© David Loftus
Roasted apple & squash soup
On my travels around Bristol I spent an afternoon with Leona, who runs the Boiling Wells cafe in the allotment gardens. She’s a lovely young lady and a real food activist in many ways. What’s more, she’s a great cook, and I’d rather eat food made by a great cook than a great chef any day of the week. The food she makes is clearly a reaction to the wonderful ingredients she gets from the allotments, which are a stone’s throw from her cafe. She knocked out this soup for me, which I’ve tweaked slightly. I genuinely love it.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Very carefully(!) peel and slice the squash lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1-inch chunks and put them on a large baking sheet. To see how to safely cut up butternut squash, go to www.jamieoliver.com/how-to.
Peel the apples, then quarter them and remove the core. Peel and roughly chop the onion and add the apples and onion to the baking sheet. Halve and deseed the chiles and add to the sheet with the unpeeled and bashed garlic cloves. Drizzle over a good amount of olive oil and add a good pinch of salt and pepper – I also like to add a pinch of coriander seeds and a little chopped rosemary because I think it brings out the best flavor. Toss everything together so all the veg is nicely coated, season one more time, then whack into the oven and cook for around 45 minutes, or until everything is cooked through, intensely golden and delicious.
Toss the pumpkin seeds with salt, pepper, olive oil and the cayenne. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until nice and toasted, then put aside for later.
Put some of the roasted veg into a blender, making sure you squeeze the garlic flesh out of its skin first. Add a swig of stock, then place a tea towel over the lid and gently blitz until smooth and lovely. Put this into a large pan while you blitz the rest. Pour in most of the cream and bring to a simmer over a medium to low heat. Have a taste, season to perfection and either add another splash of stock, or carry on simmering until you’ve got it to the consistency you love.
To serve, divide between warm soup bowls and add an 80s swirl of cream and a sprinkling of
toasted seeds. If you’re as creative as Leona, you can also grab some flowering herbs or edible
flowers to sprinkle over the top and make it extra beautiful. Serve with warm crusty bread.
SERVES 4 TO 6
. butternut squash (roughly 2 lbs)
. 3 good eating apples, such as Braeburn
. 1 large onion
. 1 or 2 fresh red chiles
. 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and bashed
. olive oil
. sea salt and ground pepper
. a pinch of coriander seeds
. a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
. 3 heaped tablespoons pumpkin seeds
. a pinch of cayenne pepper
. 3 ¼ cups organic vegetable or chicken stock
. ⅔ cup light cream
. optional: edible flowers or flowering herbs, to serve