For some reason, I lacked inspiration this week. Truly, I was a deer caught in the blinding glare of iced cookies shaped in silhouettes of Santa, his reindeer, trees, and angels. Of holiday gingerbread houses, and a perfect trifle on the cover of Saveur (beautiful if I do say so). What to do? How could I possibly say anything when it seems everything had already been said? An even grimmer prospect: My house is a complete building site. Whatever dream I had of being creative was shot to hell without a kitchen work top to rock and roll on. And so it’s Christmas. TV dinner anyone?
I pressed on, hoping for inspiration. Christmas food is yum. I get it folks, I get it. It’s just that I want to eat something that won’t make me riddled with guilt the next day. Is it against the law to hanker for something that feels bad, but is good for you? Then it came to me in the middle of the night. I have heard of nighttime creativity, but honestly, deep love for my pillow has been too intoxicating a contender. At some point in the wee hours, my mind became transfixed on a tasty soup that warms the soul.
Apart from cutting the squash crouched like Grizzly Adams in the yard (remember, I have no kitchen, but you do) it seemed as easy as, erm, soup. Roasted Kobocha Squash Soup is a winter warmer, so silky, so rich, and the gentle twist spices gets me going in every spoonful. Ring a ding ding. I say, hoofs off Rudolph. It’s perfect as a starter or as a main, with toasted multigrain bread. Either way, your taste buds will be delighted. It’s good for you, so there won’t be any cursing out loud when you hit the scales, or even worse, impulse gym memberships in January.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel
1 large kabocha squash, seeds removed and cut into chunks for roasting
1/2 medium size red onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons of olive oil
extra olive oil for roasting the squash
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1, Preheat the oven to 350. Oil the squash and lay onto a roasting tin. Roast for 30 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2. With a mortar and pestle, grind the coriander, cumin, and fennel to a crumbly powder. Set aside.
3. Using a pan, sauté the onion and ginger on medium heat for a minute, adding the garlic and cooking for another minute. Mix in the cumin, coriander, and fennel. Lower the heat, stir, and cover to let the spices season the onion, garlic, and ginger mixture.
4. Pour the vegetable stock into the spice mix, stir, and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
5. When the squash is cooled, trim off the outer green skin. Cut the squash into small blendable pieces.
6. Using a blender, add chunks of squash and enough stock to mix, then whizz until smooth. Repeat until all of the squash and stock are combined. The soup’s texture should be thick and creamy. Add dashes of filtered water and stir if you prefer a thinner consistency. Salt and pepper to season and serve.