Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The lovely people at Abel and Cole have sent me some fantastic goodies from their website to try. They are too kind. As well as some delicious fresh fish (I will post some recipes for the fish soon) they also sent me some salsify. It is one of my favourite vegetables! Now I will forgive you if you have not come across salsify before as it is not commonly available here in the UK (well at least not where I live) and I was so pleased to find that Abel and Cole sell it and deliver it to your door. Salsify looks like tree roots but can be easily peeled with a swivel potato peeler revealing its white root flesh. It has an almost celeriac taste and is lovely roasted or made into puree. Today I made some delicious soup for a lunch meeting with my salsify, inspired by a soup my friend Maren had eaten in Germany. The sweet pear and smokiness of the salmon are a perfect accompaniment to the salsify. If you want to order some salsify from Abel and Cole, click here for a link to all their lovely goodies.

Pear and Salsify Soup with smoked salmon
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
400g salsify, peeled and chopped
3 ripe pears, cored peeled and chopped
2 tbsp sweet sherry
1 litre vegetable stock
200ml milk
salt and pepper to season
200g smoked salmon, cut into thin strips
Creme fraiche or double cream to serve

In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the onions, salsify and pears to the pan and cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until the onions and salsify turn a golden brown (but take care not to burn them) Add the sherry and cook for a few minutes then pour the stock into the pan and season well with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes until the salsify is soft. Blitz with a hand blender to a smooth puree and add the milk. Pour the warm soup into bowls and top with strips of smoked salmon and a drizzle of cream or spoon of creme fraiche. A sprinkle of fresh chives would be lovely too (sadly I had none today!)


Anonymous said...

nice blog..................................................

Marie said...

Ugly vegetable, but I am betting that soup was gorgeous!

Alex said...

I always wanted to eat twigs as a little girl (I know, I know...) so salsify is a great veg for me!

Anonymous said...


With this recipe you brought back some childhood memories. It's been ages that I saw any salsify. I remember that it was a common vegetable when I was still a child. I loathed having to eat it , though. My mom always replied that it was "rich people" food. I couldn't care less. Maybe it got out of fashion because it's not such a "clean" vegetable to cook and therefore time-consuming. Here they call it "housewives-sorrow" or "kitchen-maid-distress".
However, I didn't like asparagus as a child either , but now I do. So maybe I should try out your recipe when I got the time. Looks delicious.