Here's one result of going to Victoria: Nigel Slater, half off!
At this point we were no longer in a place with a kitchen, and had been away from our own equipment for nearly two weeks, so we'd started to spend a lot of time fantasizing about what to make when we got home. So we spent almost the entire day of flights home going over and over the book, salivating and making mental ingredient lists.
Then we came home and got the ingredients and made delicious onion soup.
The trick with this one is that you roast the onions first for super-deep caramelization and roasty taste. Then you add wine. John was especially excited because the whole process makes a serious French onion-style soup that does not require beef broth and is thus vegetarian, but also is extremely intensely flavored and delicious.
Roasty onion soup for two peoples
a big yellow onion or 2 medium ones
white wine/dry vermouth
decent bread, in our case a baguette
salt and pepper
First, roast the onions. Chop them in half, peel them, and stick them in a baking pan with butter or oil and some salt and pepper. Stick it all in the oven. The book was all in metric, indicating that we need to get a kitchen scale if we want to make anything baked. So it said to roast at 200C. Ok, that's about 350F, right? No, more like 400F. It's roasting vegetable temperature, or really making most things temperature. Have you noticed my measuring is a bit slapdash in everything but baking? Sure, and it's fine. So roast at an appropriate roasting temperature.
While they're roasting, consider your broth situation. If you don't have any, make some from your stockpile and whatever decent fresh vegetables are lying around. Five or ten minutes of simmering will get you a decent quick broth. Keep it on the heat, so as to be hot and ready when you need it.
When the onions are all dark, soft, and clearly delicious, take them out of the oven, chop them into big chunks, and stick them into a saucepan. Add the wine, or vermouth if you don't feel like drinking a bottle of wine, heat to a boil, and cook together until the wine has absorbed into the onion/evaporated. You'll be able to tell it's absorbed when the bubbling starts to sound different. Or you could, you know, look into the pot and see. Then add the broth (avoiding the boiled vegetables) and simmer everything together for fifteen or twenty minutes.
During the simmer, it's time to start on bread, or croûtes if you want to be fancy. See, they're bigger than croutons, so they have to be croûtes! Ok, I'm done. Anyway, cut your bread into slices maybe a half-inch thick. They can be a little thicker if you like more squishy bread absorption later. Get enough slices to cover your servings of soup, put them on a cookie sheet, and stick them under the broiler for a few minutes. Keep a close eye out and pull out the tray as soon as they get toasty. Then turn them all over and top them with grated gruyere.
When the soup is done boiling, scoop it into bowls. Cover the bowls with the toast and cheese. Put them on a cookie sheet and get the whole shebang under the broiler. This step works best if the cookie sheet is already on the oven rack: just put on the bowls and slide the rack back. Broil until the cheese is melty and delicious, then remove (using reverse method: slide rack and out and remove bowls with oven mitts) and eat as swiftly as possible.
Try not to burn off the roof of your mouth too hard.