One of the things I enjoyed the most was meeting two young producers from Suffolk, who introduced me to the joys of rapeseed oil. Cold pressed and packed with omega 3, it was suggested as the British alternative to olive oil. While olive oil is a key ingredient to me, which I could never go without, I believe that it is often overrated here in the UK, in the sense that too often I see rubbish random, sourced 'god-knows-where-from' olive oils sold for a ridiculous amount of money in supermarkets. I get my olive from Italy, from producers my parents know personally and was therefore intrigued to try a different variety from two farmers whose love and care for their product was so clearly evident. So I bought a bottle, went home and tried immediately by using it in my roasted pumpkin soup. The result was delicious and the rapeseed oil gave the soup a nutty, uplifting edge. You really learn something every day!
PS - I really must mention another super-exciting fact: I watched Giorgio Locatelli making saltimbocca alla romana using English veal, accompanied by wild chanterelle mushrooms and melanzane alla parmigiana. And I got to be the first in line to taste the final dish! Needless to say, it was out of this world!!!
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 white onion
- 1 stick of celery
- Dried of fresh thyme
- A handful of chopped parsley
- A handful of risotto rice
- Salt and pepper
- Rapeseed oil
- Grated parmesan to serve (optional)
For the garlic croutons:
- Good quality bread, like ciabatta or pain de campagne (ready sliced won't work!)
- A clove of garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Now crack on with your garlic croutons. Cut 4 slices of bread and toast it until golden and crunchy. Rub each slice with garlic, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Do this on both sides, then cut each slice in smaller bits, to form your croutons. They are an healthier version of the fried ones, but I promise you there is no compromise on flavour.
Serve your soup with some parsley, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (if desired) and croutons on top, and more of the latter on the side. Who said that healthy food has to taste bland?