Fennel Soup with French Toast Croutons

Fall is such a great time for soup! I find myself always adding a soup recipe into my weekly meal plan these days, and this is one of my go-to’s. It’s fairly quick and easy, and the flavour is great! The cannellini beans give the soup a creamy texture, while the addition of the french toast croutons is something so fun and just makes this soup that much more delicious.  Of course, it is from my favourite, Jamie Oliver – Save With Jamie cookbook.

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Sweet Fennel Soup with French Toast Croutons
Serves 4

2 cloves garlic
2 yellow onions
2 bulbs fennel
3 cups vegetable broth
1 x 14 oz can of cannellini beans
1 egg
2 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 1/2 oz ciabatta or stale bread
4 tsp plain yogurt

Heat a large saucepan on medium heat with a good lug of olive oil.

Finely slice your onions into half rings. Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves. Trim and finely slice your fennel bulbs (make sure to reserve the green herby-tips to top your soup with at the end – they add great flavour!). Add all of these ingredients to the saucepan and give it a good stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the lid and cook for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir every few minutes. Once everything is softened, add in your broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for another 20 minutes with the lid off. Use your immersion blender to get the soup as smooth as you’d like – have some fun! If you prefer a chunkier texture, don’t overland. You could throw the whole thing in a blender for a really smooth texture. Season well with salt and pepper.

For the croutons:

In a bowl, add 1 egg, the grated cheddar and the chili flakes. In a mortar and pestle, crush the fennel seeds and add to the bowl as well. Whisk everything together well. Chop or tear your bread into 1″ chunks, throw them into the egg mixture and toss well – i suggest using your hands to scrunch the bread well and soak up all the goodness. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil, and throw your croutons in. Fry until golden all over.

Ladle out some soup into bowls and drizzle your plain yogurt over top. Place a few of your french toast croutons on top, add those fennel tops you saved, and even some extra chili flakes if you want extra heat.

Enjoy!!

Brianna

Wedding Gift Ideas

This year has been full of love – and by love I mean weddings. We were invited to 8 weddings this year – is everyone getting married? We went to 6 of them, and had a blast. It is always so great to watch two people declare their love in front of family and friends, and to watch them start this new chapter of life together.

With all of these weddings obviously comes a lot of shower and wedding gifts. A lot of couples decide to have wedding registries that give a great outline of what kind of items they are looking for, and it’s easy to just pick something that way. Sometimes couples don’t register anywhere, or there may be nothing left on the registry by them time you decide to shop (which, if you’re like me, is always last minute).

It can be hard to find a gift that is timeless, memorable, original and something hopefully the couple will love for years to come. I still think of the people who gave us specific gifts for our wedding when I am using them, or see them in my house – I love how special that is!

I have created a sampling of the items we have purchased this year for gifts, and they are usually my go-to when I am unsure what to buy or the registry is a bit sparse. The items are useful, beautiful (I think), and I believe anyone would be happy to receive one of these items. Of course, it depends on the couple and their taste, but hopefully this list will help you a bit!

cactus-photo-frame

Alessi Cactus Photo Frame
This photo frame is so beautiful for the couple to put a wedding photo in – we received one as a gift at our wedding, and it’s a go-to for me every time. Made in Italy, stunning stainless with a cactus cutout.

round-french-oven

Le Creuset Round French Oven
I believe every kitchen needs one of these – we use ours every week and it is so versatile. If you have a bit of a bigger budget, or can split this gift with another couple or two, do it – the couple will thank you! And it comes in a variety of beautiful colors to suit anyones taste.

peugot-mill

Peugeot Salt & Pepper Mills
A beautiful set of Salt & Pepper Mills makes a great gift – there are so many styles, colors and options that you can really personalize a set to the couple. The Peugeot mills have a lifetime guarantee on their mechanism, so that makes the quality so great.

 

lastra

Vietri Serving Pieces
These handmade and hand-painted Italian pieces are beautiful and original. Getting someone a beautiful serving dish that is unique is always a great choice.

Of course I could go on forever, but these are my favourites! What are your favourite wedding gifts you have given or received?

Brianna