600ml (1 pint) milk 2 bay leaves 1/4tsp grated nutmeg 90g (3oz) butter 2 large onions, finely sliced 75g (21/2oz) plain flour 1.5 litres (21/2pints) vegetable or chicken stock salt and black pepper 150g (5oz) blue Stilton cheese, grated single cream to serve (optional)
1- Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the bay leaves and nutmeg, and bring almost to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
2- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan, add the onions, and cook very gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until they are soft but not coloured.
3- Add the flour, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Strain the milk and gradually blend it into the onion and flour. Add the stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, half covered, for 10 minutes.
There are ways of making this soup lighter if you are concerned about the fat content. Use semi-skimmed milk in step 1, only 30g (1oz) butter in step 2, and omit the flour in step 3. At the end, whisk the flour to a paste with a little cold stock or water, then whisk into the soup and boil, whisking, until thickened. Add only 60 – 90g (2-3oz) cheese in step 4.