Tuesday, 23 March 2010


What does my bump have to do with soup? Not a lot. This is the gratitutous bump shot because at some point in the next few weeks this bump is going to become a baby and equally importantly I want to show off my gorgeous new apron (the print is called 'Utility Rose' from the V&A online shop). And I've just started maternity leave and I own a tripod.

So I've basically spent ages setting up the bump shot and not much time making lunch. I prepared a cheese and fennel sandwich and quickly discovered why that combination hasn't made it into Pret yet - it doesn't work. So I've made a quick soup. And when I say quick, I mean rapido, vite, express, speedy gonzalez. I pared back the process to the utter basics - chopped veg, cooked in stock, blitzed in a puree then eaten in a bowl. Wham, bam, thank you mam. Sweated onion? Sorry no time. Minced garlic? Forget it, I'm hungry now.

But don't get me wrong - I don't want to sacrifice flavour just to have a quick lunch, so I added chilli flakes for a kick and served the soup with a good dollop of yogurt (the calcium nod) and some toasted seeds (more flavour and a bit of protein). And don't worry about precise measurements, just make sure your chosen veg are covered by good flavoured stock.

Quick soup: carrot and butternut squash
A back to basics method that works well for most root veg. Heston, look away now...
Makes 2-3 bowlfuls
1 small butternut squash
2 carrots
Pinch chilli flakes
Chicken stock
Plain yogurt
Sunflower seeds, toasted
1 chappati

1. Peel and chop the veg into evenly-sized pieces. Make enough chicken stock so the veg is covered. Add the chilli flakes then leave to simmer for 20 mins or until the veg is cooked through.

2. Transfer to a food blender and blitz until smooth. Pour back into the pan adding a little more chicken stock if it's too thick and warm through.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan with no oil. Add the chappati and cook for 2-3 mins on each side.

4. Serve the soup with toasted seeds, yogurt and halved chappatis.

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