I made this soup on the same day as the blogaversary cake. I was surrounded by chocolate, caramel and buttercream and needed a quick lunch to keep me going. This soup is so easy as to hardly be called a recipe. But it's all about low effort and high rewards - it is so delicious and rich.
The soda bread is another recipe that's hardly a recipe at all. Simply mix - barely - a few ingredients and hey presto, bread - albeit a cakey-textured one. It goes really well with the soup, slathered with some salted butter. The cumin and turmeric give it a warm hue but you can vary the spices according to your mood.
For the soup
1 medium butternut squash (or half a large one), peeled and chopped
3 leeks, white parts only, roughly chopped
950ml | about 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
120ml | 1/2 cup milk - more if soup is too thick
130g | 4.5 oz cooked chestnuts (canned or vacuum packed)
Salt and pepper to season
4-5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pouring cream (optional)
1 tbsp butter
1. Put the butter in a medium saucepan and heat until foamy. Sauté the chopped leeks for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the butternut squash and chestnuts and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the stock and simmer on medium-low heat until the squash is cooked through and liquid is reduced - about 20-25 minutes.
3. Once the squash is completely tender, put the soup in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
4. Return to the pot, add the milk and simmer for a few minutes on low heat (it will bubble dangerously). Stir in the cheese if using.
5. Serve with a a little cream swirled on top.
For the soda rolls
150g | 1 1/4 cup plain flour, plus more for dusting
50g | 2/5 cup wholemeal flour
2 tbsp rolled oats
1-2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
200 ml | 3/4 cup buttermilk
Handful mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, linseed, sunflower)
2 tbsp butter, melted to brush on rolls
1. Preheat the oven to 200C | 400F.
2. Put all the all the ingredients apart from the buttermilk and seeds into a large bowl. Mix together to get rid of any lumps.
3. Make a well in the centre then add most of the buttermilk. Mix together with a spoon until a soft dough forms. If it's too dry add a little more buttermilk.
4. Dust some flour onto your work top and tip the dough on it. Gently pat it into a disk and cut into 6 equal pieces.
5. Form each piece into a roll and cut a deep cross on top. Place the rolls on a tray lined with baking paper. Brush the rolls with the melted butter and sprinkle with the seeds.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until nicely coloured and hollow sounding. If it's not ready after 30 minutes, turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Best eaten on same day as baking.