Welcome back after what has been a long, sedentary Christmas and an exam week that has been less than fun for everyone involved. It’s a new term now, and I’m very excited about what the next 11 weeks will bring. However what has shocked me most about coming back to Exeter and getting through the slog of deadlines is realising that actually, it’s still very much winter and no, I still can’t wear a bikini and read outside. I’m still sneaking the heating on while wearing a coat and scarf and clutching at a hot water bottle, and using Eastenders as an excuse not to go out. Yup, it’s still winter.
There are ways of brightening up the days, though. Making the time to cook yourself something warming and homely is, I’ve discovered, one of them. This is why the butternut squash is my vegetable of the week: the pumpkin’s sexy cousin, the butternut squash is great because it’s versatile, filling, seasonal, and bright orange. It’s also cheap for the amount of squashmeat you’re paying for (usually about £1 for a medium variety). Its sweet, sweet nuttiness is great roasted in pretty much any dish from pie to pasta to salad, or blended in a wintry soup. It’s also got a host of health benefits: it’s rich in the natural antioxidant vitamin A, as well as vitamin C and fibre, and contains minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium. It’s basically a strong contestant for the king/queen of vegetables, but this week I’m blending it into a warming soup.
Easy spicy butternut squash soup (vegan)
Ingredients for approx. 4 meals
1 medium butternut squash
1 sweet potato
2 brown onions
2 garlic cloves
1 or 2 red chilli/s
2 vegetable stock cubes
1.5 litre water
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp olive oil
- Chop onions, garlic, butternut squash, and sweet potato.
- Warm a large pan with olive oil. Chuck in the onions and garlic and brown them, then add the squash and sweet potato. Lightly fry.
- Make up 1.5 litre of water with 2 vegetable stock cubes. pour over vegetables and bring to boil.
- Add tomato purée, stir, and let vegetables simmer and soften.
- When vegetables are soft and tender, add the freshly chopped chilli.
- Blend in food processor.
- Add salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle with chilli flakes to serve.
- Enjoy your radioactive-themed soup for lunch or dinner and try not to feel at least 60% cheerier.