"Aaaatchoo!". "Cough". "Splutter".
Illness is ravaging throughout our house and at the first signs of any of these noises, we wrap ourselves up in a blanket of paranoia. The perils of running your own separate businesses means that sick days are an absolute no. The days of picking up the phone and in exaggerated tones telling your boss how seriously ill you are have long gone.
The kitchen is seeing a bit of action concocting recipes that will speed up our recovery. My man flu ravaged body can just about chop and slice a few vegetables, and my ladies can just about hold a spoon up to their mouths. It is all a bit pathetic really.
I've had a huge butternut squash sitting on the kitchen bench looking like a patient baby this past week. It was donated to me from a school I taught at, left over’s from a 'Spot the Vegetable' competition. I thought that the whole thing deserved to go into a simple soup with a bulb of that vampire and cold busting vegetable, garlic. Roasted until golden with fennel seeds and chilli, it formed the perfect tonic for our aching bodies. Sweet, deep and hot, and with a few crunchy roasted pistachios sprinkled on top, well, crunchy.
I'm donating this soup to Holler and Lisa's No Croutons Required challenge, as this month they have asked for a spicy soup that will tingle on the tongue. This one certainly does. And it also demolishes colds and flu’s. Yes, even man flu...
Roast Squash, Garlic and Pistachio Nut Soup
1 whole squash, cut into segments and seeded
1 whole bulb of garlic, separated
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp chilli flakes
4 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
A handful of pistachio nuts, shelled
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C, GM6.
2 - Slice the squash lengthways into 8 pieces. Place into a baking tray.
3 - Put the garlic cloves into the baking tray. Sprinkle in the fennel seeds and chilli and then the oil. Give it a good mix then place on a high shelf. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and fragrant.
4 - Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool a little. Scrape the flesh from the skin into a pan and squeeze out the garlic from the cloves.
5 - Blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add a little soya sauce to taste.
6 - In a dry pan, roast the pistachios until fragrant and coloured. Roughly chop.
7 - Serve the soup in bowls with a sprinkling of pistachios, a little more chilli flakes and some of the roasting oil from the baking tray.