Butternut Squash & Smoked Bacon Soup

This is a very tasty, filling and cheap soup, which is also very easy to make. It’s perfect for a quick lunch, as it heats through again in no time at all. I picked up a large butternut squash for less than ¬£1, plus some Basics smoked bacon. Since everything gets whizzed up, there’s no point splurging on posh bacon.


You’ll need:

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, skin on
4 thin rashers of smoked bacon
1 medium onion, chopped into thick slices
1 litre veg stock (I used a stock cube)
Olive oil, for roasting
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
Tsp smoked paprika

Put the butternut squash, onions and garlic in a roasting tin and coat it all with a big glug of olive oil.Lay the bacon over the top of the mixture.  Roast at around 200/gas mark 5 for 40 minutes, or until butternut is completely cooked. Carefully squish the roasted garlic pulp out of the skin onto the mixture (mmmmm) and discard the skin. You can then either put it in a blender, with a little stock and pulp Рslowly adding stock to your desired consistency, or tip into a pan and pulp with a hand blender, carefully adding stock.

You’ll see from the dreamy look on my son’s face, this is a hit with kids. Just go easy on the chilli if feeding it to little mouths.


Leftovers Chicken Pie

Pastry terrifies me. I once made a Boxing Day turkey pie that was so awful, I was actually reminded this year to be really kind and not make that pie again.

My brother, a snooty pastry chef was horrified to see the Jus Rol in my fridge this weekend. I would ask him to think of how much time and effort I saved by using it to create this delicious and inviting chicken pie tonight:


I used one roll of shortcrust pastry and a floured rolling pin, to roll out a thin base for this 14″ pie dish. I then took all my Sunday dinner scraps (taking care over tiny bones) and put them cold into the base. Using a small amount of hot water, I made a gravy ‘paste’, thinning it slightly with cold water. Putting hot filling into raw shortcrust just makes the whole thing dissolve. You could brush the whole top with a beaten egg to make it shinier than my one.

What a pietastic dinner!