Argh I’m drowning in a sea of recipes I keep meaning to post here. There are recipes from the summer in my backlog!! Really nice recipes like roast sea bream with salsa verde or an indian chickpea curry we had for the first time in Scotland back in June. Also our favourite blueberry muffins, a windfall apple cake and the fish curry Lewis makes for the whole family every year in France. But alas! The mood to write, she is not there as Hercule Poirot, for whom I always have time, might or might not say.
To start, here is a recipe for butternut squash soup. Very ‘in’ right now, I’m sure you’ll agree, seeing as it’s proper autumn with the damp and the rain and the leaves. We are greatly enjoying stomping through the leaves this year. The pic above is Lexie posting her birthday party invites, although I had to tell her they were birthday cards for her friends. She wants to keep all her precious Peppa Pig invites for herself and also wants to do the pinata on her own!!
This is an easy soup and it’s quite sweet, as butternut squash is. Lexie loved it when she was weaning onto solids, I’d make it super thick and she’d feed herself (also I never did this but you could easily freeze this into ice cubes for quick baby meals). Now Lexie hates butternut squash so has to be coaxed into having a couple of mouthfuls, or dabbing her cheese toastie in the soup.
A blob of gorgonzola or another blue cheese is heavenly in this soup and I keep meaning to fry a little pancetta to add on top. A dash of cayenne pepper/chilli powder, a swirl of creme fraiche and some chopped coriander works well too. This recipe is also a way to make pumpkin taste nice (pumpkin really isn’t that nice on it’s own), just add some pumpkin chunks along with the squash. Or you can add sweet potato with the squash although that definitely makes the soup sweeter. If you have the time, definitely roast the squash first for a richer, more flavourful soup. The pic above is the first time Lexie saw a pumpkin and the other pic is of her helping me buy lots of squash and pumpkins last year – little cutie pie!
Because I’ve been making this soup for years and find it a bit boring I thought I’d add the recipe for a delicious thyme and taleggio tart. I can’t remember when Lewis first made this for me. It was definitely in the early years of our ‘long term relationship’ (that’s an ‘in’ joke) and it’s a staple from his family. It’s sooo easy and sooo good, a pimped puff pastry job – do try this! Using the same principles you can make a variety of tasty tarts – some that I’ve tried include cherry tomato, basil and goats cheese, very nice. Also a butternut squash and feta tart, a variation of this salad.
Finally we’ve gone a bit nuts for autumny crafts in our house now that Lexie is almost 3 and actually a joy to do crafts with (as opposed to when she was 2 when really all I should have done every day was build a massive tower of soft bricks, give her a Timmy Mallet style mallet and set her loose to destroy!). We’ve got leaf ghosts, egg carton spiders and bats, hedgehogs made out of paper plates or conkers, fingerprint or popcorn trees, I could go on.
I wish these were the only bugs in our flat right now… SIGH… It’s the second time we’ve been hit by this bizarro biting bug – very itchy bites then tingling/crawling sensations on skin everywhere, all day long… We are on week three of this and we still don’t know what it is or how to fix it. Pest control say it isn’t bed bugs, it’s scabies. Doctors say it isn’t scabies, it’s bed bugs. We are reduced to saying things like “well we don’t have ebola,” “well at least the new baby isn’t here yet.” WAAH WAAAH WAAAAAAAAH!
Butternut squash soup
Prep time: 5-10 mins
Cooking time: 20-30 mins
Budget: Less than £5 (£1.50 butternut squash, £1 parsley)
Serves: 2 – 4 depending on portion size
- A butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced into chunks (or a mix of pumpkin and squash)
- 1 sliced onion
- Chicken stock
- Chopped parsley
- Olive oil
If you have time roast the squash in pieces (skin on) drizzled in olive oil and sea salt. Try to roast it for at least an hour, until it is all soft and squoodgy. You can also make this soup without roasting the squash, it’s also nice. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil and perhaps a little butter if you want. When the onion is soft add the peeled and deseeded butternut squash and cover with stock – as much as you want depending on if you want a thin or thick soup. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20-30 mins until the squash is soft. Use a juzzer thingimibob to puree the soup et voila, presto, listo, done. If adding, put a dob of gorgonzola in the middle of the soup before serving along with the chopped parsley and some fried pancetta if you fancy. Or add cayenne pepper, a swirl of creme fraiche and chopped coriander. This soup is lovely with a nice cheese toastie or served with a good cheese plate. We often have it with comte cheese.
Thyme and taleggio tart
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 20-40 mins
Budget: £6 (£3 taleggio, £1 thyme, £1.50 puff pastry)
Serves: 4-6 depending on portion size
- 1 sheet of bought puff pastry
- 2 onions
- Lots of butter
- The leaves from a few sticks of fresh thyme, about a handful
- Taleggio cheese
Preheat the oven to 200c and roll the puff pastry out onto a greased baking tray or a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Score the edges about 2cm apart to make a border. In a separate pan, gently fry the onion in lots of butter until soft and translucent, at least 10 mins of frying and don’t let it brown. When the onion is done spread it over the puff pastry and dob pieces of the taleggio on top. Finally sprinkle the thyme all over the tart. Brush the pastry border with a little melted butter, pop in the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden.