4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed to a paste with the edge of a knife
2 celery stalks, trimmed, finely chopped
2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
750ml/1¼ pints hot vegetable stock
6 rashers streaky bacon
100ml/3½fl oz double cream
100g/3½oz Stilton, crumbled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh parsley, leaves only, chopped
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and celery and fry for 4-5 minutes until softened.
Add the broccoli and stock and bring to boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and continue to simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the broccoli florets are tender.
While the soup is cooking, wrap each date in a rasher of streaky bacon. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the wrapped dates and fry for 3-4 minutes, turning regularly, until the bacon is cooked through and crisp all over.
When the soup has simmered, blend it until smooth using a stick blender. Add the cream and Stilton and blend again until smooth and well combined. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, place one wrapped date into each of six serving bowls. Ladle over the soup, then sprinkle over the parsley.
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