Jalapeño Cheddar Ale soup

Mmmm. Good soup.

Many years ago I had some soup from the cafeteria at work. It was so good, I spoke the chef and asked if they could share the recipe. Well, I lost that recipe but have continued to make this from time to time from memory.

Decided I should finally put pen to paper (err, keystrokes to blog?) and make sure I have a copy of this recipe forever more.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 2 bunches of green (spring) onions, diced
  • 3 cups of chopped celery
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, diced
  • 1 tall can (about 1 1/2 cups) of beer (pale ale or IPA are best)
  • 4 cups of low-salt chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup of 18% table cream
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups old cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp dried parsley
  • 3 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt to taste
  • croutons to garnish (or some fresh buns to dip!)

In a French oven or stock pot over medium-high heat, cook onions, garlic and jalapeño in butter until onions are translucent. (approx 10 mins)

While that’s cooking, take celery and run through a food processor until it’s a pulpy texture

Deglaze pan with 1/2 the beer then add celery. Add spices, mustard and Worcestershire. Mix well and add rest of the beer. Tonight I used Instigator IPA from a local Toronto brewery Indie AleHouse.

Add chicken stock (save 1/2 cup) and bring everything to a simmering boil. Make a slurry with your cornstarch and chicken stock and stir in.

Put your lid on and leave to simmer for 30 mins, stirring occassionally.

Turn heat down to medium and add cream and stir well. Add cheese in small batches, stirring thoroughly each time to make sure it’s melted (and not just congealing at the bottom).

Hit it with the immersion blender and let it cook over medium heat for an additional 10-15 mins. At this point add some salt, tasting as you go. You DO NOT want to salt-bomb this soup and ruin the layers of flavour.

Serve with croutons or some bread, or even a dollop of sour cream. It’s not too spicy, but it still has some heat.

And that’s that! Delicious soup and lots of leftovers for this weekend, where it’s going to feel like -30ºC here in Toronto (Brrrrrr!) Glad to have some good soup to warm up for lunch tomorrow.

2021 Christmas baking round-up

Welp, it’s January 2022 and the last 3 weeks have flown by.

Between the Omicron variant running rampant, my husband having emergency surgery (spoiler alert: he’s ok!) and me trying to make the best of things, there was a lot of stress baking. I’m one of those immunocompromised folks, so leaving the house hasn’t really been a thing over the last month or so.

Here’s the round-up of what went down:

These beauties used a standard sugar cookie recipe and a royal icing design that I found on TikTok. Yes, TikTok.

Vanilla Confetti cake with Peppermint buttercream

Next up was a Christmas cake. I used the recipe for the cake and the buttercream from the AWESOME cookbook I received for my 40th birthday last year – The Magnolia Bakery Handbook: A complete guide for the home baker. Only additions were the peppermint extract for the icing (I added sparingly and tasted as I went to make sure it didn’t end up tooth paste-y) and I also added a package of red-green-white quins for the confetti.

New Years Eve rage cake

The days leading up to NYE were particularly not great. I was pretty angry and decided I needed to channel that anger. So, this cake happened.

It was my first time playing with candy melts to make lettering. Some cracked, but it was fun to test out different designs. I used 3 cups of white chocolate candy melts, and melted them in batches in the microwave. Once it had cooled down enough, I put some into a piping bag and started making my lettering/designs on some wax paper.

The cake was a small chocolate cake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction (my FAVE baking/cooking blogger) I made 2 layers with a salted caramel filling and the icing was chocolate ganache and some sprinkles/dragées.

Ginger and Black Treacle cookies

So I didn’t take any pictures of these cookies, but this is my go-to recipe from the BBC for soft, pillowy gingerbread cookies. Highly recommend! You can usually find black treacle in a UK shop that carries baking supplies. We love A Bit of Home here in the Greater Toronto Area. I can usually find sugars, treacle and a load of other goodies there.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

And finally, I had wanted to make cinnamon rolls at some point over the holidays, but life happened and they were left to the last possible vacation day. But, well worth the wait. Didn’t use any pecans for this batch, but that didn’t make them any less delicious.

This is a recipe I’ve used several times from Williams Sonoma. A full post dedicated solely to these yeasty bois can be found here.