1 Celeriac, peeled and chopped

    2 Cloves of Garlic

    4 Cups of Water (add more water to thin the soup)

    2 Tsp of Lemon Juice (or juice of half a lemon)

    1 Can of Cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)

    1 Large White Onion, chopped

    1 Handful of Cashew Nuts  (optional – but gives it a richer creamy texture)

    1 Tsp of Veggie Stock

    Salt or Herbamare and Pepper

    To garnish – Pinch of Cayenne or Black Pepper, Lemon Juice and Tarragon

    The recipe


    I absolutely love Bonfire Night where we remember the Gunpowder Plot by Guy Fawkes.  To me, it is a clear signal that winter is well and truly here.  As children we would wrap up warm and head off down the hill to the memorial hall where the local village would assemble for (what i thought then was) a huge firework display and enormous bonfire.  I can feel the intensity of the fire on my face and smell the sulpher from the fireworks.  Even now I love fireworks, cooing as the rockets explode and light up the sky with their many and varied colours.  I still “ohh” and “ahh” as they illuminate those around me bending their heads back to watch the aerial display.  I also remember the guy sitting atop an enormous pile of wood and stuff ready to be lit as the evening’s festivities began.  Later as the flames took hold, you would witness the guy being consumed by the flames of the fire.

    What else do I remember about Bonfire night?  Well it would not be me, if it wasn’t food.  The typical fayre served is soup, jacket potatoes and hot dogs.  These may sound meagre and basic foods but to us as kids they were not.  The soup served to warm us up having got cold or wet through depending on the November weather.  The jacket potatoes were a real treat, basked for hours, wrapped in foil.  This was before the day of the microwaved jacket potato!  Then generously stuffed with butter and cheese.  Finally good local bread rolls stuffed with proper sausages from the local butcher and fried onions.  I can taste them all.

    So what did I cook on a cold November evening?  The soup was usually tomato – probably out of a packet or tin, or cream of mushroom of similar origins.  I wanted something rich, and creamy, that felt warming, that would bring back memories of bonfire nights.  What I came up with is simple, rich, warming and good enough to serve at a dinner party, let alone in a mug around a bonfire!


    This has to be the easiest soup to make…

    1. Place the peeled and chopped celeriac, onions, garlic and cashews (if using) in a pan.
    2. Rinse and drain the beans and add to the pan.
    3. Cover with water, add stock powder, lemon juice, salt & pepper..
    4. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 mins ensuring that veggies are all soft and cooked through.
    5. Puree in a blender until smooth and creamy, return to the pan.
    6. Taste and adjust seasoning.
    7. Add more water to thin the soup to the correct consistency.
    8. Serve with a sprinkle of black pepper, a few drops of lemon juice and some chopped tarragon.

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