Anyway, if you're still with me, the soup was from Jamie's cookbook which, I think, is called "Jamie at Home", I say "I think" because the book is at the cottage so I can't look at it to check and this is the first thing I've made from it so it's not exactly etched on my memory. I think the spiky haired Essex lad has churned out several cookbooks since, I can't keep up! It is the attractive cloth covered book, cream coloured with blue titles which shows you his gorgeous kitchen garden in all its (expensive) brick-walled-raised-bedded glory. It was essentially butternut squash soup. I first ate butternut squash probably only about 5 years ago and I love the stuff. The soup went down well with the HenHouse gang, especially the Munchkin, who is still at that children's stage of preferring to eat decidedly less demanding sloppy things rather than chewy things (unless the chewy thing is a flapjack, you understand).
Today, browsing in Sainsburys, the organic butternut squash having one third off the price, I thought I'd make some more. Of course, the cookbook is still at the cottage so I concocted something and it's turned out rather well, (I think,) so I thought I'd share it with you in case you're feeling soupy. I know I should have taken pretty arty photos of squash and things but I wasn't planning to blog about the soup until I sat here, next to the laptop, slurping squashily away, so this is your only photo, I'm afraid and even now, I'm regretting the lack of a very pretty plate, bowl, napkin, swirl on the soup etc...
At this point, I must add that I decided to jazz this soup up a bit and make it "butternut squash and roasted red pepper soup", yum yummity yum. The ingredients go something like this (and it makes gallons, you could easily half it but Jamie seems to like mass catering as, indeed do I):
-2 x big butternut squash
-2 x red peppers (I used those funny-looking long, pointy ones, largely because they are called "sweet peppers" which means the Munchkin gives them the thumbs up based on the name alone - a good trick!)
-2 red onions (or normal onions)
-2 sticks of celery (grim stuff but tastes good when mixed with loads of other stuff)
-2 x carrots (good big'uns)
-couple of cloves of garlic
-dried chili pepper flakes (or a fresh chopped chilli/or even the preserved stuff in a jar)
-tsp cumin (optional)
-2 litres of chicken stock (I'm sure you could use veggie if you preferred)
I make it like so... I believe, from my school Home Ec. days, this is called the METHOD:
1-Chop up the peeled onions, celery, carrots and garlic and sweat them in a knob of butter/oil (ie. don't brown/burn them) in a gigantic pan for about ten minutes.
2-Peel and chop up the squash into chunks, add those to the pan, too. Give it a satisfying stir every now and then. Let the edges of the squash soften a bit, say five minutes
3-Chuck in the chilli flakes/diced red chilli and the cumin. This doesn't make it very hot, just gives it a bit of tingly warmth. Stir it up.
4-Add the chicken stock, season with plenty of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer. Put a lid on if you can (I say "if you can" because lots of gigantic pans seem not to have lids or is that just in my kitchen?)
5-Cut the red peppers in half, take out the seeds and white membrane, and put the pepper halves on an oven tray. Drizzle with a bit of oil and bung them in the oven. I put them in a fan oven on 180 degrees for about 20 minutes - until they looked soft and cooked and the edges were curling up and charring a bit. You'll know what I mean when you do it.
6-Take the peppers out of the oven, off the tray and put them in a plastic freezer/sandwich bag, seal it up and leave them be for a bit/to cool down so you can handle them (10 minutes, let's say).
7-Cook the veggie/stock mixture in the pan until the veg are softish when you prod them with a knife. You basically want them to be soft enough that you can blitz them with a hand blender/in a blender goblet. I'd say about half an hour.
8-Back to the peppers. Take them out of the bag and peel the skins off. Bung them in the pan with the soupy mixture.
9-Now the good bit. Get your hand blender and give it all a good whizz until it looks all satisfyingly smooth and velvety and yummy like you want to dive right in, preferably with chunks of tiger bread. (Or put it in your blender goblet, just don't let it explode!)
10-If you want to be very cheffy (my lot are quite impressed with this), swirl a bit of cream into the top so it looks tres posh.
And that's it, well I hope it is and I haven't left out anything mega important. And it's quite slimming too (presuming you don't follow it with a piece of Christmas cake. Ah well, the intention was good). I usually freeze quite a bit for a future chilly occasion.
Now, because I can't possibly do a post with just a photo of a bowl of soup in it, might you like to see the slippers I made for the recent swap organised by Mel/Lesley? I made them from a "Favorite Things" (American spelling) pattern which I bought from Quilt Home (v dangerous webshop, keep away from if you have a fabric habit. You have been WARNED!!!) You may remember I made a pair for myself. I don't wear mine, I just look at them, they're far too nice to wear. I like this pair even more than my pinky ones, made from that divine new Cath K red paisley pattern fabric, with a flanelette lining for a touch of snuggly cosiness and of course, fab crochet flowers courtesy of Attic 24's pattern.
I can reveal them to you now that the ultra-patient Andrea has finally opened her swap package.
Cheerio, mes amies.