Why is it that we can get enough of soups in the winter but forget all about them when the sun comes out.
Even in the warmest summer days there is always room for a hug in a bowl. Especially when it is as warm and nourishing as this one.
Let me introduce you to my new favourite easy, speedy dinner dish. The soup bowl. Made with as much ease as regular soup, but served a little thicker, with the addition of rice (or any other preferred grain,) to make it a more substantial meal.
It can be made in a might big batch on the weekend and served up all week long. It is a great way to fill your belly and pack in lots of vitamins and minerals with ease.
Just be sure to save a little bit of room for a cheeky Raw Chocolate Truffle for afters… It would be a sin not to have a little weekday indulgence.
Warming Squash Soup Recipe
I have used garlic infused olive oil in this recipe, but you can use regular olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic instead. If you can. I certainly would advise making garlic oil yourself as it is cheaper to do then getting store bought. Its a great condiment to have to hand as it prevents the dreaded garlic-smell on fingers and speeds up your cooking time too.It can be made easily by popping a handful of peeled and bashed garlic cloves in a bottle of olive oil and leave it to infuse for 5 days.
- 4 tbsp garlic infused olive oil, plus extra to swirl
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 650g butternut squash
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest, plus juice for serving
- 6 tbsp creme fraiche
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- to serve : cooked brown rice or grains of choice, fresh coriander leaves, a scattering of pumpkin seeds, a dollop of creme fraiche or coconut yoghurt.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius/ gas mark 5
Toss butternut squash and carrots with 2 tbs olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Arrange coated squash on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until they are tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion, season and sauté over high heat for a minute, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft, sweet and lightly golden.
Add the smoked paprika, tossing to coat the onion. Cook for two minutes then add the squash and carrot and lemon zest.
Pour in the stock to just cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, until the squash and carrots are tender.
When the vegetables are thoroughly cooked, blitz the soup with a hand blender. You want it with a bit of texture, not too smooth. If the soup is a little thin, let it simmer gently on the hob until it reaches your desired texture. Season to taste.
Serve up in bowls with cooked brown rice (or your grains of choice), pumpkin seeds, fresh coriander leaves, creme fraiche and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
The Cooking Challenge
To answer a few questions as to how I get my cooking inspiration, I am going to let you in on a tip…
Every week on your grocery shop, add one new ingredient to your list. It can be a vegetable, fruit, grain or meat cut. Just make sure it is something that you wouldn’t normally buy. Shopping this way, making one small change each week is the best way to expand your cooking easily and certainly uncover amazing new ingredients you’ll love.
For any curious cook, it is the key. The next time you find yourself wondering around a supermarket, I urge you to reach for the ingredient you don’t yet know and try it. Have a hunt around for a recipe that you like the sound of and find a way that you can incorporate it.
Cooking this way is how I push myself to try new things and uncover new recipes. It is how I found the amazing black rice and spelt grains and also spices like zatar and rose harissa.