4th November 2020


Soup is comforting any time of the year, especially in the autumnal months. We serve soup onboard the Northern Belle generally as part of a five course lunch or dinner. Surprisingly this is done in an old fashioned soup terrine and silver served to the guest. This tests the stewards onboard the train. It takes some serious skill to serve boiling hot soup on a moving train at 100mph without spilling a drop.

I love making bread. I find the process very therapeutic. If you’ve any stresses or frustration after a long day at work I suggest you make some bread. This one is a winner and goes very well with this soup. Sage and onion is always a favourite of the guests onboard the Northern Belle. If you can, try and wait 30 minutes before tucking into the bread. It tastes best once it has cooled slightly. Serve with some good quality salted butter




700g of celeriac, trimmed and cut into small chunks

300g Peeled potatoes cut into small chunks

50ml of sunflower oil

1l of vegetable or chicken stock

300g of Yorkshire blue cheese

500ml of double cream

2 garlic cloves finely grated

20g of caster sugar

5g of salt

100ml of white wine

200g of onion finely sliced


Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions, allowing to sweat but not colour for 3-4 minutes Add the celeriac and water and leave to simmer gently for 40 minutes or so.

After 40 minutes, or when the celeriac and potato has softened, blend the soup in a liquidiser or food blender until smooth. Season to taste with sugar and salt

Return to a clean pan and bring to the boil. Add the blue cheese pieces, salt and the double cream. Stir gently and check seasoning. Adjust consistency if necessary with a little water.

Add the finely grated garlic and white wine and bring back to the boil. Distribute into bowls and serve immediately

*My blue cheese of choice is Yorkshire Blue. It’s made in Thirsk, North Yorkshire by the Shepherds Purse Creamery. It’s a creamy rich cow’s milk cheese with a piquant flavour. Similar to Roquefort but less salty.



500g strong white flour, plus extra for kneading

300ml Lukewarm water

7g sachet fast-action dried yeast or 12g fresh yeast

1 tsp caster sugar

8g fine sea salt

15g Olive Oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped 15-20 sage leaves, chopped

1 Egg to glaze (beaten with a pinch of salt)

Poppy Seeds to sprinkle


In a mixing bowl add the flour and make a well in the middle. Add the salt, sugar, oil, sage and the chopped onion.

Mix well.

In a jug combine the yeast and water.

Slowly, pour enough water into the flour until the dough comes together and cleans itself from the sides of the bowl. If needed add more flour or water. It shouldn’t be too wet or too dry.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature until doubled in volume.

When risen divide the dough in 12 pieces and with your hands shape them into balls. Place the dough balls on a baking sheet (covered with parchment paper) and let them rest for 30 more minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200c.

Once rested beat the egg with a pinch of salt and brush the rolls. Sprinkle on the poppy seeds.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.