Food from the Hill

A London food fanatic, living on Telegraph Hill

Pea & Ham Soup


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The BEST Pea & Ham Soup

I love this soup, I make it all of the time, so i thought I’d share it with you …

Ingredients to make enough to serve 4 hungry people:

  • 1 x smoked gammon joint
  • 1 x onion
  • 3 x carrots
  • 1 x celery stick
  • 10 x peppercorns
  • 2 x bay leaves
  • (You can chuck in any other roots veggies you have too.)
  • Frozen peas (millions of)

Now put the apron on and start by …

  1. Put the ham into a very large saucepan, chuck in all of the other ingredients except the peas.
  2. Cover with lots of water and bring to the boil.
  3. Skim off any foam off the surface of the stock.
  4. Cook for 2-3 hours depending on the size of the ham (the longer the better).
  5. Once cooked, remove the ham and set aside.
  6. Strain the cooking stock.
  7. You can add back in the carrots, onions etc. if you want to, but make sure you get rid of the bay and peppercorns.
  8. Bring the stock and veg back to the boil and add in a large amount of frozen peas.  Boil and then simmer for 4 minutes.
  9. Blitz with a food processor or liquidiser until smooth.  Check the seasoning.
  10. Tear some of the ham into strips and add to the soup.  Serve with huge chunks of fresh warm buttered bread.

Tuck in and enjoy!

Champagne Risotto


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Champagne Risotto

There is something very decadent and romantic about Champagne Risotto

Ingredients to make enough to serve 2 moderately hungry people:

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/3 stick of celery, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 135g Arborio risotto rice
  • 225ml champagne / extra dry cava
  • 500ml very good chicken stock
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1 handful of chopped herbs – optional (parsley, basil, tarragon are good).

Now put the apron on and start by …

  1. Melting 25g unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and celery and fry until soft and translucent. Stir in a tiny amount of garlic.  I prefer the main aromatic flavour here to be onion and celery, so go easy on the garlic.
  3. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute until all of the grains are coated and shining with butter.
  4. Add 225ml Champagne and simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated, stirring often.
  5. In a separate pan, have your chicken stock simmering, with a small ladle at the ready.
  6. Add the chicken stock ladle by ladle, waiting until each ladle full has almost been fully absorbed before adding another ladleful. It will take around 18 minutes to cook the whole dish, or until the rice is tender but still firm, stirring often.  You may not need all of the stock.
  7. Turn off the heat, stir in 50g freshly grated Parmesan and a knob of butter and put the lid on and leave for 1 minute.
  8. Season to taste and fold in a handful of freshly chopped herbs (parsley, basil, tarragon are good).

Notes:

  • Risotto should be served with a ‘wave’, i.e. it should not be a solid lump on the plate, but ooze to the edge of the dish, without being too runny at the same time!
  • Risotto should always be cooked over a medium heat, a too high heat will cook the outside of the rice grains too quickly and the inside will remain hard and at the same time, a too low heat will leave you with soggy rice.

Tuck in and enjoy!