The last couple of weeks have been a bit crap, and therefore my meals have largely involved toast in various combinations- poached eggs on toast, beans on toast, cheese on toast, toast with honey... you get the idea.
I did decide, though, that in an attempt to rectify the nutritional imbalance of meals consisting mostly of carbohydrates with protein, I'd shove in a few of my five-a-day on the side.
Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a lunch.
1kg (roughly one large) butternut squash
2 medium red chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
1 large leek, chopped into rings
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 litre chicken (or veg) stock
50g butter or margerine
100ml single cream (optional, but strongly recommended)
1 level teaspoon smoked paprika
cayenne pepper to taste
Peel your squash, using a potato peeler or super-sharp knife. Take out the stringy middle bit, the seeds, as well as any green veins down the outside, and chop into chunks.
Meanwhile, fry your leek, garlic and chillis off in the butter until the leeks soften. Make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan - if they start to, then chuck in a tbsp of stock to loosen it up.
Add in the butternut squash, cover with the stock, and simmer for 20 minutes until softened and slightly mushy.
Allow to cool slightly, add the paprika, and blend until smooth. Add more liquid if necessary, and cayenne pepper to taste if necessary. Remember that if you're adding cream, it'll dilute the chilli heat slightly.
Place the soup back onto the heat, and bring up to a gentle simmer. Take off the heat, add the cream, and stir through.
Serve immediately in warmed bowls, spooning a pretentious drizzle of cream on top for aesthetic value. Ideal with toast.