Brr... it's cold out there today. Just been out to deliver the girls to school and am now enjoying the perks of working from home and have wrapped myself up in a blanket to get warm again. I believe it is down to -3°C today. Last year it went down to -13°C here in MK and stayed that way for a fortnight. In that time the pumpkins, squash and potatoes I had in storage in my shed froze and I lost the lot. But, hey, you learn from your mistakes and earlier this week I brought my stores into the garage and tucked them up in an old coat. I have chutney plans for those pumpkin and squash and don't want to lose them.
But what about a more serious loss - what about the thousands of people who die here in the UK each winter due to the cold?
This morning I came across this blog post from "Goddess On A Budget" about this very issue. And her solution: Random Soups of Kindness - to make soup and then to take a bowl to a vulnerable person. What a fabulous idea - the idea itself is heartwarming!
So today I think I shall take some of my stored pumpkin and squashes and cook up a batch of hot, thick soup. And maybe you could do that same.
Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup
1 lb (450g) pumpkin flesh
1 lb (450g) butternut squash flesh
10 fl oz vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
4 sage leaves
Salt and pepper
Peel and chop the vegetables then fry them in some olive oil for about 5 minutes in the bottom of a large saucepan. Pour in the stock, add the tomato puree and sage leaves and simmer for 30 minutes until soft. Pour into a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pan. Season to taste and bring back to the boil then either serve it hot or pour into warmed jars.
Or, from more basic ingredients - Leek & Potato
Leek & Potato Soup
1 tablespoon oil
1 lb (450g) potatoes
1¾ pints (1 litre) vegetable stock
½ pint (300ml) milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash and chop the leeks into thin rounds. Wash, peel and cube the potatoes. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and fry the leeks, stirring constantly to avoid sticking until the leeks are soft but not brown. Add the potatoes and continue to fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and the milk and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the potatoes are breaking down. Blend in a food processor until smooth and season to taste. Serve immediately or pour into warmed jars and seal immediately.