French Onion Soup

20160507-021922-8362211.jpgI had no idea why am I so intrigue to make this soup. Probably because I was super curious of how a french onion soup taste but there’s no french restaurant around me that I know of sell this soup or even if they do, I bet it cost a fortune. And for me, one of the reason of why I love to cook and bake is because I can make food that I can’t actually buy. I think that this is one of the benefits too of being able to cook. Anyone agree?

A french onion soup is clearly a soup that you can make when you don’t know what to eat but feeling for something decent. The ingredients are pretty basic too but I actually planned on making this dish for about a week (because unfortunately I haven’t got the time to make it and take photos of it). And alas, I did make it and I can tell you, I looooove it!

I think we should get to the cooking part A.S.A.P, shall we?

20160507-023019-9019468.jpgI think this part is obvious from the name, the french onion soup, you can guess that the star of the show are onions.

Yep! First step of this french onion soup is chopping some onions.
Here’s a tip to keep your eyes from tearing, I always put my onions in the fridge overnight. I have no scientific explanation here but it works.

20160507-024055-9655895.jpgLike any good french recipe, it all starts with butter. Oh yeah, a french onion soup is one of them.

Put some butter and olive oil in a saucepan and let it get melted and hot.

20160509-013300-5580688.jpgNext, put all those chopped onions that you’ve cried over into the butter and oil.

Then just start caramelizing it! This may take a good 7-10 minutes depending the heat of your stove. Here’s a tip, don’t stir it constantly or else it will take forever! I stir mine around every 30 seconds or so. Don’t stress too much about burning the onions. After all, we’re aiming for that caramelization (a.k.a one step before burning something that has a sugar content)

At first it may look like it’s a crazy amount of onions and your pan won’t fit in the end for all that soup, but trust me, it’s not. I first thought that this much onion need a big soup pan but hey, totally miscalculate it. But better save than having hot soup all over your stove (or even myself), right?

20160509-014756-6476183.jpgNow that you’ve caramelized those onions, deglaze the pan. Traditionally, they use wine to deglaze the flavour bits on the pan, but since nobody in my family drink alcohol on daily basis (just on special holidays), having a bottle of wine in the house is not a common thing in my family, oh and I’m not in my legal age yet so I can’t just stroll in and buy a bottle of wine which I will most probably just use for cooking this french onion soup.

But I do have some mild red wine vinegar so, I used that. For those of you who don’t want to use alcohol at all, you could use other type of vinegar like apple cider vinegar.

Then pour in your stock! I’m using a chicken stock but if you want, you can use beef stock or any stock/broth that you prefer! And also, to make this soup totally vegetarian, you could also substitute for vegetable stock.

20160509-014711-6431793.jpgNow chuck in the herbs. I put some bay leaves and notice the tea strainer tied with a string? I put some dried thyme and a bit of rosemary in because I don’t have the plant and I don’t feel like buying the whole bunch just to use a couple of stalks and found it tucked away in the back of the fridge a couple of months later.

If you don’t have a tea strainer, you can use a little piece of cloth, filled with the herbs and tied into a little bundle (of joy).

Once the herbs and aromatics are in, just let this nearly finished french onion soup simmer away.

20160509-112944-41384421.jpgOh yeah, once the soup is done, spoon some of it to an oven proof bowl then to the next components that make a french onion soup, the french onion soup.

To create that signature french onion top, you’ll need:
The cheese, grated. I used emmental cheese but traditionally, they use a good french cheese which is gruyere.
The bread, sliced. Usually they use some french baguette but for this, I used a semi baguette walnut bread which is a bit softer than a regular baguette and I love that walnut for texture.

20160509-113621-41781142.jpgToast your bread with a bit of butter, then rub a garlic clove all over the bread (don’t forget the sides!).

20160509-113741-41861474.jpgRest them on top of the onion soup. I used 2 slices of bread because I want to cover the whole bowl and also, I love bread and soup!

20160509-202342-73422493.jpgTop the garlicky slice of bread with loads of cheese and into the broiler it goes!

20160509-225142-82302754.jpgLook how pleasing this bowl french onion soup.. Aromatic and packed with flavours onion soup, toasted garlicky walnut bread and melty cheese….

20160509-225638-82598823.jpgOh dear french people, why did you always ruin my diet with your creation….

20160512-234036-85236611.jpgA close up look of this glorious soup, just because.

20160509-225942-82782398.jpgHave I ever told you that I am currently learning french?
Anyway, I found the recipe of this soup in one of the recipe book written in french on the library of the french institution (where I’m currently learning french). The book is in french so… It has to be the real deal then, right? But well.. I’ve changed a few things especially on the quantity (the original recipe calls for 10 big onions…) of the soup.

20160512-234753-85673104.jpgWait, doesn’t this mean it’s not so traditional anymore? Hemm… Maybe.. I guess? But I did some research on it and nevertheless, it is GOOD!
So.. Let’s just say that it’s my take on a french onion soup then.

P.s: have I told you that this dish is called soupe à l’oignon gratinée? “Soupe à l’oignon” literally means onion soup and “gratinée” is the signature bread and broiled melted cheese top.

20160513-000407-247860.jpgHave a good one everybody!


French Onion Soup Recipe
Make 2 servings (medium to small bowl portion)

• 3 big onions
• 3 tbsp butter
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 30 – 50 ml white wine/ apple cider vinegar
• 500 ml beef/chicken/vegetables stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp dried thyme (or a couple of stalks of fresh ones)
• 1 tsp dried rosemary (or a couple of stalks of fresh ones)
• Salt and pepper
• Baguette + a bit of butter
• 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
• Grated cheese (traditionally gruyere)

How to make it:
1) Peel and slice your onions into thin pieces.
2) Heat up the butter and olive oil, then cook the sliced onions until it caramelized (around 7-10 minutes, on medium high heat).
3) Once the onion caramelized and browned, pour the wine/vinegar to deglaze the pan, don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the pan for all the flavours.
4) Pour in the stock and put the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary in. Simmer the soup until just started to boil. Add in the salt and pepper.
5) Slice the baguette into pieces (the thickness is to your preference). Smear the butter on the sides and toast them until golden brown. Once toasted, rub the garlic on the bread until the breads become garlicky.
6) Pour the soup into an oven proof bowl, put the garlicy toasted bread on top then cover the top with grated cheese. Put it under the broiler for 5-7 minutes or until melted and slightly golden brown.


Warm Caramel Apple Crumble

20151112-015032-6632676.jpgAutumn is here. I looove autumn. It’s getting cold outside, the fall clothing collection is my favourite, and not to forget all the comfort food to eat in the cold weather.
And sure enough this warm caramel apple crumble is one of it. It is warm and gooey because of the caramel, and it has a crunchy top thanks to the crumble. This is to die for.

And plus apple is such a fall fruit. Well, I nearly forgot since there are more than enough recipes with pumpkin that symbolize fall but don’t forget about the apples!

Enough talking and let’s get to baking, shall we?

20151112-104426-38666901.jpgFirst thing first is to make the caramel sauce.
In that pan there’s sugar, corn syrup (to prevent the sugar to crystallize back up) and pour in some water.

Sure you can use store bought caramel sauce or canned dulce de leche but seriously, making caramel is easy, don’t waste your money on something loaded with coloring and preservatives.

20151112-104839-38919350.jpgBring them to a boil until the desired caramel color has been reached

20151112-105014-39014368.jpgPour in cream (be careful it will steam so watch your hand), then stir until the sugar and the cream has combined.
Add in butter and salt to make salted caramel.

A bit of tips, don’t leave your caramel unattended. I thought I can leave it for a moment to prep all the other ingredients. Notice that I changed my pan? Yep, I burnt the first batch of caramel. Silly me.

20151112-105508-39308170.jpgNext up, crumble.
All you need is flour, sugar and butter.

20151115-140406-50646985.jpgA crumble is a crumble for a reason, so just crumble it up!
I used my hands and just rubbing the butter with the flour and sugar until it form clumps like wet sand. But if you like, you can use a food processor, a pastry cutter or like me, your hands.

And just like that, you got your crumble ready to rumble (I need to say sorry here, bad pun, I know. Can’t get it off of my head until I wrote it)

20151115-140223-50543897.jpgNow on to apples. I used Granny Smith apples. You could use any cooking apples of your choice, I just like to use granny smith because it has some tartness that will go great with the sweet caramel.

Also, granny smith doesn’t brown too quickly because of the tartness content on it. So, once you’ve cut it, just work quickly then you don’t need to add any lemon juice or anything to stop it from browning.

20151115-140944-50984258.jpgCut the apples.
I prefer it thinly sliced so it cooks faster too, but feel free to cut it anyway you like.
It’s your comfort food! Make it however you want.

20151117-011926-4766494.jpgOne more step to go before this ooey gooey caramel apple goes straight to the oven (and then into the mouth)

Heat some butter in an ovenproof pan.
I used salted butter here, but if you don’t, I would recommend putting about a pinch of salt in it with the apples to pop more of the flavours.

20151117-011508-4508828.jpgSauté the apples in medium heat just to draw some of the moistures out so that the caramel stays gooey once baked with the apples.

20151117-011712-4632365.jpgI sprinkle in some cinnamon, this would be a good time to sprinkle in the salt if you’re not using salted butter.

You can omit the cinnamon if you want, but I feel like cinnamon gives an even more “comfort food” feeling to a dish.

20151117-190253-68573413.jpgOnce all the cinnamon has evenly distributed, pour in the salted caramel. Stir it a bit to make sure all the apples got coated with caramel.

20151117-190517-68717117.jpgTop the caramel apples with the crumble.
Again, it’s up to you if you want it to have big chunks or not.

Now off to the oven it goes!

20151117-192228-69748409.jpgI sprinkle some toasted almonds to add even more crunch. Warm, gooey, sweet and salty caramel apple crumble.
Such a comfort food.

20151118-100441-36281013.jpgComfort food to me is something that is easy to eat, and easy to make.
That is why this recipe is tweakable. You can make it your own.

20151118-100847-36527327.jpgScoop a big portion, oh yeah, I would recommend to eat this with (preferably) vanilla ice cream. HEAVEN.
But I was out of ice cream at the time so yeah.
I mean, it’s good just as it is, but you know… Ice cream makes everything better.

20151118-101235-36755668.jpgFyi, I only put them on a plate just for the photo. In reality, I just scoop them straight out of the pan and gobble it up.

20151118-101525-36925762.jpgHave a good one everybody!


Warm Caramel Apple Crumble Recipe
Makes about 20 cm in diameter cast iron pan

Caramel Sauce
• 100g white sugar
• 1 tbsp corn syrup
• 30ml water
• 70ml heavy cream
• 30g unsalted butter butter
• 1 tsp salt

• 50g butter
• 50g all purpose flour
• 30g icing sugar

• 2 granny smith apples
• 1 tbsp salted butter (or unsalted butter + a pinch of salt)
• a sprinkle of cinnamon
• Almonds (optional)

How to make:
Caramel Sauce
1) In a pot, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Put on medium heat until it reaches the caramel colour you desired.
Brush the sides of the pan with cold water to prevent crystallization during the cooking time
2) Pour in the heavy cream, stir until all the sugar has combined.
Be careful of the steam once you’ve poured the cream
3) Turn off the heat, then stir in the butter and salt until all melted and combined.

1) Combine the butter, flour and sugar in a bowl then start rubbing the butter until it resembles a wet sand consistency.

1) Peel and core the apples then cut them into thin slices.
2) Heat butter on a cast iron or oven proof pan, then sauté the apples until most of the moisture has gone.
3) Sprinkle the cinnamon then stir until combined.
4) Pour in the caramel then stir until all of the apples got coated.
5) Sprinkle the crumble on top of the apples.
6) Bake at 180°C or 350°F for 10 minutes then put on broiler for another 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
7) (Optional) Toast the almonds on a pan, keep stirring and tossing until light brown, sprinkle on top of the warm apple crumble.