Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I'M BACK! and gratinée lyonnaise...

I know, I know. 'Where have I been?!' etc..  Well, I don't want to bore you with all the details, plus I'm back now, and am determined to remain as active as possible on here for as long as I can, so we can get back to the important stuff.

A couple bits I should mention first though:

1. I am in a new kitchen as of about a month ago. When I started this project I was in a tiny little kitchen in Southern Spain. Five months later I had packed up and moved back to my parent's house in Chicago, which is where those yummy looking scones were made. That was four months ago. Then, last month, I moved back to Canterbury to start my FINAL YEAR of uni (yikes) and have had to get used to a whole new kitchen, complete with hyperactive oven and brand spankin' new food processor.

2. I am a student again. This means that I am, once again, by definition, poor and lazy. You'll have to forgive me for the influence that these two attributes may have here.

3. Remember how I talked about making a red velvet armadillo cake for a friend's birthday, à la Steel Magnolias? Well, that's still happening, in fact her birthday's in about two weeks time. So watch this space.

Great. Now that all that nonsense is out of the way, we can focus on the cooking, yes?

It's hard to believe that this time a year ago I was in Lyon, France. Although I was working crazy hard as a hotel stagiaire, I had such an amazing time there and I miss it like whoa. Having been giving an insanely large amount of money by the Erasmus Programme (fools!) in the form of a grant, my friends and I spent a stupid amount of time bumming around some of the most fab restaurants in the city. One of my most favourite things to eat there, was gratinée Lyonnaise, or French onion soup. It was so delicious and so comforting, especially in the type of weather we're getting in Canterbury in the moment: cold and grungy.

I had been wanting to learn how to make this from scratch for a while now, especially since Autumn has well and truly set in. I finally managed to create it, based half on a recipe in Sophie Dahl's fab book, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights, and half on the soups I tried when I was in France. This is the perfect soup for when you want to curl up under your duvet, watch some mind-rotting daytime TV, and forget about the world.

Gratinée Lyonnaise

2 medium onions
1 tbsp butter
Slug of extra virgin olive oil
1 litre beef stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper (optional)
3/4 cup/3.5 oz/100g grated Gruyère cheese
1 thick slice baguette

1. Roughly chop the onions. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil on a low heat. Once melted, move around the base of the pan to make sure it is all coated, then add the onions. Mix into the oil with a wooden spoon.

2. Allow the onions to sweat for approximately half an hour. Towards the end of the time, turn the heat up to medium, so that the onions brown around the edges.

3. Add the stock to the onions and turn the heat down to low again. Stir the mis and then add the balsamic vinegar. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. While the soup is simmering, toast some french bread under the oven and cut into chunks. When the time is up on the soup, add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into bowls using a ladle.

4. Right before serving, add the cheese and bread.

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