Butternut squash and garlic soup

Word of warning with this one – if you’re planning on going on a date or interacting with people on a conversational level, be sure to pack some mints or breath fresheners – other than that, this is a great soup which really does make you feel warm and cosy inside.

Ingredients 

2 whole garlic bulbs

900g butternut squash (or pumpkin, either is just as good)

2 tablespoons of thyme

25g of butter

1 large spanish onion, chopped

1 tablespoon flour

1 litre of chicken stock

 

Method

1. First pre-heat the oven to 190C/Gas mark 5. Line a roasting tin with foil and place in the garlic. Peel, de-seed and dice the butternut squash and cover with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for one hour or until the squash and garlic are soft.

2. In a saucepan melt the butter, add the onion and fry off until soft, this should on take a few minutes if you apply a medium to high heat, add the  chicken stock and keep on a low to medium heat.

3.  Once the butternut squash has browned, crush the gloves of garlic add the whole of the roasting tin to the saucepan.  Cook for 10 minutes on the same heat.

4. Add the thyme, blend and serve warm.  To make it look really fancy, and add flavour of course, drizzle over olive oil and add a dollop of creme fraiche.

Borscht – Beetroot Soup

Going down with a cold? Borscht this down the hatch – this beetroot soup is unbelievably good for you (and kind of funky looking!)

Ingredients 

4-5 decent sized beetroot, peeled and grated

2 onions, diced

2 carrots, cut into coins 

5 tomatoes, diced

1.2 litres of vegetable stock

1 knob of butter

3 celery sticks, diced

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar 

1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)

Salt and pepper for seasoning (optional)

 

Method

1. First off melt the butter and fry off the onions until their soft.  Turn to a low heat and then add 2 thirds of the the beetroot, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring it every so often.

2. Increase the heat to medium – add the garlic, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, sugar and vegetable stock and bring the mixture to the boil.

3. Reduce the heat to simmering and simmer for an 1 hour or until the vegetables are soft.  Add the remaining beetroot and season with salt and pepper.  Leave to cool for around ten minutes.

4. If you’re out to impress presentation wise, serve with a dollop of sour cream on top and a slice of rye bread.

Globe Marrow Bolognese

1 Globe marrow serves two people, a stuffed marrow can often make a great alternative to pasta or spaghetti…

Ingredients 

250g Minced beef

200g Chopped Tomatoes

1 Onion, diced

1 Carrot, diced or grated

4-5 button mushrooms 

Sprinkle of mixed herbs

1 Oxo cube 

1 Bay leaf

1 Globe marrow 

Handful of cheese (any kind, depending on your preference) 

Splash of olive oil

 

Method

1. First cut the globe marrow in 2 and hollow out the seeds, you can either dry these out in the greenhouse or through them away, then pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.

2. To make the bolognese, start frying off the onion, carrot, mushrooms with the olive oil on a medium heat until they’re soft and then add the beef, fry this off until all of the pink has gone.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, bay leaf, Oxo cube and anything else you’d think would add to the bolognese mixture.  I think every household has their own preferred method of making a bolognese sauce, just go with what works for you.  Simmer for around 10mins.

4. Pour the bolognese into the globe marrows and top off with a generous handful of cheese, bake in the oven for around 15 to 20 mins or until golden brown.

Serve with a salad and enjoy!