Welcome to 2012! With Christmas and New Year behind us for yet another year it’s time to look ahead to the beginning of a new cycle and a new chapter. I’m a firm believer in the idea of renewal and beginning afresh. Someone once said to me that ‘it’s never too late to begin the day again’. That simple statement struck such a chord with me that I’ve kept it close ever since. It’s such a liberating thought – however bad your day or misguided your behaviour, it’s never too late to just...start again. Such simplicity. Such logic.
I love the festive time of year dearly but it can leave you feeling a little more sluggish than usual, what with the excess of food, drink and sedentary positions, there comes a point when a little bit of a clear out and kick start is just what your system needs. This soup is my absolute favourite and a delicious way of packing in nutrients, energy and flavour. I love the sweet and earthy combination of butternut squash and lentils with the warming note of honey and thyme. Make it for a gentle and filling lunch, and then give yourself a lovely simple supper – Smoked Chicken, Kale and Cranberry Salad with brown rice or Sweet and Sour Quinoa with a little Hummus spring to mind. Do that for a week and you’ll find it’s a great way to bring yourself back into balance and set yourself up for all the lovely treats that are on their way in 2012!
This recipe can also be seen at Cybele Pascal's Allergen - Free Cuisine
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, LENTIL, HONEY AND THYME SOUP
1 medium butternut squash
2½ tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
4 sticks of celery
100g red lentils
2 pints vegetable or chicken stock
A small bunch of thyme
1 heaped tsp runny honey
Preheat the oven to 200c. Peel the butternut squash and scoop out any pith and seeds with a spoon. Chop into 1 cm chunks and combine with 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil and the leaves from the thyme in a roasting pan. Season well and roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until beginning to turn golden on the edges.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and celery. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and celery until completely soft but not coloured. Add the lentils stir together and then pour over the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Once the squash is roasted, transfer to the rest of the soup, add the honey and use a hand held blender to blitz until smooth. Season to taste and serve hot.