Chestnut celeriac soup and how to put your foot in it

I’m a train wreck; my hands of full of spikes from over-zealously collecting sweet chestnuts without gloves and my foot is elevated, soaking in vinegar and at least twice its normal size from ‘antagonising’ a family of hornets that had taken up residence in my riding boot. If anyone has some good advice on treating the pain of wasp/bee/hornet stings please let me know 🙂

The chestnuts were worth the pain, as this soup will testify. The hornet sting brought nothing good, just some ardent cursing that surprised even me.

This soup is a lot of work if you use fresh chestnuts, so if you don’t relish the idea of being totally incapacitated, you could always use tinned. If you do use freshly-picked chestnuts, I recommend cooking them in their shells for about 45 minutes in salted boiling water with a couple of fig leaves (if you happen to have some to hand!). They will then need to be shelled, so try to nab someone nifty with a knife. I think if I’d tried to shell them myself today, I’d have ended up in emergency!

Ingredients (serves 10)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

400g of pre-cooked chestnuts

1 celeriac

1 carrot

1 apple

2 litres of chicken stock

Sprig of rosemary

Seasoning (sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, curry powder…)

1/2 cup of cream

Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil and melted butter until golden brown. Add the celeriac (peeled and cut into rougly 1cm cubes) and apple (also peeled and chopped) and continue to lightly brown. Add the drained chestnuts, the sprig of rosemary and the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add the seasoning to taste and cook for about 30 minutes. Add the cream and purée until smooth.

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