As I said at the beginning of the week I love autumn, and it’s not just about all the festivities, colours, and everything else I mentioned. It’s also about the food. Autumns’ fruit and vegetables provide some of the richest flavours you can ever taste. It’s after all the season when apples are at their best; pears are juicier; the season for quince (which is delicious when cooked – in tarts, marmalade or sauces) and my personal favourite, pomegranate; but also for the delicious sweet potatoes, butternut squash (which in Portugal we still call pumpkin, btw) and pumpkin! Which I love all!
The colours are in line with the season (orange, burgundy, red, and yellow), the flavours exquisite, the smell delicious, and there’s a million different things you can do with the seasonal veggies and fruit. Today I am focusing on butternut squash; as it was Halloween recently I decided to buy a butternut squash (which, let’s face it, kind of is a pumpkin) to prepare a soup (my own) and cupcakes (that I followed from a recipe – details below).
For the soup:
- Chop the butternut squash into little slices, and chop some of the hard skin away. (I put two slices aside for the cupcakes and use the rest for the soup, but you can use an entire butternut for the soup).
- Chop the slices into smaller pieces and add to a large cooking pot.
- Peel and chop four large carrots, and add with to the pot.
- Wash and chop two small courgettes and add to the pot.
- Wash and chop one leek and add to the pot.
- Peel four to five garlic cloves and add to the pot.
- Chop a small bit of ginger and add to the vegetables.
- Add enough water to cover the vegetables and season with salt, (black pepper if you want to) and paprika.
- Turn on the hob and let it simmer for 60 min.
- Turn off the hob and with a hand blender, blend all the vegetables together.
- *Suggestion: add some pine nuts when you serve, it’s a great combination.
Et voila! Healthy, rich and yummy butternut squash soup.
For the cupcakes:
To make the cupcakes I followed a recipe from the following book:
“Halloween treats, simply spooky recipes for goulish sweet treats”, by Annie Rigg published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2012.
I used the recipe on page 28 (below) “cobweb cupcakes”, but didn’t’ do the cobweb decorations; instead I used the decorations of the “mummified cupcakes” on page 35. here’s the recipe from the book:
“115g light brown (soft) sugar
125ml sunflower oil
2 medium eggs
115g grated pumpkin or butternut squash flesh
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
115g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Put the sugar in a bowl and break up with the back of a fork, then beat in the oil and eggs. Fold in the grated pumpkin and lemon zest. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the cake mixture and fold in. ” – by Annie Rigg
It takes about 20min to cook; mine turned out a bit dry, but I think it’s because by the time I did this batch the oven was too hot (from all the chocolate cupcakes I did before). Also I am terrible with decorations, so the mummies looked a bit wonky. Still, I was super proud of my work, and will definitely try to make it again (maybe for Christmas dinner!). Mmmm