Wednesday 28 September 2016

Forkful's speedy suppers: Simple soup and comforting cheesy treats

Aoife McElwain

Published 02/10/2015 | 02:30

Roasted butternut squash soup
Roasted butternut squash soup
Mushrooms and cheese on toast

As autumn seeps in, it's time to dust off your handheld blender and get some pots of soup on the go. This week, I've roasted some squash to make a simple soup served with Parmesan and walnuts.

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Soup generally takes 45 minutes to an hour to make, but there's nothing tricky in the process, and it often looks after itself. You can let it bubble away while you get settled on your sofa.

Our mushrooms and cheese on toast is a truly speedy supper. The Worcestershire sauce is the savoury cherry on top of this deliciously cozy supper.

Roasted butternut squash soup

Serves 2

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 45 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 medium squash

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 teaspoon of salt

Half a teaspoon of pepper

1 fresh rosemary sprig

1 whole bulb of garlic, sliced in half

1 onion

1 potato

1 rasher of bacon (optional)

700ml of vegetable stock

1 tablespoon of finely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan

METHOD

1. Peel and slice the squash into 2cm cubes. Put in roasting dish with the olive oil, chilli flakes, salt, pepper, rosemary sprig and the sliced bulb of garlic. Roast for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onion and the potato. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Heat a little butter in a large pot over a medium high heat. Fry the onion, potato and bacon together for 5 minutes. When the squash has had its 25 minutes, add it to this pot. Top up with the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Bubble for 15 minutes, or until the squash and other vegetables are soft.

3. Use a handheld blender to blitz the soup until smooth. Serve the soup, hot, with a sprinkling of finely chopped walnuts and finely grated Parmesan on top.

Mushrooms and cheese on toast

Serves 2

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 15 mins

INGREDIENTS

5 mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon of butter

Salt

Pepper

4 slices of bread, for toasting

4 handfuls of roughly grated cheddar

Worcestershire sauce

METHOD

1. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Finely slice the garlic.

2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the mushrooms for 3 minutes before adding the slices of garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Fry for a further five minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through.

3. Lightly toast your bread and then put it on a baking tray. Divide the slices of fried mushrooms and garlic between the toast. Top with a handful of roughly grated cheddar. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce. Place under a hot grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted but the toast isn't burnt.

4. Serve with an extra crack of black pepper.

 Photos: Mark Duggan 

This week's storecupboard essential:

Worcestershire Sauce: Though I still struggle with the correct pronunciation of this sauce, it has always been an important member of my kitchen pantry. This quintessentially British condiment is a mix of barley malt vinegar, molasses, salt, anchovies and tamarind.

Irish Independent

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