2. Onions
Just like garlic, I use onions in almost all of my savoury dishes. When people tell me they don’t like onions I’m baffled because they give so much amazing flavour to so many meals. In fact I sometimes feel that they don’t get enough attention – they’re usually used in the background and rarely get to be the star of the show.
This recipe proves that onions are deserving of the same attention that other vegetables get. They are soft and sweet, and the cheesy croutons on top turn this from a simple bowl of soup into an irresistible dinner. This is the type of soup that you just want to dive into a vat of.

This vegetarian version may not have the dark colour that beef stock usually provides, but it has beer in it, which I think more than makes up for that fact.

French onion soup with cheesey croutons

Serves 2
1tbsp sunflower oil
4 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
100ml lager
1 vegetable stock cube, made up with 700ml boiling water
1 tsp mixed herbs
Black pepper
2 thick slices French bread (other bread could work too)
100g cheddar cheese, grated
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and, on a low heat, soften the onion and garlic. Add the sugar and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes, until the onions are caramelised and turning brown.
Add the flour stir in to cook it. Pour in the lager and stock, and season with lots of black pepper and the mixed herbs. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F).
If using individual oven-proof soup bowls, transfer into these now. Top the soup with the slices of bread and a generous heap of grated cheese. Bake for around 20 minutes, until the top of the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted but not browned. Serve immediately.