The first storm of the Autumn 2018 has come and the winds are roaring again. This year we had an awesome summer with extremely hot for Ireland temperatures and over 6 weeks of drought. The summer felt unbelievably long and by the middle of July I started looking forward to the cold season. The good thing about the summer though is that it is a relatively storm-free season, but it is way too short.
As always, staying inside the house feels comforting and safe, and the rain banging on the windows along with the noisy gusts of wind just add to the hygge factor. But in times like this hygge is almost impossible without a comforting cup of tea or hot chocolate, or at least a bowl of soup.
Hygge Activities To Enjoy
I have to confess – I am not a big soup person. I enjoy an odd bowl here and there but become extremely lazy when it comes to cooking a soup. I can’t understand where this laziness is coming from – cooking a soup could not be easier, it is not a highly involving process, right? You chop your veg roughly, sauté the onion and garlic, add the rest of the ingredients along with the stock, bring to the boil and then just simmer. You could do whatever you please while it’s cooking and then all that’s left is to blend it and enjoy. In contrast, I love making sushi, standing by the kitchen island and hand-rolling each roll (usually 10 rolls for dinner), sometimes enjoying a glass of red wine or a can of non-alcoholic beer. Making sushi is very involving; making soup is not. And yet I’m lazy to cook it once a months, whereas I make sushi about once a week. Hmm…
But when I am in the mood for some soup, there’s usually a couple of things that I like making – I love miso soups (but a bit heartier than those in Japanese restaurants) and butternut squash soups. Some people say they can’t get used to the taste of the butternut squash, or any squash for that matter, and I completely understand. During my childhood years I’ve never tried a pumpkin or a squash. Really. And when I did they tasted weird to me. But pumpkins and squashes are amazing nutrition-wise (you can learn more about them in my previous post about Autumn Produce). Squashes are a great addition to anyone’s diet, especially in cold months. So I found a compromise: I add squashes to soups along with other ingredients to blend the taste, or I cook them in curried stews with lentils or just make a chickpea curry and throw in the squash.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
The soup I am going to share today is rather sweet-tasting and it makes a great appetiser. It is suitable for babies and infants and they are bound to love it! And it goes well in this cold and stormy weather. [Is it the wind or do I hear Crowded House’s “Weather with You” in my head? – Walking ’round the room singing Stormy Weather at Fifty Seven Mount Pleasant Street…]
Anyway, let’s get soup-cooking!
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, red or yellow
1 medium/large butternut squash
3 medium/large apples
500 ml vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper – optional
salt + black pepper to taste
- Prepare the vegetables and fruit by peeling, removing cores and seeds and chopping roughly.
- Heat the oil on a medium heat in a medium pot. Sauté the onion gently until they soften, taking care not to burn, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until it softens a little.
- Add the apples, spices, salt and pepper, and 2 cups of stock (about 500 ml). Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
- Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the squash is very soft and breaks easily with a fork.
- Purée the soup in the food processor or blender. If using an immersion blender, let the soup cool a little first. If you require, add a little more stock, but be careful not to add too much or the soup will become watery. When done, you may return it to the stove on low heat for a few minutes before serving.
And the soup is ready!