Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Blogger: Squash Soup

For my European readers, I've got a European guest blogger today. Her name is Ella Moss and I hope it's helpful. She starts off with an admonition not to throw away food. How could I resist? For all you American's, know that a pound is about $1.72.

Food waste accounts for 13.9% of our overall waste, second only to paper (28.4%). It’s therefore imperative that we find a way to stop throwing away food. Buying local produce, such as organic vegetables, is healthier, better for the environment and better for the local economy. Buy these in small batches several times a week, rather than doing one large weekly shop so that they stay fresh and you don’t have to throw them away.
If you’re looking to overhaul your diet in order to make it more eco-friendly without spending a huge amount of cash, this guide has advice on how to do this, including where you should buy your food and how you can cut down on waste.

The following recipe utilises vegetables you can find at your local market and can feed the whole family. It’s suitable for vegetarians as well as tasty. The whole batch costs under £5 and could last at least four or five meals – more if you keep adding stock. Also, because of the high water content, it will freeze well and last even longer. Put half in a large Tupperware container and pop in the freezer to eat at a later date when your cupboards are bare instead of opting for a takeaway.

Squash Soup:
·         1 butternut squash (£1.30)
·         3 sweet potato (£1.25)
·         1 red onion (18p)
·         2 cloves garlic (30p for whole bulb)
·         1L Vegetable stock (50p for pack)
·         50g Butter (20p)
·         Sage (75p for whole pot of dried sage)
·         Double cream (optional) (85p for whole pot)

1 – Chop the onions finely and brown with the butter in a frying pan. Grate the garlic to make a pulp and add when the onions are almost cooked. This works better if you keep the heat medium to low, rather than high, as this will slowly soften them without the butter or garlic burning and adding a bitter taste to the soup. Take this off the heat and add the sage to gently cook it with the residual heat. Put this to one side.
2 – Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large, deep saucepan.
3 – Chop the squash and sweet potato into small chunks and add to the boiling stock. Boil for 20 minutes until both are soft and easy to break up with a fork.
4 – Add the onions, garlic and sage to the stock and squash and stir together.
5 – If you have a blender, this is where you can blend the mixture together to make a thick soup. Of course, this is optional. If you like chunky soup, blending isn’t mandatory. Blend to the consistency you prefer.
6 – Add salt and pepper to taste – if it needs it.
7 – Serve with a swirl of double cream or crème fraiche for a healthier option.  Why not try baking some homemade crusty bread to accompany it?

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