When it comes to food; I like to eat. Said every person ever. Well, nearly, but we'll gloss over those who say otherwise. And while I'm a dab hand in the kitchen, getting to grips with complicated recipes is more likely to get me hot in the head than under the collar.
So let me put it this way, I enjoy cooking but I LOVE to eat. And, that's where my recipes will take you, through a simple detour of cooking basics - getting that self sufficient vibe going, making from scratch for a satisfying and hugely scrumptious belly full. I keep recipes simple, for people who like to eat.
Our food provides us with a huge connection to the seasons, with the earth offering up homely favourites in the colder months and lighter options in the summer. There's huge benefits to doing your research, alongside discovering more of whats seasonal and local to you.
This simple soup recipe can be used with a wide range of vegetables, from year round golden child potatoes (they're the golden child, it's not a type of potato) through to seasonal favs like pumpkin - although apparently they're technically a fruit. Along with a tomato. But we don't have time for that right now.
Think of the following more as a formula, or a good base to make from. Taking little prep, this recipe is a winner for storing in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. It's delicious and can be a brilliant way to explore different flavours that go together.
Now, I appreciate it may feel a little confusing, but it's a great joy in cooking to understand how we can have a base and then create from there, learning flavour profiles to experiment with. Sub in ingredients below in italics for what you'd like to try or have in the cupboard.
Top tip: A great way to see if you think the spices or herbs will work in the recipe, is to smell them together, one right after the other and move your mouth as if you were eating, which can help stimulate your imagination.
- 1 White Onion (this is a must)
- Pumpkin. We want around 4-5 x the mass of whatever you choose of the onion.
- 3 tbsp of oil. Opt for flavour neutral, like olive, or mild taste, like coconut
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp Spices; what's in the cupboard? I use curry powder here. Think earthy, like paprika, cumin or all spice. You can also combine some together.
- 2 springs/tsp of herbs. Again, have a play. I use two fresh sprigs of rosemary.
- 1-2 ltr water
1. Preheat oven to around 200 degrees/400 f/Gas mark 6. Gather ingredients, a roasting pan and grab yourself a drink.
2. Peel and chop onion and pumpkin into small chunks. You may or may not need to peel your veg of choice, depending on how thick the skin is. Google if in doubt.
3. Scatter into the base of your pan and douse with oil and salt generously. Get your hands involved if need be and make sure all surface areas are nicely coated. Pop in the oven. Set a timer for around 25 minutes. Congratulate self.
4. Check on roasting party, give them a stir, encourage them to mingle. By now, you should start to see some softening. What we're aiming for is browning on the onions and pumpkin, this is where a touch of sweetness comes from, especially with the onion. Crush, finely chop and add in the garlic along with the maple syrup, spirces and herbs, mix in well. (We want to especially avoid any maple syrup pooling on the bottom of the pan, it can burn 0-100 pronto). Pop back in the oven for another 25 minutes.
5. After the total time, everything will start to be pretty delicious looking/smelling. If you feel it needs another 10-15 minutes, then go ahead, but stir again and watch for burning. This is great to build confidence in cooking, as you can learn to judge when something's ready or know for next time that it's gone too far...
6. Once ready, pile everything into a saucepan and cover with water. Find your drink again while bringing the pan to the boil. Once boiled, and strip the leaves off of any woody stalks (rosemary) into the mix and grab a stick blender. Remove the pan from the heat and making sure the rotary area is well beneath the water level, blend - begin slowly with this to avoid any molten splatter.
7. Blend to desired consistency, adding a touch more water if need be. Salt to taste and play around with a number of toppings; coconut yogurt, local cream, or nuts and seeds. Enjoy!
Let me know what you think or combinations you try out!