Well, hello Winter!


1Well, hello Winter! You just snuck in there, and now, there’s a sparky coldness to the air; the days, when dry, are clear, and the rain is heavier and with that icy bite to it.

We have been gathering up piles of leaves (endless wheelbarrows: beautiful leaf compost next year) We spend as much time outside when it is dry, wandering around the fields and garden, baby tucked in the sling, finding puddles to have a splash, cows, hens and lone duck to watch; then try to cajole a small golden haired boy back inside when the sky darkens and heavy drops begin to descend.
2When baby sleeps, I try to do some work: at the minute I am working on art dolls- making it up as I go along, it’s excruciating and exciting at the same time, and I never, ever have enough time to do as much as I hope. But I inch forward…
3Now that winter has announced itself with darker evenings and the smell of Christmas, I start thinking of simple tea brack, mincepies and this delicious roasted butternut squash and sweet potato soup. I start at the beginning of the week; for example, on Sunday, I put dinner on (pork chops baked with apple, onion and garlic and herby baby spuds if you need to know) I also threw into the oven, a butternut squash and a large sweet potato. I have been trying to make soup at the start of the week for my lunches for the following few days, as I’ve been valiantly trying (trying! And trying! And failing miserably, I might add) to lean towards a grain free diet (à la Paleo) I make a vat of soup, and because my kiddies are in pasta-bake or potato-bake at lunch mode at the minute, I get to eat it all (oh-ho! I timed that well) …(Apart from the odd bowl here and there when Fergal comes home from work and dinner is, invariably, delayed. Again) This soup is so warming and comfy. And so easy.

nov4(Roasted squash and sweet potato are not blessed in the beauty department…)

Roasted sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

Bake the Squash and Sweet Potato as above, Once the sweet potato and squash are cool, I scoop out the flesh, discarding the squash seeds (the skin is leathery and falls away)

In a large saucepan, melt approx 100gms of butter, and sweat 2 large onions for a few minutes, not letting them colour. Into this, I put three sticks of chopped celery, one small, chopped clove of garlic, some chilli powder (I use a quarter of a teaspoon, I simply want a bit of a “kick”) and the flesh of the squash and sweet potato. Cover with a butter paper and simmer gently for approximately ten minutes, then add one and a half litres of stock (vegetable or chicken)

Stir and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Blitz with a blender and enjoy!