Celery and Apple Soup is comfort food that is perfect both as that solo hug in a mug or to serve when you have friends round for supper. It is what I served the other night when a pal came round alas armed with her doggie friend.
Have you seen those adverts on TV for O2, Be More Dog, all those poor cats desperately trying to act as if they have suddenly developed the canine characteristics of stick chasing, barking and goodness knows what else. Like cats would ever really want to lose their uber cool status and join the ranks of dogdom, I think not.
You see I’m a cat person through and through. Don’t get me wrong I like dogs; have even owned a few in my time. I like my friends dogs and even take them prezzies when I visit (yes I’m that nice), but I like them in someone else’s house – not mine.
I guess it is kind of a life choice thing. I choose not to be more dog.
So it is a bit of a bugger really when friends insist on bringing their canine companions when they have been invited round for supper.
Take this weekend for example. I had invited a pal round for supper at 7.30pm and had everything ready; lovely apple and celery soup bubbling on the Aga, an old wooden tray groaning with pickles, cheeses and anti pasti goodies, French bread, nibbles and puds in the fridge.
At 7pm the phone rings “Do you mind if I bring Biggles with me, he gets lonely on his own and he is fine with cats?” Now I have a choice here, I can say “Yes I do mind because he may well be fine with cats but Minou is neurotic and doesn’t like him or his compatriots so why should I stress out my own animal” and therefore risk her saying she won’t come and it’s the last minute and I’ve got everything ready. Or I just wimp out and say “No problem, of course he can come”. I chose the latter as just a few months ago another neighbour came round with her dog and made a big show of how she just wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without him and it was ‘love me love my dog’.
Anyway friend arrives full of beans and eager to chat and catch up with news. We settle down with wine in hand. Alas darling Biggles also appears to be full of beans and proceeds to trump silently but odiously all evening. With dogged (sorry couldn’t resist) determination he wrecks the cat toys and thwacks the coffee table with his rudder-like tail sending the anti pasti flying. Isn’t he sweet, don’t you just love him? Do you really want the answer to that one?
Other than the unfortunate antics of my somewhat unwanted canine guest the evening is a success and meal enjoyed, chat exchanged and wine consumed. As she goes to leave (with Biggles) Minou appears and goes into reverse so quickly that she actually bounces off the front door in her haste to escape this huge smelly interloper. “It’s okay he won’t hurt her” says friend. Is Minou waiting around to find out, no way?
We say our goodbyes and I hunt down Minou in the garden. She comes in, checks out the scattered and chewed toys covered in very uncatlike slobber and gets her own back by peeing on the rug where the dog had been lying.
Some may say I am mad to have a neurotic cat, but hey she is my cat in my house, my choice. So next time I’m inviting friends round I am going to man up and be brave and say right from the outset that I am inviting them as a solo and not part of a 6 legged partnership.
Call me boring and cantankerous but I just don’t want to be more dog.
And now that I’ve got all that off my chest I’d like to share this yummy recipe for my celery and apple soup that we enjoyed on Saturday night.
Celery & Apple Soup
- 1 small onion peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 large head celery roughly chopped
- 1 large potato peeled and chopped
- 1 medium apple peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- yogurt or cream to serve
- bacon or pancetta to serve
- Toss the onion into a large pan with the olive oil and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes till translucent but do not brown.
- Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add the celery, apple, thyme and potato and the stock and seasoning.
- Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender puree the soup in the pan or carefully transfer to a blender.
- Serve with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or cream and a few pieces of grilled and crumbled bacon or pancetta and a few celery leaves.