It’s time for soup. I’ve been in denial for a while but several chilly cycles through the drizzle then this morning’s trudge with pram through the pouring rain have convinced me. This week it’s with butternut, very seasonal and very appropriate given the pumpkin  frenzy that is Halloween weekend. I roasted it with leeks and a little thyme then brought it to the boil in veg stock with some softened garlic. Easypeasy. It’s absolutely great like that – perfect for warming your bones on a miserable day like today. But as usual my greed prevailed,  so I tossed a little chopped chorizo on the pan and threw it on top with a little dollop of creme fraiche- even nicer!

Roasted butternut and leek soup topped with crispy chorizo and creme fraiche – this makes 4 decent sized bowls

You’ll need:

800gr peeled butternut cut into large chunks

2-3 leeks

A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of the dry kind

4 cloves garlic

Olive oil

1 litre stock – I used Marigold but you could use chicken

A large thumb size piece of chorizo

A little creme fraiche – greek yogurt or sour cream will do just as well

Prepare the leeks for roasting by trimming the green parts,  then washing what’s left and slice it into rounds about 2 cm thick. Toss in a roasting tin with the butternut and thyme in a little olive oil. Stick in the oven and roast in a medium oven Gas mark 5 or 6 /180 degrees for about 40 minutes. Toss everything about half way through to ensure an even roasting. Then heat a little olive oil in your soup pot and saute the garlic until nice and soft and add the roasted veg. Add a generous pinch of salt and keep cooking for a  minute or two while you heat the stock. When done add to the veg mix then bring everything to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and blend until nice and smooth. Add plenty of black pepper, stir well then taste to check the seasoning. If you’re happy the soup is made.

To finish, finely slice the chorizo into rounds then cut these rounds in half. Heat a drop of olive oil on a small pan then add the chorizo. Fry until just about crispy then take off the heat immediately. The oil stays hot for a while and continues to cook the chorizo so be quick. Put the soup into bowls then top each one with some chorizo and a little dollop of creme fraiche.

As well as tasting great, this  week’s bunch of thyme has lots of medicinal properties that help when you’re feeling coldy as everyone seems to be at the moment. We use it to make tea with lots of lemon and honey and it always seems to hit the spot.

Thyme tea with lemon and honey

Bring 4-5 sprigs of thyme to the boil in about 350 ml water (about enough for a large cup and then a little more for a top up) then simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain into a cup then add the juice of half a lemon and a large teaspoon honey. Feel better already!!