Sunday, 8 November 2015

Butternut Squash & Chorizo Soup

As the nights get darker and the weather wetter, I generally seek solace in a big bowl of comfort food. The slow cooker is back out of it's summer hibernation and I'm trying to make soup out of everything and anything that is left in the cupboard.

This is one of my favourite soups, quick, easy, filling and healthy! It's also nice and bright to cheer up those winter nights.

All you need to feed two (with next day leftovers) is:
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2" section of chorizo 
  • 800ml (minimum) of vegetable stock
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Chilli flakes/fresh chilli to taste
  • Olive oil

Heat your oven up to 180c and a grab a cup of tea.

First of all, chop up your butternut squash and sweet potato. I peeled the sweet potato as it'd seen better days, but as far as I'm concerned life is way too short to peel butternut squash. Don't forget to scoop out the seeds though.

Throw it all in a roasting dish with your garlic cloves - I leave the skin on these guys too. Give it a shake up with your salt, pepper and a good glug of olive oil. If I'm feeling like it, I'll give it a sprinkle of all spice to add a bit of autumn warmth. Pop it in the oven and chill out for 15 mins.

Haul yourself back to the kitchen and slice up your chorizo into £2 coin sized rounds. Put them in a pan (no oil necessary as they've got enough fat of their own) on a medium heat and watch them crisp up. When they're done to your liking, take them out and pop them to one side.

Next, slice up your onion and put this into the same pan as your chorizo to sweat over a low heat in the leftover spicy oil. Add a bit more oil if needed and watch them take on the golden colour. If you're using fresh chilli, I'd throw this in now too.

Once your onions are nice and soft, check on your roast veggies. They should have had about 40mins in the oven by now, which should be long enough for them to be cooked through and be gloriously plump and squishy.

Pick out the garlic, and pop all the veggies into the saucepan with the onion. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins into the saucepan too, and add your stock and chilli flakes. Give it all a little stir.

Then, make sure to take it off the heat, and if you've got an over enthusiastic stick blender like me, give it five to cool down a little. Then I 'wazz' it up with the blender until it's thick and creamy, and there are no lumps left. And yes, that is a technical term.

I like mine really thick, so the above amount of stock was enough for me. However, if you want this to go a little further, by all means add more at this point if required.

Pour it into your ready warmed bowls, and top with a good grinding of salt and pepper, and your crispy chorizo. Best served with big fat hunks of bread to clean out the bottom of the bowl!


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Autumn Update

Autumn is just the best time of year for me. Multicoloured crunchy leaves and cosy nights in, but most importantly, the food!

We kicked the season off in style with a bit of rugby and a lot of food at the Newport Beer Festival, at Rodney Parade. We got there early in the afternoon, ready for lunch, so I made a beeline for the food stalls! It was hard to make a decision, but enticed by the pumpkin curry with salmon escalope, I headed to Big Fish Little Fish!

There was a huge meaty salmon escalope on the top, which had a lovely grilled taste, and I loved the raita on the top. The pumpkin curry underneath however was a bit lacklustre. I only had two small lumps of pumpkin and the sauce tasted of tinned tomatoes, watery spinach and not much else.

The beer tents were pretty good. Tiny Rebel, Sharps, Tudor Brewery and Otley were all in attendance, among others, and we tried a fair few random beers throughout the day. My personal new favourite was Safe As Milk by Crafty Devil, a beautifully smooth chocolatey coffee stout. Yum.

I was pretty jealous of the guys food choices earlier in the day, so I rounded the night off with an offering from the Dirty Bird van.

3 chunky pieces of fried halloumi, with their 'dirty fries', which were covered in parmesan and spring onion. Lots of cheese and fried carbs, perfect beer food!

I've also been indulging in some autumn baking myself lately, and am hoping to get some recipes up soon! Getting them down on paper is hard work, as I'm much more of a throw it all together girl than following a recipe to the word!

Comfort food at it's best, Nana style cheese, leek and potato pie!

The slow cooker has also come back out of it's summer hibernation at the back of the cupboard and made itself a permanent fixture on the worktop! Perfect for the rugby world cup, put a curry on in the morning and it's ready by half time! This one is a juicy chicken bhuna (with half 'n' half, obviously).

After a few weekends in, Mr P treated me to a night away from the stove and we popped to a local favourite, Gemelli's (Bridge Street). I've blogged about this before here, so I won't go into it too much, but the food is always too pretty not to share! It's a little over the top with the presentation, but I can't help but love it!

I started off with a quartet of large mussels, topped with a garlicky prawn and surrounded by a Mediterranean salsa. 

The star of the show however was the signature gnocchi dish. I love gnocchi, I mean what's not to like about cheesy potato? Served in a cheese and bacon sauce, with mushrooms and a hint of garlic, this was no exception! 

We did manage to fit dessert in, but were too greedy to remember to take a photo! Suffice to say, the amaretto cake is the one!

I think that's enough food to keep you going for now? I'll try and get some recipes up soon! What are your favourite autumn dishes? Let me know in the comments!