adaptions!
Ingredients – Serves 4–6
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 celery heart, trimmed and sliced
- 3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced
- 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
- 3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
- 150ml white wine
- 900ml chicken stock
- sea salt, black pepper
- 150g Stilton, crumbled
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the celery, carrot and leek and fry very gently for 8–10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
Add the pears and stir, then add the wine and simmer until well reduced. Add the stock. Bring to the boil, and then cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
Stir in the Stilton, cover and leave to stand off the heat for a few minutes to allow it to melt. Purée the soup in batches in a liquidiser. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with a little crème fraîche and some crumbled stilton.