Yesterday I made my monthly appearance to the shops in the centre of town. You must know that where we live it feels like a real village community despite being only 15minutes walk from the main market square of Cambridge. Shops are local (the photo above was taken in the organic UrbanLarder) and don't belong to big chains (I am ignoring the newly opened Tesco, for me that doesn't even exist), people are friendly and recognise you so will say hello and smile. This heaven is called Romsey Town.
Well my decision to have only monthly visits to Cambridge is a clever one. But I wish I had stretched it to two months..... Christmas decorations are out already!! On 26th October. I couldn't believe it. This year they haven't even waited for Halloween ...one switches from beach barbeque sets with colourful Pimms' glasses to fake snowy peaks and made-in-China baubles. I find it slightly worrying.
I find Autumn colours so inspiring... I'm sure we could fill our shopping windows with leaves, pumpkins, and mushrooms (without turning the shop into a garden centre). As I said before, I will never ever again buy strawberries in January and my kitchen will be filled up with seasonal smells. So today I made the Autumnal soup par excellence.
Autumnal soup with Ricotta
100g butternut squash (or pumpkin);
1l vegetable stock;
1tsp chopped thyme and rosemary (each);
1 tsp soy sauce
1. Make the soup. Peel all the vegetables and chop them small so that they cook quickly.
2. Chop the onion very finely. In a pan (the size depends on the amount of soup you want to make) cook the chopped onion in a couple of spoons of oil until golden. Add the herbs and toss well. Add a tsp of salt.
3. Make the stock and pour it onto the cooked onion. Let it babble for a minute. Add the vegetables and close the pan with the lid.
4. When the vegetables are cooked, blitz to make it smooth (to the horror of my husband who calls this a "baby-meal").
5. In a separate pan, warm a table spoon of oil and when it's hot (you can tell when the oil starts babbling - I wouldn't suggest to stick your finger in it!), drop the kale all at once so that it sizzles quickly. I love this sound! Let it crinkle for a minute, add a splash of soy sauce. Remember that soy sauce is quite salty so you won't need to add extra salt to the kale.
6. Spoon some of the soup into a bowl and add the ricotta and incorporate it with a spoon. I also added a few leaves of basil as I still have some persevering plants on my window sill.
7. Add the sizzle kale on top of the soup.
As always, I'm too greedy and never remember to take a photo before I start tucking into my dish! So you might notice bits of soup already on the sides of the bowl....I think I also exaggerated with the kale on top of the soup....
The weather is still good enough to enjoy lunch in the garden. The leaves on our patio are still hanging on there but I feel not for long. The colours are great though. There are even some enduring flowers which kept me company while I was devouring my soup...