Happy Friday readers! Whoop whoop!
This morning we have a guest post from the very lovely Gemma who deserves an intro all of her own for 2 reasons. Not only am I delighted to have snaffled her to write the occasional blog post when she finds the time, because she is absolutely hilarious, but she has actually been doing rather more than that. Gemma has the super important role of editing Florence Finds. My spelling/grammar/typing is notoriously bad and I didn’t want that putting you off all the lovely finds we have to share with you, so each and every post has been edited by Gemma behind the scenes. I hope you’ll all join me in saying a big Florence Finds thank you. Gemma has also been my personal cheerleader of late for which I’m ridiculously grateful. A big heartfelt thank you from me too Gemma!
So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the fabulous lady herself!
Hi everyone, Gemma here. I’m a friend of Florence. In fact, you could call me the founder of the Florence Fan Club because I have been lucky enough to see some bits of this lovely blog behind the scenes while Rebecca’s put it together, which has been like being invited to a premiere screening of an incredibly cool movie. I’ve unashamedly loved it but also been a tad worried about what shoes I should wear. Anyway, I’m going off the point. In true we-heart-it-when-it-begins-with-an-F style, today is the best day of the week. Make sure you nip back for your fashion fix later on, because today is Friday! Friday is for Frock O’clock and Friday is for (fantastic) Food. Which is where I come in.
Another reason (as if I needed one!) that I am a wee bit envious of Mrs Norris is that she has an allotment. The woman has an Important Grownup Job, (capital letters entirely intentional) runs this brilliant blog in all its many-faceted stylish glory in her spare time, and grows her own food. I can’t even keep a tub of coriander from Sainsburys alive long enough to last the journey from the checkout to my flat.
Said allotment is thriving apparently and has produced some butternut squash just perfect for lovely Autumny things.
Here’s the first one:
This recipe for butternut squash soup was originally my grandmother’s, but I’ve added more vegetables to it over the years because, well, I’m lazy. I like to boast that this soup is your 5 a day, but my husband pointed out that the 5 a day concept is to have 5 servings of fruit and veg, not 5 different types of fruit and veg in one serving of soup. Whatevs.
1 smallish cluster of garlic
2 butternut squash (or more if you have a fancy allotment and want to use them up)
1 head of cauliflower
3 or 4 tomatoes (I normally skin these before I put them in the soup and if that’s too much of a faff for you, a tin of peeled tomatoes with no added salt or sugar is just as good)
3 or 4 carrots, peeled
2- 3 litres of stock (once, and I mean once, I was organised enough to use chicken stock I’d made myself but normally I use vegetable bouillon powder so that it’s vegetarian friendly, or chicken stock cubes, and ham flavoured ones work well in this soup too)
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 teaspoons of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of curry powder (that’s grandma-style, bright yellow curry powder)
A pinch of chilli and/or garam masala powder if you like them/have them kicking around
1 cup of apple juice
A dash of olive oil
How to do it:
Cut the squashes lengthways, brush with olive oil, and put them in the oven at about 180 degrees for 2 hours or so. I’ve left them for 3 and a half on a slightly lower heat too, and if you want to be environmentally friendly and you’re baking cakes or a roast and have an oven rack free, you can always do your squash the day before. Pour a cup of boiling water over the garlic to soften it and stop it from burning and then pop it onto the tray with the squash.
Once the squash has baked it will be incredibly soft – just scoop out the seeds etc and then the flesh will be almost a puree.
In a big soup pot brown the chopped onion with some olive oil and then roughly chop the carrots and cauliflower and toss them in with the onion, coriander, cumin and mustard powder before adding the tomatoes and apple juice and about a litre of stock and simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat.
After simmering, add the squash and garlic (which should also be pleasingly squashy and not too pungent) and you’ll be able to see how thick your soup will be – add more stock to get it to the consistency you like, and then blend in a blender or with a hand held ‘stab mixer.’
Serve with a little bit of coriander on top, and if you’re feeling naughty, a swirl of sour cream and/or some crispy bacon. (ie, put a couple of bacon rashers under the grill until they’re brown and crumbly)
Give it a try and see what you think!
Please do leave Gemma a comment below if you’ll be trying this one at home this weekend and if you’re feeling particularly technical, tweet us a picture of your creations! @FlorenceFinds and @prettiesthobo