Celery and Roquefort Soup


Celery and Roquefort Soup

This soup is quick and easy to make.


  • 1 head of celery
  • 1.2 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 180g Roquefort or blue cheese
  • 1 jar chickpeas, drained (optional)


  1. Wash the celery and cut in half.
  2. Put the celery into a pressure cooker.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and salt.
  4. Close the pressure cooker and bring up to pressure.
  5. Once it has reached pressure, turn down the heat and time 15 minutes.
  6. At the end of the cooking time, remove from the heat and leave to cool and release pressure.
  7. Add the blue cheese and blend with a stick blender.
  8. Serve.


If you want a more substantial soup, add a jar of chickpeas and heat through. Otherwise it can be served with bread,.

Smoked salmon pasta

Smoked salmon pasta

smoked salmon past

Smoked salmon pasta

This pasta dish is made with smoked salmon, spinach and cream cheese. A couple of spoonfuls of the pasta cooking liquid are added to the dish at the end to moisten it slightly. The dish is then served with freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

100g pasta per person
1/2 or 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
50g spinach per person, finely shredded
50g cream cheese per person
 zest and juice of 1/2 – 2 lemons
1/4 – 1 packet smoked salmon
handful of basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water.

Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large wok. Gently soften the garlic for a few minutes before adding the spinach to wilt. Add the cream cheese and mix well to combine, before adding the lemon zest and juice. Season with black pepper.

Drain the pasta, keeping back some of the cooking liquid.

Add the smoked salmon to the sauce along with the pasta and basil. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of cooking liquid to slacken the pasta slightly.

Serve with grated parmesan cheese.    

Vegetarian moussaka


vegetarian moussakaThis is my take on the classic Greek moussaka. I found the recipe in the Thorn Cookery Book for Electrical Appliances, a cookery book I bought before going off to Poly.

Instead of aubergines, the recipe uses potatoes which are thinly sliced and then fried. The first time I cooked it I did as instructed but after all that faffing around, the fried potatoes looked just like crisps so I decided to substitute crisps the next time I cooked it and it worked perfectly.

It’s nice served with small jacket potatoes which you can start off ahead in the oven so that they are all ready together.

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 aubergine, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
400g cooked lentils
2 x 400g can of tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1 large bag crisps

500ml milk
olive oil
60g flour
large handful strong cheese, grated
1 egg

Heat the oven to 180ºC-200ºC.

Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes and then add the other vegetables. Fry until soft.

Pour in the tomatoes, lentils, tomato purée and oregano, season with salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes have reduced and you have a highly flavoured tomato sauce.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Heat the milk until warm. In a saucepan, heat a good glug of olive oil. Add the flour, stirring well and then gradually add the milk. Season with salt and pepper and cook gently on a low heat, stirring from time to time. When the sauce has thickened. Take off the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Leave to cool.

In a large glass dish, put a layer of half the tomato/vegetable mixture and cover with a layer of crisps. Top with the remaining tomato/vegetables and finish with another layer of crisps.

When the sauce has cooled down, beat in an egg and pour over the top of the moussake.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. It’s a good idea to check after 20 minutes and turn the dish round if necessary so that it cooks evenly.

Serve with jacket potatoes.

vegetarian moussaka

Courgette flowers stuffed with goat’s cheese

Courgette flowers stuffed with goat's cheese

Courgette flowers stuffed with goat’s cheese

We made these stuffed courgette flowers with some of this year’s goat cheese. The cheese was still soft but had been made long enough before for the flavours to start to develop. The recipe is taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s VEG everyday.

Courgette flowers stuffed with goat's cheese

Courgette flowers

Courgette flowers

soft goat’s cheese or ricotta cheese
fresh herbs (choose from parsley, chives, basil, mint), finely chopped

100g plain flour
40g cornflour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
200-250ml cold water

Beat together the cheese and herbs. Carefully spoon into each of the flowers, twisting the end to act as a seal.

Make the batter by sieving the dry ingredients into a bowl. Gradually whisk in the water   until you have a smooth batter.

If you a wok to fry the courgette flowers, you can get by with using less oil and it will be safe. Heat some sunflower oil in the wok. Dip each flower in the batter and then gently lower into the hot oil, one at a time. It is best to fry them in several batches.

Fry for 1 or 2 minutes until they have puffed up and are crisp and golden.

Drain on kitchen paper while cooking the next batch.

Stuffed courgette flowers

Courgette flowers, stuffed and ready for frying

Conclusions about Cheesemaking 2013

2013 Cheese-making conclusions

2013 Cheese-making conclusions

Having given up the search for a hole-free cheese (see post), I have decided to make a note of things I have learned during this season’s cheese-making.

  1. Regarding the size of cheese mould needed, around 5 litres of milk is good for a 1kg mould, 10 litres would be good for a 1.5kg mould and 15 litres is good for a 2kg mould.
    NOTE TO SELF: Buy a 1.5kg mould so that I can make cheese every two days.
  2. During the height of summer, the most difficult thing is to keep the milk from going off. I’ve replaced the glass shelf at the bottom of the fridge with a custom-made stainless steel version after it broke under the weight of the milk containers. Although the 2kg mould needed about 15 litres of milk (3 days’ milking), it was not possible to keep the milk for so long in the fridge without it going off which was why I experimented with freezing the milk. I think in the future, it would be better to make a small 1.5kg cheese every two days.
  3. I’ve found that the ideal pressure is 10kg for the first pressing as this is just enough to press the curds but not so much that they are squeezed out of the mould. I line the inside of the mould with cheesecloth and add the curds. I then press them at 10kg for 30 minutes before removing the cloth and turning the cheese. I then press the cheese with 15kg for 12 hours.