You go to all your favourite places and show off how awesome this city really is.
You go to Monty's Chocolates in Paddington and sample a few of their exquisite new deliveries. Think a cactus fig truffle or a mango lassi, filled with pure cacao butter. Think a fresh batch of chocolate salted caramels... I'm trying to tell everyone to go there, as they've gone chocolate crazy with all their new deliveries and you'll be able to test a few different delights before you buy. BRISBANE PEOPLE, DO THIS.
Moving on. You head down to the Merlo roasting house and buy some freshly roasted coffee beans and sit down with a lovely coffee and a city squint.
Finally, you collect wine and groceries for dinner, and you make a hearty, warming soup. And then eat all the chocolate you bought.
The one word I would use to describe this soup is MUSSSHHRROOOOMMM. Oh boy. This is like the flavour of mushroom x 10. If you don't like mushrooms, you definitely won't like this soup. But if, like me, mushrooms are in your top 5 (at least) vegetables, you might just need to make this instantly.
Mushroom soup with thyme & blue cheese toasts
Soup recipe adapted from The Real Mushroom Soup in Jamie's Dinners, 2006, page 149.
Notes: Feel free to healthify this in anyway you choose - omitting the cheeses, the toasts, or switching them up for gluten-free toasts... the soup all on it's own is still ridiculously flavoursome and rich (hello, it's from Jamie Oliver), and everything else is just trimmings! Delicious, delicious trimmings.
For the soup
20g (a small handful) dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
600g mixed fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (I used 200g shiitake and 400g portobello)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
10g (a handful) fresh thyme, leaves picked
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1L chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
For the toasts
1 loaf ciabatta or similar
80g creamy blue cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp picked thyme leaves
salt and pepper
Add the porcini to a small dish, top with boiling water, and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large stovetop casserole dish and add the mixed mushrooms. Saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, thyme, and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Fry for 2 or 3 more minutes or until softened and fragrant. Add the porcini mushrooms including their dark broth and stir through. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, around 10 minutes. Add the stock, and simmer for 20 more minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C degrees.
Transfer the soup to a high-speed blender in two or three batches, depending on the size of your blender. Add each batch of soup into one large bowl, and rinse out the casserole dish briefly, place back on the stove, and add all of the soup back into the pot. (I do this because I really like a silky smooth soup - if you don't mind little bits floating around in your soup, don't bother rinsing the pot and just add the batches of soup straight back into the pot).
Add the mascarpone, stir through, and leave to simmer over a low heat while you prepare the blue cheese toasts. Slice up the ciabatta loaf into 2 cm slices, and then cut each slice in half width-ways. Slice the blue cheese up until little cubes of about 1-2 cm and press two cubes into each piece of ciabatta. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, press them slightly into the cheese. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is beginning to melt (but not completely melted - you may need to keep an eye on them!)
Serve the soup in bowls with one or two toasts floating on top of the soup, plus an extra sprinkle of thyme leaves if you have them, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a tiny dollop of mascarpone, and some cracked black pepper.