Thursday, 10 November 2011

East Neuk Elemental Experience...

The festive season is almost here and 2012 is just around the corner! We're celebrating by offering some fabulous Elemental Experiences from The Elemental Kitchen, including a special winter package, exclusively available around our stunning coastal base, the East Neuk of Fife.

Retreat to the comfort of your own home this winter, for your very own foodie's experience. We're bringing you this exclusive & limited introduction to The Elemental Kitchen, from January to March. Ideal for all food lovers - beginners, intermediate and more experienced home cooks.

Find out more about our
East Neuk Elemental Experience and our other packages including The Chef's Table, Cooking On Ice and The E-Kitchen at Elemental Experiences.

Recipe - Warming Winter Soup

Slow Roast Garlic & Butternut Squash Soup
As the winter draws in and the winds get colder, this is a wonderful, warming "welcome home" soup. Don't worry about the quantity of garlic; when roasted it loses pungency and becomes wonderfully sweet, adding real depth of character to the flavour of the soup. You can substitute pumpkin or another type of squash - there are lots of lovely varieties!

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash
1 onion
1 bulb of garlic
15ml white wine vinegar
a sprig of fresh thyme
400g chopped tomatoes
600 ml chicken or vegetable stock
olive oil for roasting
salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade

Peel the squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the squash into wedges, half the wedges and place in a roasting tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper

Holding the base of the garlic bulb, turn it on one side and, using a sharp knife, cut the top of the bulb off so that the tip of each garlic clove is visible. Place on a square of tinfoil, drizzle the exposed cloves with olive oil, then bring up the corners of the foil and make a parcel, loose enough for some air to circulate around the garlic.

Place the tinfoil garlic parcel in the roasting tin with the squash and cook in the oven for about 40-50 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through and starting to caramelise.

While the squash is in the oven, finely chop the onion and sweat in a little olive oil until soft, five to ten minutes. Strip the thyme leaves from the woody stalks and add to the onions, then add the vinegar, tomatoes and stock, and bring to a gentle simmer.

When the squash is cooked, add to the pan. Carefully unwrap the hot garlic bulb and then, holding the base, squeeze the soft roasted garlic cloves out of their papery skins and straight into the soup.

Liquidise the soup, taste and add salt and pepper. If it is too thick, add a little water or stock and blend again, before serving in warm bowls. If your're feeling decadent, a splash of double cream adds a lovely richness.

Recipe created by James, head chef @ The Elemental Kitchen for the award-winning
Ardross Farm Shop, East Neuk of Fife.