How’s everyone’s New Year’s Intentions going?
I don’t know about everyone else but at a little over a week in and I’m beginning to flag and resent them. My new-year-new-you enthusiasm waned over the weekend and everything has begun to feel like a chore.
I miss allowing myself to eat whatever and however much I want whenever I want (is it just me or have pizzas started to appear EVERYWHERE????). Unfortunately I seem to lack the ability to stop myself from completely over indulging every time I am in the vicinity of something I like, and have a near constant craving for foods that should be ‘enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet’.
I wish I could say that I have been more graceful through this (barely started) period between starting to take better care of my body and the satisfaction of the beginning to see the results, but in lieu of the Dominos I want so badly I am indulging in my bad mood.
In a preemptive attempt to keep me faithful to my healthy eating plan I spent the weekend preparing enough soup to see me through packed lunches for the rest of the month (working within 2 minutes of paninis and chips involves this sort of foreplanning). The recipes for which I will be sharing here over the next month.
Until I left home soup was not something I would consider making myself, soup was pretty much limited to dried packets and hidden tins at the back of the cupboard. It wasn’t until I got a glut of vegetables that were at the end of their lives that I considered homemade soup as an option.
Soup requires no special skills, your preparation doesn’t need to be neat, if you overcook the vegetables no one will know. Though fresh stock and herbs will improve your soup, using dried varieties will still help you create a result better than any can.
Cheating with soups is also allowed. It’s become a running joke in my house that I am always trying to substitute ingredients with healthier and cheaper alternatives. This soup called for a kg of cooking pumpkin, which wasn’t available at my local city supermarket so I used butternut squash instead.
The result is a rich thick soup filled punctuated with beans, squash soups can often be criticised as being bland but the mixture of spices makes this soup exciting and brought back memories of the food market in Marrakech.
Before I forget, and I may be the last to the post with this one, but did you know that you can peel a butternut squash with a regular vegetable peeler?? It’s so easy, I feel like a real idiot slicing the skin off with a knife all these years!
Morrocan Spiced Pumpkin and Butterbean Soup
from Gordon Ramsey’s Healthy Appetite
1kg cooking pumpkin (I used butternut squash), skin and seeds removed, chopped into chunks
4 tbsp olive oil
1 banana shallot (or 3 regular ones) peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
500-600ml hot chicken stock
2x400g tins of butter beans rinsed and drained
bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
bunch of coriander, chopped
4 tbsp natural or Greek yoghurt to serve
Heat half the oil in a large pan and add the pumpkin, garlic, shallots and seasoning. Stir over a high heat for 10 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and the sides have started to caramalise. Add the spices and stir for another couple of minutes.
Pour the stock over until the pumpkin is completely covered and simmer for 10 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly then puree with a blender.
Return to pan adding the butter beans and fresh herbs, reheat for 2-3 minutes until the beans are hot.
Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt