Food : French Onion Soup & Homemade Bread

my first bread attempt

London is super-cold at the moment & recently I've been making lots of soups & stews.
I've also been making fresh bread.

Maybe because it's such an essential & basic food, there's something very gratifying & lovely about making your own bread.

This appears to be a foolproof & delicious recipe which has worked every time for me. 

Both of the recipes below are so simple so I thought I would share them....
a first for me, I never thought I'd be sharing recipes on my blog :)

If you've never made bread before, this is the recipe for you!

The bread recipe I use is incredibly quick, easy & tasty & is from Tana Ramsay's book
"Tana's Kitchen Secrets"

Easy Handmade White Bread
840g (1lb 13oz) strong white flour
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
sunflower oil for the bowl 

Add all ingredients to an electric mixer with a dough hook (I use my Kitchenaid).
Stir in 500ml/18 fl oz of tepid water & mix to a soft dough.
Knead for 5 mins or turn it on to a floured surface & knead for 10-15 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, seal with clingfilm or a damp cloth.
Leave in a warm place to rise for 1.5-2 hours until doubled in size.
Place the dough on a floured surface & knead again for 5-10 minutes.

This mix makes two loaves - shape the dough into the shape of your choices....
I usually make a plaited bread (using 3 strands of dough plaited together....this is v easy),
but I've also made small rolls and a round loaf.
Dust your bread with a small amount of flour & place in the middle of a cold oven : 180C/350F/GasMark4 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Smaller loaves may require a slightly shorter baking time.
If you are not sure that your bread is cooked, tap it on the bottom - I was told that a cooked loaf should sound hollow. I have found this to be accurate :)
The above recipe uses white flour....I have also used wholemeal & granary flours.

Possibly my favourite soup is a French Onion recipe given to me by my French/Italian cookery teacher...another super-easy & quick recipe which is absolutely delicious.

French Onion Soup photo via Pinterest

50gr butter
750gr Onions finely sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
40gr plain flour
1.5 litres of beef or chicken stock
250ml white wine
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
12 slices of baguette (stale if you have some)
100gr finely grated gruyere cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and add the onion.
2. Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until the onion is deep golden brown and beginning to caramelize
3. Add the garlic and flour and stir continuously for 2 minutes.
4. Gradually blend in 1 litre of the stock and the wine, stirring all the time and bring to the boil. 
Add more of the stock if the soup seems too thick.
5. Add the bay leaf and thyme and season.
6. Cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes. 
Remove the bay leaf and thyme and check the seasoning.
7. Toast the slices of baguette, then divide among six warmed soup bowls and pour the soup over the top.
8. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve.


  1. YUM! I was so inspired by your 'comfort food' post that I went a made a chicken pie!! It's in the oven as I type. However this second post of the day (you're on a roll!) looks delish. I need to get into this kind of cooking :-)

    Meanwhile - loving more and more the new layout - but can I make one suggestion?! Your 'about me' page does not encapsulate the wonderfulness that is Simone. Expand, extend, capture 'you' more! For those of us who know you well, there is so much more to say!! Lou x

  2. This sounds absolutely delicious and so easy to make! I used to make soup just so I have something to eat my bread with...haha....Love it so! My favorite soups to make are Chicken Noodle, Minestrone and then I love to make a pot of Chili once in a while too for those cold days! xxoo

  3. I love baking fresh bread and it's tricky because it depends so much on the weather and on the baker's mood!love Coco

  4. Ahh. I just want to sit in your warm kitchen and smell the aroma of bread everywhere. :)
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

  5. You may or may not know this but I fell in love - real true love- with french onion soup with you- in Paris- and after that night I ate it nearly every single night for the rest of that trip. Which reminds me- we need to go back!!!

  6. This makes me drool in a serious way. French onion soup and bread?! Dreamy. And even dreamier in this chilly weather!

  7. Yummy yum, I bake bread too -with the machine. The house smells soo good. You did great on first attempt.
    Now.. I had Onion soup years ago in New Orleans, but it was a creammy
    onion soup, to die for..
    I forgot the recipe I used, on the coffee cake. Let me know how it came out. Mine used oatmeal in topping .
    Maybe frosted flakes would have been better. Keep baking!!! yvonne

  8. What liquid do I add to the bread recipe & does it have to have so much salt (1 tbsp)


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