Heston Blumenthal's Sunshine In A Bowl Recipe - Exclusive

Michelin starred-chef Heston Blumenthal has succeeded in capturing sunshine in soup form. The creator of "bacon and egg ice cream" created an edible version of Helios that won't blind you, although its core is made of undoubtedly radiant salmon. Like the sun itself, Blumenthal's recipe is a super-dose of Vitamin D. In his new book "Is This A Cookbook? Adventures in the Kitchen," he explains, "the sunshine of the summer months doesn't just enhance our mood, it activates the process by which the body makes Vitamin D, which helps ensure healthy teeth, bones, and muscles." Meet the fishy-mushroomy soup that promises to replicate the high you get after a summer day at the beach. 

Think of Blumenthal's "Sunshine In A Bowl" as a completely accessible way to dip your toes into the multi-sensory culinary alchemy that put Blumenthal on the map. Do not, however, mistake it for a 20-minute meal; it's an afternoon adventure. You'll need to cure salmon, make a fish soup base, purée mushrooms, and bake your own oatmeal-infused soda bread, before finally basking your meal's proverbial rays. 

Recipe adapted from "Is This a Cookbook: Adventures in the Kitchen by Heston Blumenthal." Copyright © 2022 Heston Blumenthal. Illustrations © 2022 Dave McKean. Photography © 2022 Haarala Hamilton. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury.

Heston Blumenthal's Sunshine In A Bowl Recipe - Exclusive
5 from 19 ratings
Learn how to make Michelin starred-chef Heston Blumenthal's dish that captures all the brightness and Vitamin D of the sun in the form of a soup.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Heston Blumenthal's Sunshine in a Bowl
Total time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
  • For the mushroom purée
  • 500 grams roughly chopped chestnut mushrooms
  • 40 grams olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • For the soda bread
  • 300 grams wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 grams oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon unrefined caster sugar
  • 20 grams chilled unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 200 grams whole milk
  • For the cured salmon
  • 10 grams coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 20 grams unrefined caster sugar
  • 75 grams sea salt flakes
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 grapefruit
  • 300 grams skinless salmon fillets
  • For the fish soup base
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 90 grams peeled and roughly chopped white onion
  • 40 grams roughly chopped celery
  • 20 grams roughly chopped fennel
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 coriander seeds
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 500 grams fish stock (store-bought is fine)
  • Few sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • To finish the soup
  • 3 chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice, or more if needed
  • Small handful of fresh chives
  • Fresh herbs, to garnish (chives and dill are good options)
  1. For the mushroom purée, blitz the mushrooms in a food processor to a purée. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium-high heat and add the mushroom purée with the thyme sprigs. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the mixture catching. Reduce the heat and cook until all the moisture has evaporated; this will take around 15 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the sherry vinegar and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Pick out and discard the thyme sprigs. Set aside to cool. You will need 200 grams for the soda bread.
  2. To make the soda bread, preheat the oven to 230 C/Fan 220 C/Gas 8 [450 F]. Butter a 500-gram (2-pound) loaf tin and dust with flour. Combine the flour, oatmeal, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and tip in the 200 grams mushroom purée and the milk. Mix until evenly combined. Transfer to the prepared tin, cover with foil, and bake for 20–25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  3. To cure the salmon, toast the coriander seeds in a hot, dry pan until fragrant. (Note: Do you get a gentle hit of spicy citrussyness as the oils in the seeds warm up in the pan? And a bigger hit of aroma when the coriander and pepper are pounded by the pestle?) Crush the toasted seeds with the peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar, then combine with the sugar, salt, and grated citrus zests. Lay the salmon on a tray and scatter the cure mix over all sides. Place in the fridge to cure for 45 minutes. Brush off and discard the cure mix, then rinse the salmon under cold running water for 5 minutes. Pat dry and set aside. (Or confit if you prefer, see below.)
  4. If you prefer you can cook the cured salmon confit-style: Put the cured salmon into a sterilized Kilner jar, cutting it into smaller pieces to fit if necessary. Pour in enough olive oil to cover it, leaving at least a 2-centimeter space at the top of the jar. Secure the lid, place the jar in a deep pan, and add enough cold water to the pan to come to the same level as the oil in the jar. Lift the jar out and heat the water to 50 C as registered on a temperature probe. Return the jar to the pan for 15 minutes, keeping the water at 50 C. Remove the jar from the water and check the salmon. It should be soft and moist and flake easily.
  5. For the fish soup base, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion, celery, fennel, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and thyme. Add a pinch of salt and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables are softened, without color. Pour in the fish stock and simmer for 5–7 minutes until the liquid is reduced a little. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, and leave to infuse for 10 minutes only. Pass through a sieve, discarding the vegetables and flavorings. (Note: With less hardy herbs -– i.e. any that you can eat raw -– simmering them in a liquid will cook out the freshness and some of the delicate top notes of flavor. So, where possible, I like to add them at the end, off the heat, and let them infuse.) Return to a clean pan and add the cream and lemon zest. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  6. To serve, combine the sliced mushrooms, spinach, oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Finely chop the chives and add them too. Season with salt and pepper and gently combine. Divide between two warm soup bowls and top with slices of cured salmon (or flaked pieces, if using salmon confit). Pour over the hot soup and serve with slices of soda bread (toasted if preferred). Add a little more lemon juice to taste. Garnish with herbs.
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