I remember the first time I made soup. I was nineteen, hungover to hell and working in a hectic bar/restaurant in town. It was just still the nineties and food was just becoming trendy hence the opening of the place where I was working. Situated right by the red brick university (not the ex polytechnic that I'd just dropped out of) it was the first place that I knew of that aimed the menu at students that wasn't your basic burger and chips. We served grilled goats cheese and roast vegetable crostini and we rubbed the tomato on our fry ups with herbs. I liked working there. They had really comfortable couches where I would sometimes try and sleep hangovers off in between orders. Anyway, I digress.
So, yes, despite having cooked and learning to cook lots of new things at the age of nineteen I still hadn't made a soup until the head chef rang in sick one day and left me to it. I had never been interested in soup much. It brought back memories of tinned Heinz 'Big Soup', which was sometimes a quick last minute tea in our house as a child. I remember asking one of the bar staff if they'd ever made soup and they suggested I ring my mum. Now, my mum is an amazing lady, she has given me many gifts; gifts of love, patience, respect, good table manners, understanding to name but a few but soup making wouldn't be on her list of achievements. Soup came in a tin. And that was that. So we rang one of the bar staff's mum who gave me a quick recipe for Leek and potato soup. And that was that. A soup maker was born.
I still have mixed feelings about soup. I don't like broth. I don't like stock type soups. A good soup is thick and full of flavour. It can be chunky as long as it is part blended. With these things in mind I give you my recipe for Butternut Squash, rosemary and bacon soup. The soup I would make to make me feel better if I had the energy to go and make it.
A big knob of butter
1 Butternut squash
A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 large potatoes
2 vegetable stock cubes
4 rashers of bacon
1) Roughly chop the onion and put in a large pan with the knob of butter on a medium heat.
2) Peel and roughly dice the potatoes, deseed and dice the butternut squash and add to the onions with the chopped rosemary. Saute together for a couple of minutes to get the flavour out of the rosemary.
3) Make up the stock and pour over the vegetables. I generally don't measure the stock, just pour until it covers the veg plus 2cm. You can always thin it down later if it is too thick.
4) Simmer for about 15 minutes until the veg is soft and then blend with a hand blender.
5)Chop up the bacon and fry until crispy and sprinkle over the soup.
And now my stomach is rumbling. But I still don't have the energy to make anything so I'll lie in bed and watch The Spirit of the Beehive on DVD instead. Enjoy! xx