Therapy Kitchen

Butternut Squash Soup

IMG_4780.jpeg The first recipe we cooked on the farm was butternut squash/pumpkin soup. This recipe comes from a dear Danish friend who cooked this for a family camping trip, enough to feed 50+ people. I love its simplicity, its colour, its sweetness, its versatility, its generosity, its store-cupboard readiness, its cost… like my friend who taught me the dish, I still have more reasons to love this marvellous meal!

Cooking it outside, on an open fire, finishing in the clay oven, having picked the main ingredients ourselves, helped me understand more about the process of kitchen therapy. The home video clip shows me using a camping stove, as we can just get outside and make cooking special in simple ways. Just lighting a candle when you serve dinner is reminiscent of the campfire warmth and comfort.

Some of you may find my lack of quantities and specifics tricky. This approach is about choosing and finding your own way, letting loose your freedom to play, be creative and intuitive with the recipe, bearing in mind your own needs and audience.

So here’s the recipe for you to play around with and make as your own:

You will need: Butternut squash, sweet potato, celery, onions/leeks, ginger, garlic - fennel seeds are nice if you have/like them, stock, mustard (don’t like it? leave it out), soy sauce, lemon juice and rind, tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, turmeric, black pepper.

How to do it:

  • Chop your veg ready to go, into mouth sized/desired pieces.
  • Introduce each flavour into the pan separately to allow flavour to seal in and feel at home: 1.celery 2.ginger 3. onions/leeks 4. turmeric 5.squash 6. sweet potato 7. garlic 8. handful of red lentils per person (roughly speaking) adding oil along the way to keep things moving merrily along.

  • Now its time to add the liquid - a tin of tomatoes, refilled a couple of times (or more) with water, with tomato puree to push that flavour home. Leave to simmer for 10minutes.

Now add your flavours - salt, umami (protein), sweet are key for this meal.

  • A few drops of soy sauce works really well with tomatoes and brings a salty umami flavour easily along.
  • Few drops of balsamic vinegar adds a touch of tartness
  • Extra sweet in chilli sauce, honey or other syrup
  • Stock of your choice
  • Extra garlic and ginger add umph and goodness, especially supporting the immune and digestion system.
  • Lemon zest and juice have a way of making all the ingredients smile and look their best, like the sun coming out - brightens everyone up!

Taste test along the way.

Wiz into soup or leave chunky for a stew type meal. Serve with rice or bread, yoghurt/corriander or topping of your imagination.

The next day this can be a curry - Indian or Thai by adding tin of coconut milk, more garlic and ginger, zest and juice of at least one lime, along with curry paste of choice.