Tag Archives: Adrian Mole

>Golden Onion and cider soup with roquefort toast for Book Night

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When was the last time I saw dawn break over the last pages of a book?!…

A year ago, I posted about the pile of books I keep by my bedside and today, in advance of World book night , I would like to go through my list -I LOVE lists- and then give you a  great onion soup recipe to go with  your all-night reading spree ! 
I remember going through the night with a book for the first time aged 14 and seeing the first flashes of light coming below the shutters at about 4pm… Great feeling! Later, I remember the nights after exams when we danced till dawn and that’s pretty good too… That’s when you need the onion soup at midnight to keep you going. 
I have a large mahogany butler’s tray by my bed and this is what’s on it today:
  • A large diary where I keep all the funny stories about the children – I’m on volume 4!
  • The Children’s Book by A.S Byatt – love the style but not sure about the story
  • Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass destruction by Sue townsend – my teenage nostalgia author! Lots of giggles in promised book form.
  • A huge hairy spider I have adopted since Halloween – don’t ask me why!
  • A small stuffed beaver from my father’s old university, gifted by him
  • Through the language glass, why the world looks different in other languages by Guy Deutscher
  • A book of poems by Don Paterson- Rain – because I love reading his poetry
  • Portrait du soleil by Helene Cixou – more of a painting than a book but I keep looking
  • A lovely cookery book called Délices et coeurs brûlé, food diary of Miss K- designed like a love letter and full of crazy French recipes. The sort of book you want to give all your girlfriends!
  • Some foot cream and a couple of favourite, quirky postcards for inspiration…
  • Ah, and also a picture of my newest little niece sleeping slouched over my shoulder…
Looking at this helps me get up in the morning and calms me down at night – so I never need to pop a pill! I want to hear YOUR list now, by the end of the month please, and the best and most personal will win a box of homemade shortbread. Yippii!
Now for the onion soup recipe I promised:
Ingredients list:
Cider 1 large glass
Onions, 3 large diced
Chicken stock, 1 litre (or a quick version with Maggi cubes)
Thyme and parsley 1 Tbsp of dry mix
Creme fraiche
Big knob of butter 
Olive oil 1Tbsp
Slices of wholemeal bread
Some roquefort cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
Brown the chopped onions in a mix of olive oil and butter in a thick bottomed pan until they get see-through. Add the stock and the herbs and seasoning. 
Let it bubble away for a good 30 min., adding a bit of cider towards the end. 
Stir in the creme fraiche and check the seasoning: a good onion soup shall not be bland!
Blitz with a hand held blender but only a few seconds so it remains chunky and rustic in aspect.
Spread some thick toasts with the Roquefort – thinly so as not to overpower the sweetness of the onions.
Transfer in large oven-proof bowls, top with the cheese toast and put under the grill for a few minutes to brown.
Serve in the pipping hot bowls  and enjoy a truly French treat!
In France, onion soup is served to wedding guests at midnight to keep them warm and awake. 
It tastes really good after you’ve been dancing or reading until exhaustion, take my word for it.
 Kenza and Valerie, get your dancing shoes ready my darlings!

Happy reading tonight and let me know if you see dawn break?! 
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Strawberry no egg ice-cream

>Now, who could ever tire of ice-cream! Well, I am no big fan normally but this homemade strawberry one could give me a change of mind… Strawberries and cream in a soft, cool cup with the added bonus of Pimms… Even I can’t resist. I had a big bowl of it tonight with some fantastic butter biscuits baked by my youngest – more on this next time!

Ingredients list:
3 sprigs of mint, chopped up
Strawberries 250g
Creme fraiche 250g
Syrup made up of 100g of fructose and 1 small glass of water
1 small glass of Pims or Creme aux fraises des bois (by Giffard)

Make the syrup then let it cool while you rinse the strawberries and cut off their tails. Blend all ingredients then put in an ice-cream maker or in the freezer, depending on your favourite method. I got my ice-cream maker as a wedding present and I have used it so frequently along those long years of wedded bliss that I would recommend the whole thing (marriage and all) wholeheartedly – worth keeping as well in case of divorce.

Perfect after a splash in the really cool new V&A paddling pool ! Go to the cafe for a nice cake and tea ; then catch up on your tanning in the lovely inner garden and let the kids splash about.

Summer in London has its up sides.
Re-reading the whole Adrian Mole series in conjunction with the children and laughing out loud at all the jokes certainly is another one! I had forgotten how funny the Secret Diary was. I first read it aged 18 and WHY did I not read the sequels I can hardly understand… No time to lose! Thanks for delayed planes and boring train journeys, we might actually go through the whole lot by the end of summer!!!