Squash Soup with Crispy Sage

Once you’ve mastered bulk buying and growing-your-own, try Melissa Hemsley’s seasonal recipes to celebrate, starting with:

There’s nothing a warming bowl of soup can’t solve to make you feel better. My Mum brought me up on lots of soups, broths & stews and even if you think you can’t cook, you’ll ace soups. Guaranteed. I’ve got a lovely big sage plant (it grows so easily) and the sage leaves go amazingly well as an added crunch on top of this seasonal soup. Also try fried sage with your eggs for breakfast.
Make it vegan by using coconut oil & if you’ve got any other root veg that needs using up (potatoes / sweet potatoes/ carrots) , chop it up & allow it to simmer away with the squash.  Unless your squash skin is really thick & tough, don’t bother peeling it, just give it a good scrub & chop it up.

Serves 4-6

1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large butternut squash, halved then deseeded & chopped into 1inch cubes
1.5 litres of stock/broth/ water
Big pinch sea salt & black pepper
Handful of fresh sage leaves (I like 3-4 per person, but you can fry up more)

Melt the oil in a large saucepan, add the onions & allow to soften for 5 minutes before adding the garlic for a further minute, stir every now and then. Add the butternut squash & stock, season with salt & pepper before letting it simmer away for 15 minutes – 20 minutes until tender. Blend in batches (adding more liquid if you need it) then pour back into the pan & taste for seasoning. In a frying pan, add a little more oil & throw in the sage leaves, allowing them to sizzle away for a minute until just crispy.  Serve soup into bowls & top with sage & leaves extra sea salt & black pepper if needed and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

… followed by Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea and Quinoa Porridge with Banana and Berries.