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WINTER SQUASH & CARROT SOUP WITH PANCETTA CROUTONS

WINTER SQUASH & CARROT SOUP WITH PANCETTA CROUTONS

What could be more comforting in the winter months than a lovely hearty soup, something to really warm up your stomach and forget about the miserable British weather outside.

I am a huge fan of using butternut squash in soups, originally cooking a recipe created by my step dad, a spicy butternut squash and roasted red pepper soup, which is now a permanent fixture on our christmas menu. However the soup recipe that I’m posting today differs slightly, removing the spice and replacing it with flavours gained from herbs, thyme, parsley and basil to be precise. Eventually topping it all off with crispy pancetta croutons, which brings a slight Italian feel to the dish.

The magic of this recipe is that there’s no fine chopping or any precision in preparing the vegetables, just a rough chop is all that’s needed and a quick whizz in the blender will sort the rest out. What you end up with, is something nourishing and complex tasting, the perfect dish for those cold wintery nights. And don’t forget to add some nice bread to mop up all the leftovers remaining in the bowl.

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8 People)

  • 1 Large (750g) Butternut Squash, Peeled & Cut Into Chunks
  • 500g Carrots, Peeled & Cut Into Chunks
  • 2 White Onions ,Roughly Chopped
  • 3 Large Garlic Cloves, Roughly Chopped
  • 4 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
  • 2 Tbsp Coarsely Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Coarsely Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Litre Chicken Stock
  • 300g Pancetta, Diced
  • 60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220c (425F). In a roasting pan, combine the squash, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme. basil and parsley. Season with 1Tbsp of salt and a girding of pepper. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to coat.
  2. Roast stirring every 15 minutes until the vegetables have browned in spots and are soft. Roughly around 45 minutes.
  3. Remove the vegetables from the oven and discard the thyme sprigs. Transfer the vegetables to a soup pot and add the chicken stock. Using a blender (I used a stick hand blender), puree the soup until smooth.
  4. Add more of the stock to the soup if needed to reach the desired consistency.
  5. Place over a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes until warmed through.
  6. Meanwhile in a dry frying pan/ griddle pan sauté the pancetta over a medium-low heat until crispy. This should take 12-15 minutes. Once cooked transfer to paper towels to dray any excess fat.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a few of the pancetta croutons, then its ready to serve.
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