Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

As soon as Winter hits, there is one thing I crave. Soup. It’s warming, almost insulating properties feel like a hug on the inside. Whether it be a smooth, blitzed soup or a chunky textured version, it is my food of choice, seeing me through the short, wind blown days of our coldest season. Today I share with you my Warming Winter Vegetable Soup.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

While, if needed to ease sore throats, this soup can be blitzed, the soft, gently cooked vegetables are easily swallowed. Although I prefer to use fresh vegetables, using frozen vegetables is a good way to bulk out this dish. Especially adding any that will work with the slightly sweet, spicy flavour.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Seasonal Winter Vegetable Flavours

Winter root vegetables have a natural sweetness, more so after the first frosts. While deep green, leafy brassica’s, rich in iron, provide a more meaty, sometimes slightly bitter taste. And in this Warming Winter Vegetable soup, the flavours come together and perfectly compliment each other. Finishing with the warmth from the chili.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Since this soup is a comforting and warming, adding freshly sliced mild red chili and spring onions to the top provides a burst of freshness. Almost a zesty burst hits the tongue when warming and cold hits. Not only does the addition of fresh parsley look good, it also provides extra Vitamin C!

Recipe: Winter Warming Vegetable Soup serves 6-8

1tbsp Olive Oil

1 Large Onion

3 Celery Sticks washed and trimmed

1/2tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 Leeks trimmed and washed

1 Large Potato

2-3 Large Carrots

100g/4oz Green Beans trimmed (frozen is fine)

1/2 Savoy Cabbage – Kale, sprout tops, other cabbage (except red or white) can be used

Small Swede/Turnip

2tbsp Pearl Barley

4tbsp Lentils – I used orange

2 Garlic Cloves

1tbsp Tomato Puree

Fresh Thyme – approx 1tsp chopped

Vegetable Stock Cube – I use Knorr

Pinch Chili Flakes – depending on preference

1tsp Black Pepper – to taste

Cold Water

Fresh Mild Red Chili and Spring Onions finely sliced to top

Fresh Parsley

Preparing The Vegetables And Cooking The Soup

A large, heavy bottomed pan is needed for this recipe.

  • First of all, place the pan on the hob and add the oil.
  • All of the vegetables in this recipe should be cut into small dice, starting with the onions and leeks.
  • Turn the heat to medium, allow the oil to warm, add the chopped leeks and onion. Also add 1/4tsp salt, sauté until softened but not browned.
  • Next add the carrots and celery, again cook until softened.
  • Now add the garlic and fresh thyme. Pour over enough water to cover the vegetables.
  • Cut the cabbage into thin strips and chop the beans into thirds, then add these to the pan. Also prepare both the potato and swede and add to the soup.
  • Finally add the lentils and pearl barley, top the pan up with water so the vegetables are just covered. Crumble in a stock cube and add a good grinding of black pepper. And also add chili flakes to your preference.
  • Bring the soup up to a simmer, place a lid on the pan.
  • Simmer until the root vegetables are tender – approximately 30 minutes.
FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup topped with fresh chilli, parsley and spring onion.

Serve in warmed bowls with freshly sliced mild chili’s, spring onion and sprigs of parsley. Also serve thick slices of warm, crusty bread such as Seeded Cob Loaf to create a hearty meal.

To store, cool the soup completely. Spoon into sealable containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternatively, place in the freezer and eat within one month.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Warming Winter Vegetable Soup you may also like these:

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

Carrot Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Carrot Soup

Since this soup is so easily made, making a big pot of it and then stashing it in the freezer gives me real satisfaction. Knowing that a warm, tasty meal is only moments away relaxes me. And, as there is always fresh, homemade bread in the kitchen, I can ensure a hearty meal for all.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Finally Spring is upon us and with it some gloriously sunny days. However, being British and therefore brought up to talk about the weather, there have also been a few blustery downpours. Also, the sun, in April, not yet having had its chance to warm up our part of the planet, means there’s quite a chill in the air, when it’s hidden by clouds. Enter my Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup, perfect for warming you through, whether you’re chilly, or soaked through from a sudden downpour – April showers and all that!

FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup deliciously satisfying.

Quite honestly, this soup is so utterly delicious, it’s flavours intensified by roasting the butternut squash first, I am happy to make it all year round. Or at least when butternut squash is in season.

Living In The Real World

I am really working on trying to eat seasonally. While we did belong to a veg box scheme, Yet with my health and body dictating what I am able to do during the day, too much was being wasted. On that subject I am, at present, propped up in bed, with my neck in spasm, due to a few violent seizures (see Living With Seizures).

Please don’t think I am writing this for you to feel sorry for me, nothing could be further from the truth. I just believe in honesty. In our Instagram shiny perfect world, it can lead to people feeling inadequate or broken. Whereas real life can be messy as well as beautiful. Health problems, relationship difficulties, family problems, financial issues. There’s a whole host of stuff that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ – I am generalising. While hubby and I are happy, we still have to deal with a lot, together. And I’m sure we are not alone.

FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup incredibly tasty and filling.

Comforting Food

A good meal like this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup can feel like a warm hug, against the harsh realities, life sometimes throws at us. I can’t even remember exactly when I made this soup – about 2 weeks ago I think! Yet I haven’t had the opportunity to write it up until today.

Also this the most amazingly easy soup to make and the flavour is out of this world good. Besides, who knew butternut squash could have so much more flavour, just by roasting it? Oh and the garlic, which is left unpeeled whilst it roasts, turns into sweet little cloves of utter heaven. Roasted garlic is about as far away from the heat and pungency of raw garlic, as it is possible to be. Yet together these two ingredients make this utterly scrumptious Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup serves 4-6 people

1 Butternut Squash

2 Garlic Cloves

1 Onion

2tbsp Olive Oil

1 Vegetable or Chicken Stock Cube

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional – Parsely and Double Cream to serve

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.

Preparing And Roasting The Ingredients

  • First of all, using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the butternut squash.
  • Cut the squash in half and then cut the bottom half in half again so that the seeds can be scooped out.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash is such a beautiful colour.
  • Cut the butternut squash into 2.5cm/1″ chunks
  • Place the chunks of butternut squash onto a baking tray along with the 2 garlic cloves.
  • Pour over 1tbsp of olive oil and using clean hands toss the chunks so that they have a covering of oil.
  • Add a small sprinkle of sea salt (1/2tsp) and a good grinding of black pepper.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
The butternut squash chunks almost fill they baking tray.
  • Place the baking tray into the oven and allow to roast for 25 minutes.
  • While the squash and garlic are roasting, peel and finely chop the onion.
  • In a large saucepan add the other tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onion.
  • Sauté over a medium heat until the onion is softened and translucent. Leave to one side.
  • The butternut squash is roasted once it has become tender.
  • As soon as it is cooked remove the baking tray from the oven.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
After roasting you can see how much the butternut squash has shrunk.

Making The Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

  • The butternut squash has reduced inside and that means – concentrated flavour!
  • Place the saucepan containing the sautéed onion back over a medium heat.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skin and add to the saucepan.
  • Add the roasted butternut squash to the pan,
  • Cover with 1.5 litres of hot water from the kettle.
  • Crumble in the stock cube.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and blend using an immersion blender.
  • Alternatively allow the soup to cool a little and blend, in batches, using a blender.
  • Once blended add the soup back to the saucepan.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Also, if the soup is too thick add a little extra hot water until the desired consistency is reached.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup just add crusty bread!

I like to serve this soup with a little swirl of cream and some fresh parsley to garnish. Adding a nice thick slice of my Crunchy Seeded Bread would turn this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup into a substantial meal. I love dunking bread into soup, do you?

Make Ahead And Freeze!

To store, cool the soup completely and portion into airtight containers or zip lock freezer bags. It will keep in the fridge for 4 days or the freezer for up to one month. In fact next time I make this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup I am going to double up on the quantities. It only takes a little longer to peel and chop an extra squash and onion. While the oven is on, it makes sense to pop in two baking trays. And that way I will have lunch or a quick dinner, bolstered with some bread and cheese, for the days when I simply am not up to cooking.

If you have enjoyed this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup here are some other delicious soup recipes:

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

FF Roast Chicken Noodle Soup
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup great for using up leftovers.

Leek and Potato Soup

FF Leek and Potato Soup
Leek and Potato Soup velvety comfort.

Carrot Soup

FF Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup served with crumbled Stliton cheese.

Do you sometimes need a warm hug?

And what is your go to comforting food?

Thank you for taking time to leave a comment. Especially as I really enjoy reading them and hearing about your baking and cooking adventures. Likewise it’s been fantastic to see so many of you posting your makes and bakes on Twitter and Instagram. Finally, if you tag me in I’ll be sure to retweet and give you a shoutout.

So, wherever  you are and whatever you are making I wish you all the very best and hope that you know you are loved and treasured – see Important Stuff.

Sammie xx

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup has been entered into the No Croutons Required Link Up hosted by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes.

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Oat Bran White Bread

For those of you who regularly read this blog, you may have noticed a few things about the way I cook and bake. Primarily I make food that is tasty to eat using ‘natural’ ingredients. For example, I unashamedly use butter when baking and cooking and tend to avoid overly processed foods. While I have a passion for baking bread, with nuttier and seeded loaves being my preferred loaves, yet I live in the real world. In a family of five people, three prefer white bread. So here is my compromise. Oat Bran White Bread is a soft loaf without the heaviness or chewing required by its wholemeal cousin.

FF Oat Bran White Bread

Since this bread is so soft it is perfect for sandwiches and also makes the most incredible toast. In fact, this loaf makes the best toast, in my opinion, of all the bread recipes here on Feasting is Fun. Packed full of fibre from the whole oats and oat bran, it is good for you as well as being a tasty, filling bread. Yet also having the lightness of a white loaf.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread Loaf

Choosing To Eat Well

While I am not into faddy food, having food allergies myself means I am attempting to increase the variety recipes on this site. For example gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian. I try to use fresh local and seasonal food as much as possible in my everyday cooking and that is reflected in the recipes posted here. I am not perfect and we have standby dinners in the freezer for days when I can’t cook.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

All that said, I do try to make as much of our own bread as possible. If I didn’t have a bread machine or stand mixer I simply would be unable to make bread from scratch. Kitchen machinery that earns its place will always be welcomed by me. Far better to make good quality, homemade bread with the help of a mixer, than buy its mass produced counterpart. Bread is a staple and a great tasting, fresh loaf will always be at the heart of any kitchen that I use.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

A quick note about this Oat Bran White Bread: I have recently updated the recipe, replacing the butter for Rapeseed oil. First of all it gives the baked loaf a softer texture and also makes the recipe both dairy free and vegan. I am NOT jumping on the ‘vegan’ bandwagon, however, creating a loaf that more people can make and enjoy will always be a priority for me, providing there is no compromise on flavour.

Recipe:  Oat Bran White Bread

420ml Water at room temperature

450g/1lb Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

100g/4oz Fine Oat Bran available from health food shops and Amazon

50g/2oz Rolled Oats

7g /1sachet Active Dried Yeast – I use the green tub/sachets from Allinson

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 tbsp Rapeseed Oil (Canola Oil)

 

Method :

Making And Proving The Bread Dough

Using a bread maker or stand mixer, pour the water into the  bowl and then add the yeast.

Next add the flour, oat bran and oats.

On top of the dry ingredients add the salt and oil.

Set the bread machine to dough cycle and start.

If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and mix until all the ingredients come together. Continue to mix for 10 minutes. Stop mixing and remove the dough hook. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth until the dough has doubled in size, approx 1 hour.

Knocking Back And Shaping The Dough Ready For The Second Prove

Once doubled in size, remove the cloth and tip the dough out on to a lightly floured worktop so that the top of the risen dough is in on the bottom, in contact with the work surface.

Once the bread mixer has finished the dough cycle, start it again, allowing it to mix (knock back) the dough for one minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Working around the dough, take hold of the dough with your hand, pull out and then press into the centre. Continue, as in the photographs below, until you have a tight, neat lump of dough.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Creating structure within the dough.

Gently, using your fingers, press the dough out to form a square shape.

Fold the bottom third of the dough up and then the top third of the dough is folded down, slighlty overlapping the seam.

Turn the dough over and place into a well greased loaf pan.

Spray or brush with water and sprinkle over rolled oats and oat bran.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Shaping the dough ready for the tin.

Cover with a clean tea towel, place in a straight free place and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Scoring And Baking The Oat Bran White Bread

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7.

As soon as the dough has risen score across the dough with a very sharp knife or grignette 4-5 times.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Proved and slashed Oat Bran White Bread ready for the oven.

Place the bread in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. The bread is baked when golden brown and carefully rapped with a knuckle and it sounds hollow.

As soon as the loaf is baked remove from the oven and turn out immediately on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Oat Bran White Bread

Allow the bread to cool fully before slicing.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Oat Bran White Bread you may also like these:

Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

FF Oat Bran White Loaf
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Oat Bran White Bread
Seeded Cob Loaf

This Oat Bran White Bread loaf has a wonderful texture and flavour. While it does contain oats it certainly doesn’t taste like porridge. The oat bran lends a slight nuttiness, without the full on slog you get from a wholemeal loaf. It slices beautifully and makes equally good toast and sandwiches, although I confess to enjoying a slice with just butter on it. A really good loaf should have its own flavour and not just be a package for some cheese and ham.

If you love white bread, but want to incorporate more healthy fibre in your diet – this loaf is a great place to start!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

It is no secret, to those of you who have visited here before, that I love baking bread. Whether it’s a crusty loaf for sandwiches and toast, or Knotted Poppyseed Roll the flavour and quality of homemade bread wins every time I make it. Since I do not live near an artisan bakery, I now make pretty much all of our own bread, here at home. Today I have something very special to share  my Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

 

I honestly can’t begin to tell you just how yummy this bread is. It truly is proof that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread is taking bites of bread and then experiencing your taste buds explode with all the flavours,  in your mouth.

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

This Focaccia is perfect with pasta (we had it with Lasagne, perfect for mopping up tomato and cheese sauce). I also think it would be great to take on a picnic, served with some good cheddar and a glass of something cold!

Bake Once Eat Twice

I made enough for 2 loaves, so just halve the recipe if only one Focaccia is needed – as the tomatoes won’t freeze well. Alternatively make two and leave the tomatoes off of the loaf you intend to freeze. Double wrap in cling film and the bread will last 3 months in the freezer!

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

 

We love any kind of bread with our meals, especially if it has garlic added. This hit the spot big time and Snugs, who can be a little but careful when it comes to ‘different foods’ loved this!! I guess you could even add some shards of sharp cheddar before baking? Might have to try that!!!!

Recipe : Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread makes 2

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour

1 x 7g Sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast – I use Allinson

7g Maldon Sea Salt

2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling – I use Filippo Berio 

Approx 300-350ml lukewarm water.

16-20 Cherry Tomatoes – halved (half the amount for one Focaccia)

2tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves (half the amount for one Focaccia)

4 Cloves of Garlic (half the amount for one Focaccia)

Method : Using bread maker or stand mixer with dough hook attached.

Making The Focaccia Dough

Place 300ml of water into the bowl of your mixer.

Add the yeast and then the flour.

Add 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Now add the salt.

Set the bread maker to the mix/prove cycle.

If the dough seems dry add extra water 20mls at a time until the dough has a smooth elasticity, while being mixed. If the dough is too dry either machine will be clunking!

With a stand mixer mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and elastic. Using Olive oil on your hands to stop the dough sticking, roll the dough into a tight ball, place back into the mixer bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size.

Shaping The Focaccia Dough

Using either method, once the first proof is finished, knock back, restarting the mixing on the bread machine and removing the cling and mix for a further 10 minutes.

Oil 2 x 20cmx20cm (8″ x 8″) square tins.

Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Tip the knocked back dough into one of the oiled pans.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Place half the dough into each pan.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Using your fingers spread the Focaccia dough so it covers the base of the pan evenly. Drizzle a little Olive oil over.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Add the cherry tomato halves.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.
Sprinkle the thyme and garlic over the top and give your dough a final drizzle with Olive oil.

Cover and leave to double in size.

Baking The Focaccia

While the bread is proving, preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan oven, gas mark 7, 425F.

As soon as your dough is doubled in size place in the centre of a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Breathe deeply. Mmm, that smell coming out of the oven is your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread. Enjoy, it smells amazing!

 

Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove your Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the oven when it is golden all over.
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!
Remove the Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread from the pan and cool on a rack, if not eating straight away!!

Allow the focaccia to cool so that it is just warm before serving. Cut into squares to serve.

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Tomato Garlic Focaccia Bread you may also like these:

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Sundried Tomato Olive Focaccia Bread

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Sundried Tomato Olive Focaccia Bread

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

FF Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

I almost always use a stand mixer and dough hook to knead any dough that I’m making. While I really love the feel of dough in my hands the combination of a bad back and now arthritis in my thumbs joints means it’s painful. Yet by using the mixer I can still make fresh bread for us as a family and I get to shape it by hand. Resulting in a happy me, as I can still bake bread and a happy family who really enjoy fresh, home baked bread.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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