I'm afraid it's going to be short & sweet tonight, folks. I've spent the evening wrestling with our old washing machine, trying to disconnect it ahead of the new one being delivered tomorrow morning, and failing miserably. I have no tools and no clue – and no husband as Nick is inconveniently still away… And after discovering the Dirt of Ages underneath the machine, I lost the will to live and instead went to watch The Killers live on Jools Holland on BBC2. Brandon Flowers rocks.
Anyway, now it's bedtime and I still owe you a post. My mind has been on little nibbly things all week, probably owing to the fact that tomorrow night I will again be helping Johanna cater for a canape party. So when I made this soup last week, I toyed with ideas as to how you could serve it as a canape or an amuse bouche and this is that I came up with.
Celeriac, or celery root, may not be beautiful to look at, but it has a particularly appealing taste. When it's warm, I love turning it into remoulade, but when it's cold I change to gratins and soups. This soup is really simple and lets the sweetish, celery-like taste of the celeriac shine through. I garnished with smoky bacon crisps, but you could play around with various tangy garnishes – I even contemplated a teensy scoop of wholegrain mustard cream as a riff on remoulade. The soup is thick and therefore relatively easy to carry without spilling, which is always a bonus when you are the poor sod serving the canapes! Of course, you could also just dish it up in bowls as normal – it's delicious in large or small portions
CREAMY CELERIAC SOUP WITH CRISPY BACON (makes about 24 shots, or serves 6)
1 celeriac (about 1kg), peeled and chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped (or half and half onion and leek)
1 potato, peeled and cubed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
750 ml chicken stock
100ml single cream (or milk)
salt and pepper
2 thick cut rashers of smoked bacon
Prepare the celeriac first and place the peeled pieces in a bowl of water to which you've added a couple of tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice – otherwise the celeriac will go brown or even black.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add all the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and then allow to cook gently for about 10 minutes until they are just starting to soften.
Add the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 25 minutes.
In the meanwhile, cut up the bacon into thin strips not more than 1 inch long. Heat a frying pan and toss them in – they should render enough fat that you don't need to add oil to cook them. Fry over high heat until the bacon pieces are starting to look crisp and golden around the edges. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Check if the celeriac is tender enough to mash - if so, remove from the heat and liquidise the mixture. Return to the heat and stir in the cream or milk. Check for consistency (add more milk if the soup is too thick) and season to taste.
If using shot glasses, allow the soup to cool for about 5 minutes, then using a small funnel, pour the soup into the glasses. Garnish each with a couple of bacon crisps and serve immediately.