Friday, 22 August 2014

Delicious roasted vegetable soup

Do not adjust your screens. I'm about to post a savoury food recipe with VEGETABLES IN IT AND EVERYTHING.

The last few weeks in my household have mostly consisted of picnic style food, desserts and wine (well, wine on my part anyway). The recent heatwave we had in the UK might seem like a distant memory, but couple that with my week away in glorious Hunstanton and August makes has made for a very 'weighty' month...

I'm the first to declare that my diet is appalling. My Mother was a vegetable addict but me and my brother have always resisted the lure of food that didn't firmly fall into the 'meat and potatoes' category. But now I'm having a revelation in my diet.

Being a single parent means working. A LOT. And the worse food I eat, the less energy I seem to have so something has to give. I'm not great at trying new foods (unless they're sweet) so I always default back to smoothies, but I want to try something new and soups seem like a safe choice.

This past week my boys have been away for a week with their grandparents so instead of our normal weekly shop I decided to source lots of online recipes and just do a massive health food filled online order. I thought the grocery delivery person might be a tad confused when she didn't find any processed sugary snacks in my order but alas, she just congratulated me on my super healthy diet!

I've started to compile a healthy eating board on Pinterest as an inspiration guide but don't be fooled, this newly found interest in eating cleaner is not about a fad diet or me trying to shift some pounds. I'm dedicated to trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and I'm determined to be a better food role model for my boys. The sweet stuff will always be a major part of my life but the balance needs to shift and if I'm going to continue to bring you sugar laden, peanut butter filled, chocolate coated snacks then I feel it's my duty to also bring you a bit of healthy eating goodness too!

So this week I'm sharing with you my first ever homemade soup! It tasted AMAZING, it's the first time I've ever baked with a butternut squash and the first time I've ever roasted a pepper so a lot of 'firsts' for me. I'm so proud of this concoction and it made enough for 2 people plus a little leftover for my lunch the next day.
Luckily my smoothie maker will also blend soups so the consistency was perfect for me but if you don't have one then pouring your soup into any blender will suffice.

Roasted vegetable soup
  • 1 x butternut squash
  • 1 x onion (I used a large brown onion)
  • 1 x red pepper (any colour will be fine)
  • 1 x whole garlic bulb
  • 250ml chicken stock (vegetable stock will also work well)
Method
  1. Heat oven to 180c. Make your preferred stock using boiling water and set aside.
  2. Cut the squash in half and rub a little olive oil on the exposed areas. Remove seeds and place flesh side up on a roasting tray. Remove skin from garlic bulb and slice top off garlic to expose the tops of each clove slightly. Wrap in foil and place on roasting tray with squash. Place in oven for approx 40mins or until a knife inserts easily into squash. 
  3. Whilst the vegetables are roasting, chop onion and saute lightly until transparent and soft. Set aside.
  4. Place pepper under the grill and grill until blackened. Keep an eye on your pepper and turn it every 5mins or so until all sides are black. This took me about 20mins. Remove from grill and leave to cool slightly before rubbing the black skin off the pepper (it comes away easily) and de-seeding. Slice pepper into large strips and add to your onions.
  5. Remove the squash from oven and scoop the flesh of the squash into a bowl/blender/smoothie maker along with your onions and peppers. Remove garlic from foil and squeeze out the cloves into the mix.
  6. Add stock to your blender alongside the vegetables. Add seasonings to taste. Whizz for a few minutes until your soup has reached it's desired consistency. I like mine smooth so I blended for a few minutes.
  7. By this time the soup has cooled slightly so I popped it into the microwave for a minute or two before serving.
  8. Serve with your favourite bread and enjoy!
This soup was heavenly and the flavours were almost autumnal but the roasted peppers and squash added a slight sweetness to the soup that made it feel light and summery, which is exactly what we need now the days are getting cooler!

Do you have any recipes you'd like to share? I'd love to know any tips/hints you have for incorporating fruit and veg into your normal diet!

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