My son fits that category, so I am going to give him the book as I am sure he will be able to learn a lot from the technique sections and adapt the recipes to suit his vegetarian girlfriend too.
I decided to make the Cream of Onion Soup with Cheese and Ham Toasties
For the Cream of Onion Soup
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg white onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon marjoram leaves
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
900ml chicken stock
150ml double cream (I used semi-skimmed milk)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat a large saucepan and add the butter and half the olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the onions, marjoram and 1 tablespoon of the thyme. Soften the onions for 10-15 minute over a medium heat.
Add the chicken stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
For the Cheese and Ham Toasties
8 slices white bread (I used two mini pitta breads)
1 egg beaten
40g sliced honey-roast ham
40g Gruyere cheese, grated
40g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Roll out the bread slices to 2mm thick and brush one side of each with beaten egg. Place a quarter of the ham and cheese in the middle. Lay another slice of bread on top and again brush with egg. Press together and pinch closed around the edges, then cut into a circle shape using an 8cm round pastry cutter. Repeat to make 3 more sandwich rounds
Or split open the mini pitta bread and fill with the ham and cheese then dip into the beaten egg.
Place a large frying pan on the heat, add the butter and oil. When melted fry the toastie round over a low to medium heat until golden brown and toasted on each side. Keep warm in a low oven. If you have a large pan you can do them all at the same time; if not, fry in batches, using a little of the butter and oil each time.
Meanwhile pour the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth. Remove and pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan (I used a stick blender and didn’t bother with the sieve). Stir in the cream (or milk in my case) and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan until hot. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of thyme and cook for a minute then set aside.
Warm the soup through and pour into individual serving bowls. Drizzle with a little thyme oil and serve a warm toastie on the side.
Even without the cream and using dried rather than fresh herbs, the soup was delicious but the little toasties were definitely the stars of the show!