Serves 4

This is a dead simple and tasty soup to keep the chill out. Onions and garlic tend to scare off people, but when they are fully cooked, they take on a pleasant and completely different flavour. Not that the garlic and onion family are unpleasant raw, it's just that they aren't great socially.

500g shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2tbsp olive oil
1.2 litre vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
80g fromage frais

In a saucepan with the lid on gently cook the shallots in the olive oil for 8-10 minutes until soft, stirring every so often to prevent them browning. If they do begin to colour, add 2-3tbsp of water. Add the vegetable stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, then liquidise in a blender until smooth and strain through a fine-meshed sieve.

Transfer to a clean pan and re-season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with a spoonful of fromage frais.