Winter Squash Soup

Remember I said there would be adjusting of recipes? Well, here’s a Jamie Oliver recipe I’ve reworked for my laziness, I mean, busy life!

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Regardless of the type of squash you use, to get the best quality, select ones that are blemish- and bruise-free, with an intact stem and heavy feeling for their size. You could also use kabocha (nutty, earthy) or harlequin squash (sweet) for this recipe. I usually use sweet white onions, but red onions add a nice flavour, too.


  • Olive oil or chilli oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stick celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I used garlic paste out of a tube)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked (I used dried)
  • ½ – 1 fresh red chilli, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped (depends on personal taste)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 kg butternut squash, halved, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock


Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in some olive or chilli oil. Heat gently so it’s not smoking! Put in your onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary, chilli and a good pinch of salt and pepper. If I’m using garlic paste, I put it in last, so it doesn’t burn, and mixes well with the veggies.

Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour. I stick a lid on my pot, it seems to work better this way.

When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with a hand blender or pour it into a liquidizer and pulse until you have a smooth purée (this is the only way my daughter will eat it). Most importantly, remember to taste and season it again, if needed.

I like a little sprinkle of cayenne pepper on the top, or sometimes a dollop of crème fraiche. My daughter loves a bit of grated Parmesan and croutons.


Fingerless Mitts

420293_3481504475751_75674051_nIt was bitterly cold this morning, and these seemed like the perfect antidote! These knit up very quickly to a medium sized mitten for the average lady. Really, honestly, truly – this is a good beginner’s project.

Materials needed: 50g ball yarn, 4mm needles, needle

Instructions for left mitt (click on highlighted terms for YouTube tutorials):

  1. Cast on 40 sts
  2. Work double rib (K2, P2) for the cuff – you will need to measure the person for whom you are knitting! If you are doing this for a small child, a single rib might work better.
  3. Knit the next row and continue in stocking stitch (aka stokinette stitch) for 4cm, ending at the beginning of a knit row.


  1. Knit 14sts, make 1st, K3, make 1 and K23 sts to end (42sts total)
  2. Purl 1 row
  3. Knit 14sts, make 1st, K5, make 1 and K23 sts to end (44sts total)
  4. Purl 1 row
  5. Knit 14sts, make 1st, K7, make 1 and K23 sts to end (46sts total)
  6. Purl 1 row
  7. Knit 14sts, make 1st, K9, make 1 and K23 sts to end (48sts total)
  8. Purl 1 row
  9. Knit 14sts, make 1st, K11, make 1 and K23 sts to end (50sts total)
  10. Purl 1 row
  11. Knit 14sts, make 1st, K13, make 1 and K23 sts to end (52sts total)
  12. Purl 1 row
  13. K14, cast off 16sts and knit to end (casting off tidies up the top of the thumb hole; I cheat and do this with a crochet hook!)
  14. Purl across the 36sts you have left.
  15. Continue in stocking stitch until you have the length you desire.
  16. Finish with 4 rows of K2, P2 and cast off in rib stitch.
  17. Sew the ends together from the outside (right sides facing out).

Reverse these instructions for the right mitt.