Lifestyle

Easy recipes for cosy nights in – including the best onion soup we’ve ever tried

Soup lovers will be familiar with French onion soup but this twist on a classic will have you reaching for ladlefuls more.

Combining a trio of onion flavours and aromas – from delicate and mild spring onions through to sweet shallots and hearty white or brown onions – this soup is a delight, and incredibly filling, too.

The addition of white wine, strong beef stock and even a sprinkling of sugar brings together the ingredients beautifully and don't miss the additional showstopper – the cheesy topping!

Mature cheese slathered baguette slices that are toasted and sprinkled with thyme are placed delicately on top. As the silky soup soaks into the bread your tastebuds will be set alight.

Plus, we have the best cheesy alternatives for other warming meals to see you through the chillier nights. Enjoy!

Triple English Onion Soup with Red Fox Cheese

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 300g shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 600g onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 1.3 litres of hot, strongly-flavoured beef or vegetable stock
  • 4-8 slices of baguette (depending on size)
  • 140g Red Fox, finely grated

1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the spring onions, shallots and onions and fry with the lid on for 10 minutes until soft.

2. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook for 20 minutes more, stirring frequently, until caramelised. The onions should be really golden, full of flavour and soft.

3. Add the garlic cloves for the final few minutes of the onions’ cooking time, then sprinkle in the plain flour and thyme and stir.

4. Increase the heat and keep stirring whilst gradually adding the wine, followed by the stock. Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins.

5. To serve, turn on the grill, and toast the bread. Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls.

6. Put a slice or two of toast on top of the bowls of soup, and pile on the Red Fox cheese. Grill until melted.

Shallot, Apple and Red Fox Galette

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Echalion shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 500g block of shortcrust pastry
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 200g Red Fox, grated
  • 2 apples
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 390F, gas 6. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and fry the shallot until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin, then cut out a 35cm circle using a dinner plate as a guide. Transfer to the baking sheet.

4. Add most of the grated Red Fox cheese to the pastry, leaving a 5cm border around the edge. Spread the cooked shallots on top of the Red Fox cheese.

5. Core and finely slice the apples, and arrange layered in circles on top. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the thyme leaves and seasoning.

6. Fold the excess dough over the centre, and brush with the beaten egg. Press the remaining Red Fox cheese into the pastry.

7. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are soft. Sprinkle with more fresh thyme and flaky sea salt.

Red Fox Cheesecake with Grapes and Figs

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 200g medium or rough oatcakes, finely crushed
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 250g full fat cream cheese
  • 250g ricotta
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 200g Red Fox, 150g grated and 50g cut into small cubes
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus extra to serve
  • 250g figs
  • 250g black grapes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey

1. Line a 20cm spring form cake tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix together the oatcakes and butter, then press into the cake tin, smoothing the surface with a spoon. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Whisk together the cream cheese, ricotta and eggs until smooth, then add the grated Red Fox cheese, thyme and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Pour into the tin, and scatter over the Red Fox cheese cubes. Place the tin onto a baking sheet and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the centre is wobbly but not liquid.

4. Remove from oven and leave to cool before chilling for 1 hour.

5. While the cheesecake is baking, place the figs, grapes, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil into an oven proof dish and cook at the top of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and golden. Cool and chill until ready to serve.

6. To serve, run a sharp knife around the inside of the cake tin, before removing the cheesecake from the tin. Transfer to a serving plate, carefully removing the baking parchment.

7. Top with figs and grapes and any cooking juices, honey and a little extra thyme.

Red Fox Pides

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 100g baby plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 250g spinach
  • Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 200g Red Fox cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 4 eggs, yolks separated, whites reserved for another recipe

1. Put the flour, yeast, sugar and sea salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Stir in 80ml of water and the oil to bring everything together into a firm, smooth dough. Add a little more water if needed.

2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to prove until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, fennel and cumin seeds and cook for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the allspice, cayenne pepper, ground coriander and the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted and any liquid has evaporated – this will take about 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice and season to taste.

5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

6. When the dough has risen, heat the oven to 220°C/ 430F, gas 7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into four. Roll each piece into a ball, then each ball out into a rough oval, around 3-4mm thick. Transfer the dough ovals onto a couple of large non-stick baking trays.

7. Spoon the cooled spinach filling into the centre of each dough oval, leaving a 2cm border around the edge.

8. Sprinkle the Red Fox cheese and dill over the filling. Carefully fold the sides of the dough in by about 1cm so they slightly overlap the filling, and bring the ends together to form a point. The ends may need to be slightly twisted and pressed down to fix them in place.

9. When all four pide are assembled, brush the dough with beaten egg.

10. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and add an egg yolk to each pide. Return to the oven for 3-4 minutes. Finish the cooked pides with a little more dill.

For more information, see www.beltonfarm.co.uk

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