If you follow me on Instagram and have ever wondered why I enjoy talking about wine and food so much, it’s because not only do I come from a family of ‘foodies’, but I also married into a family of huge food enthusiasts…which makes for quite a large collection of competitive cooks to stir the metaphorical broth!
Thankfully, as we are all self proclaimed amateur – ahem -‘experts’ in our own unique fields – it allows us to avoid too may arguments surrounding the best way to dice a carrot, boil an egg or mix a cake batter…
My personal forte is the perfectly imperfect layered cake – which loosely translates into the fact that they often look as over the top eccentric as I do, but with the added benefit that they do taste rather delicious – a trait that I alas, cannot also claim to possess…
However, todays post is not about cake! Rather, it is a celebration of another Spode Collection of divine dinnerware that I recently added to my china collection. It is The Spode Woodland Collection no less, and I am utterly in love!
This charming Spode pattern features fine studies of British game animals framed by a stylised, floral border. It is described by Spode as a “Handsome range which perfectly encapsulates country living and is evocative of English country pursuits, bringing a unique theme to any home.”
Well as you can imagine, I am a huge fan. It’s the perfect pattern for cosy Autumn and Winter and festive lunches and dinners, with a border, named ‘British Flowers, which dates back to c1828 and effortlessly complements each scene…
Of course, when using such a strong and beautiful pattern, I cannot resist setting the table with props and accessories to complement the overall theme…
Thus, out came my prop box as I imagined our lunch taking place post foraging through the woods and in a vintage canvas tea tent with our trusty copper kettle to help keep the plates warm and an etched bottle to fill with rosemary infused oil to garnish our feast!
…and what would that feast be I hear you ask? Well today, I have handed over the culinary reigns to my Father-In-Law, also known as ‘The King of Soups’ in our family! He was kind enough to hand over his recipe for a bacon, mushroom and chestnut soup (it took some persuading…) which I have enjoyed on many an occasion, and which makes for a great Winter warmer either as a starter or main course with warm bread rolls and lashings of melted butter…(As a self confessed cake lover – you were naturally never going to get the reduced fat version of anything!)
I have written out the recipe below in case you care to try it – although, admittedly you may find that it tastes at it’s best served out on a Spode Woodland design!!
My Father-In-Law’s “Woodland Bacon, Chestnut & Potato Soup with Rosemary” serves 4
2 x 250g packs of peeled & cooked chestnuts chopped.
Couple of handfuls of chopped chestnut (brown) mushrooms
250g chopped smoked bacon
3 Celery stalks
2 Crushed garlic cloves
300g peeled potatoes cut into small cubes.
1 litre chicken stock
3 Sprigs fresh thyme
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
Pepper to taste (usually enough salt in bacon and the stock
Use a heavy saucepan capable of holding all the boiling ingredients.
Melt the butter in the pan and add the bacon with a low/moderate heat so that it slowly browns and renders all its fat.
Chop the celery, garlic and onion into small bits and add to bacon. Saute for 15 minutes.
Flavour well with white pepper and add herbs and stock. Bring gently to boil. Add the potato and chopped chestnuts. Simmer for 20 minutes – adding the chopped mushrooms about halfway through. Serve with a dash of virgin olive oil and a sprig of rosemary to garnish.
Until Next Time!
To go straight to the Spode website – click HERE.
This post forms part of my paid Ambassadorship of Spode which is part of the Portmeirion Group.