French Onion Soup

For this year’s Food Revolution Day, Jamie Oliver shared ‘10 recipes to save your life‘ – learn how to master these dishes and you can successfully cook nutritious food for yourself and your family for the rest of your life.

As Ambassadors for the revolution, we’re all about inspiring others, sharing skills and knowledge, and helping people to build confidence in the kitchen.

My alternative to Jamie’s Minestrone Soup is the one and only French Onion Soup. It’s a fantastic example of how you can transform a humble ingredient by concentrating the flavour. You have a couple of options here: make a relatively quick and acceptable soup, or show it the love, give it the time and attention it deserves, and make a beautifully deep, complex and truly sensational bowl of joy.

brown onions


  • 500g brown onions
  • 50g butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Splash of cognac or brandy (optional)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 litres beef stock
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 150g Gruyere cheese
  • ½ baguette



Finely slice the onions and sweat them in a pan on a very low heat with the butter, sugar and a little olive oil for about an hour until beautifully soft, caramelised and almost melting.

sweating onions

Increase the heat, add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few minutes before carefully flambéing with the cognac/brandy if using.

Stir in the flour and cook it out for two of minutes.

Add the wine and let it bubble away and reduce by a third.

Add the beef stock, season and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Serve the soup with Gruyere-topped croutons – they’re essential.

I like to make the croutons by frying garlic-rubbed slices of baguette in a pan with butter until golden, but you can just toast them or bake them in the oven to dry them out. Pop them onto the soup, grate Gruyere cheese over the top, and slide everything under the grill or into the oven until gorgeously molten.


Onion Soup


February Challenge #1 for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassadors: Cook for loved ones this Valentine’s day.

Easy!  That was always going to happen.

Our morning started with a little surprise for the children at breakfast with homemade cards and a chocolate heart treat – it was the weekend after all.

Chocolate Heart treats

Breakfast was a baked blueberry sharing pancake which was rather predictable for us other than using a square tin.  Crème Fraîche is essential to cut through the sweetness. We always have the ingredients for this to hand as it’s mostly store cupboard staples and I also pop spare blueberries in the freezer before they turn.

Valentines Baked Blueberry Pancake

Eating Baked Blueberry Pancake for Valentines

Lunch comes around so quickly, especially following lazy mornings.  A bit of spare ham we roasted a few days back and a couple of mushrooms.. Oh what to make?

Thankfully, the friendly freezer contains all sorts of good stuff; homemade chicken stock, peas, broad beans, spinach etc. Combined with a little pasta, a potato, carrot, celery, onion, garlic and we’re away: Hearty Winter Minestrone.

Felix eating MinestroneNow onto the main event.  Felix has become obsessed with fish. Today he decided on a beautiful Plaice from the counter which we dusted in seasoned flour and fried in butter for a total of four minutes:

plaice: before and after

For us, it has to be steak for Valentines (or any other good excuse). Unfortunately we only had sirloin to hand, but at least it was excellent quality:

sirloin steak

A classic Prawn Cocktail spiced up with grated horseradish and Rose Harissa:

Classic Prawn Cocktail

A mushroom sauce, a tarragon dressing to smother the steak, deliciously crispy oven roasted chips, rocket and a bottle of Argentinian Malbec Bonarda:

Oven Baked Chips

steak dressingfresh rocket saladcreamy mushroom sauceArgentinian Malbec

Good honest food and the love of my life.  Bliss. Even if I did forget dessert.

Mrs Wifey on Valentines Day

Happy ‘Eating Nice Food’ Day. x

Comforting Corn Chowder

From simple things comes greatness.  This is a wonderful example of how a few humble ingredients can be transformed into delicious comfort food with relative ease.  In the last of this month’s Food Revolution challenges, the Ambassadors were asked to make a hearty corn chowder (recipe provided).  The idea is to propagate the recipe, putting our own spin on it and showcasing the concept with friends, family and colleagues.

We had a perfect opportunity with a dinner party already scheduled in the calendar, and I’m glad to say it was easy to adapt the recipe to make it wheat, gluten and dairy free for our guests.  Using soya milk did effect the balance and warranted additional seasoning to counter the sweetness.

Ingredients for Jamie Oliver's Corn Chowder


  • 2 cups frozen sweetcorn (approximately 4 ears)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • A few celery leaves, chopped
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 750ml soya milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives and parsley


Fry the diced onion, celery and thyme in butter until they soften and start to brown.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir for a few minutes to cook it out.

Add the potato and milk and bring it to the boil, stirring all the time so that it doesn’t stick and burn.

Once the potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes), stir in the corn, spring onions and celery leaves.

Bring it back to boil and serve.

Corn Chowder for the JOFR Ambassador challengep.s. I love the idea of smashing up a few crackers to sprinkle over the top.