This past week has been a challenge. Trying to edit the book is possibly harder than it was writing the book and at this point I just want my "baby" packed up and ready for flight as I yearn for my life to return to normal. I am reminded of when I was in year two at primary school. I was supposed to colour in the lines of an angel but all I wanted to do was play outside with my friends. I was the last student to leave the classroom and I kept returning my drawing book to my teacher with colours drawn haphazardly over the lines. She wouldn't let me go outside until I had done the job properly and I stared outside at my friends playing yearning to join them.
Long stretches in front of the computer aren't exactly sane making so one afternoon, after punching out 3,500 words, I felt that I needed to stir something. I only had myself to blame as I decided to replace two chapters with completely new ones so I had quite foolishly built a rod for my back. It has turned chilly suddenly this week in Sydney and with daylight savings and the evenings creeping up on us quickly, I wanted nothing more than a creamy soup for dinner. Problem was that next week I had a photo shoot for a magazine in which I talk about the challenges of working around delicious food while still fitting into your clothes and I didn't want to turn up and be ejected from not fitting both the spirit of the article or the clothes.
I eyed a whole butternut squash sitting on my counter. My friend Queen Viv had just made a cream-less but creamy pumpkin and leek soup and I decided to make a version with crab. I fished out the bag of crab stock from the pantry I had been given from The Stock Merchant and improvised. I figured that even if it didn't work, I could just enjoy the reprieve from the computer screen. I roasted the squash whole in the oven and a bonus was the warmth of the oven. Then I sauteed some onion and garlic and add the crab stock and roasted squash.
Simmering it for 10 minutes I pureed the soup and tasted it. Even without the crab that I was putting in at the end, it was rich and creamy. It even had a distinctly creamy bisque flavour and texture to it too although it was much simpler. It is a very easy soup to make and if you are rushed for time, you can cube the squash so that it cooks even quicker or possibly peel it and simmer it in the stock. I think a lot of the fullness of the flavour comes from the goodness of the stock and the crab stock is possibly my favourite flavour from The Stock Merchant's range. It's made using sustainable blue swimmer crab from Western Australia and it is so flavoursome that you can easily make this soup without the added crab at the end and still taste the rich crab flavour.
OK it's back to work for me! Wish me luck! And psst! Happy Friday the 13th fellow ghouls! Don't walk under any ladders ok? ;) xxx
So tell me Dear Reader, what are your favourite warming soups for winter? And has anything bad ever happened to you on Friday the 13th?
Creamy Crab & Butternut Squash Soup
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
400g butternut squash
1-2 teaspoons of oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
500ml crab stock (I used one from The Stock Merchant)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
a pinch of nutmeg, cayenne pepper and a small amount of cumin
90g/3ozs crab meat (optional)
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 200c/400F and roast whole butternut squash on a tray for 30 minutes until soft. Remove skin and seeds when cool enough to handle-both should slip off easily.
Step 2 - Heat a pot on medium heat and add oil and gently cook the onion and garlic until fragrant and translucent. Then add the crab stock and butternut squash flesh and simmer for 10 minutes. Use a hand held whizz to blend the soup. Add salt, black pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and cumin to taste-I find a pinch is enough of each as you don't want to lose the delicious crab flavour. Add crab if using, and heat through gently. Serve hot with warm bread-I ate it with a New York Rye loaf from Brasserie Bread.