This hearty vegetable soup is the perfect starter for entertaining, both for its elegance and for its ease of preparation, or just on a cold winters night.
- 2 large heads of broccoli (about 1 Kg)
- 800ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
- 100g Stilton cheese, crumbled
- 2 ripe pears, but firm
- 2 Tbs Butter
- handful of toasted flaked almonds, to garnish
Cut the broccoli into small florets, but do not waste the stalks. Peel off the tough skins from the stalks and roughly chop up the tender core.
Bring the stock to the boil in a medium pan, add the broccoli and cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the broccoli is tender but still bright green, blend the broccoli into a smooth soup, adding half the Stilton as you do so. Return the soup to the pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning and reheat just before serving.
Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthways. Remove the cores with an apple corer. Melt the butter in a pan and add the pear halves, cut-side down, spoon over the foaming butter to baste as you cook the pears.
Pan-roast them on one side for 1-2 minutes or until they are golden brown around the edges, then flip them over to roast the other side. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, then remove to a plate and drain off the excess butter.
Pour the soup into warm bowls and rest a pan-roasted pear half in the centre. Scatter over the remaining crumbled Stilton and the flaked almonds and serve with crusty bread.
An Odd Fact
A 2005 survey carried out by the British Cheese Board reported that Stilton cheese seemed to cause unusual dreams when eaten before sleep, with 75% of men and 85% of women experiencing “odd and vivid” dreams after eating a 20-gram serving of the cheese half an hour prior to sleeping.
So if you have any weird dreams, don’t come blaming me