- 1 small squash (I used delicata)
- 3 carrots
- 3 apples (I used Braeburn)
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp curry powder
- chilli flakes (Aleppo pepper if available)
- 1.5 tbsp cream cheese (optional)
- 1L stock
- olive oil
For me, a lot of home cooking revolves around odd bits and leftovers, and nothing makes better use of odd bits of veg than a vegetable soup. Truthfully I added apples to this soup because I had some lying around, but they should rightly be a more popular soup ingredient. They’re starchy, kinda like the potato of fruit, and add sweetness. Roasting the veg and apples with chilli flakes makes them a little spicy and caramelises their natural sugars. Another layer of sweetness is added by slowly sauteing the onion. Together with the curry powder it lends the soup a katsu curryesque quality.
The cream cheese is totally optional, I only added some because I had it in the fridge and I like to use things up. Dairy lasts only a short time after you open the package and it’s a shame to not finish a tub and have to throw it away. If you haven’t got any cream cheese to hand, I’ve made variations of this soup before without adding anything ‘creamy’, but coconut cream or milk, yoghurt or cream are good substitutes. If I’m adding something dairy, like yoghurt, I like to take the pot off the heat to reduce the possibility of curdling, then stir or blend it in.
The 1 litre of stock means it’s not a very thick soup but it feeds two people as a main meal very well. To make it more substantial for dinner I baked Mary Berry’s cheese scones as well. The recipe in Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book suggests baking it as a round and serving wedges, but I cut out individual scones like in this blog. I got 12 scones out of the recipe. You haven’t got to do this and the soup goes very nicely with any bread you might have or on its own (you could include a potato or use a larger squash, or even add some rice to give it a bit more heft), but I felt the cheese scones pulled it all together.
I’m quite a fan of the book, it doesn’t just have recipes for cakes, but also scones (different types!), shortbread, biscuits, no-bake bars, etc. What appeals to me most is it has recipes for very specifically regional baked goods from around the UK, more common things like like bath buns and bara brith (which I’ve eaten exactly once when someone brought one to work for tea), and ones I’ve never heard of but will bake soon, like the singin’ hinny from Northumberland and the English madeleine, which I never knew existed, the French madeleine being the only kind I’ve ever known (I remember at some point in my teenage-hood, my mother went a bit mad for madeleines - the French type of course - and we constantly had them around the house for months). Mary Berry is, really, a little like a Claudia Roden of British baking.
Turn the oven on and heat to 175 deg C.
First prepare the veg and apples for roasting. Halve the squash and cut off a small bit off the ends so they can sit on the baking tray. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Peel and roughly chop the carrots. You don't have to peel the apples, but core and quarter them.
Drizzle olive oil over the apples and veg, grind some salt and pepper and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Mix with your hands.
Stick in the oven and roast for about an hour. Leave it to cool while you get on with the next bit.
Peel and slice the onion, peel and crush the garlic cloves.
Saute the onion on a low to medium heat in a pot, You want it to brown and caramelise a little. This will take maybe 10 minutes, but that's okay because your squash needs to be cool enough to handle.
Add your garlic cloves and saute for a few minutes until they soften.
Scoop your roasted squash flesh into the pot, add the apples, carrots and curry powder. Mix briefly.
Add in the stock (I made mine up with Marigold stock granules) and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Technically everything in the soup is already cooked and edible, the simmering is merely to meld the flavours together. Turn off the heat. Go ahead and ladle the veg and liquid into your blender for blitzing (cool a little if necessary, or use a stick blender if you have one). I added 1.5 tbsp Philadelphia garlic & herbs cream cheese to add a creamier texture, and because I had it left over from the bagel brunch.
Return the blitzed liquid to the pot. Your soup is ready.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle some chilli flakes on top if you like.