Roast Butternut Squash and Chilli Soup

I don’t really like butternut squash, I mean I would eat it if it was put in front of me, but then I would do that with a lot of food. I do, however quite like this soup, chilli and butternut are the perfect combo.

N.B. I don’t normally put vegetable ingredients in grams, a soup isn’t a cake, it won’t matter if the weights are slightly different for each recipe. I have, however, put the potatoes in weight because there are many variations of size.



1 1/2 butternut squash(es)

1 large carrot

2 medium (approx. 300g) white potatoes

1/2 large onion

1 large red chilli, quartered and deseeded, this might be labelled in a supermarket as medium heat

2-3 cloves of garlic, bruised (squash with the flat of your knife)

1 sprig of rosemary

1 bay leaf

a large dollop of creme fraiche

4 pints of stock

*I jokingly asked my mother whether ‘dollop’ was an official form of measurement, and she replied that a ‘dollop’ is 1 dessert spoon (not a desert spoon which is what I just wrote, dyslexia rules). A dessert spoon is a 10ml measuring spoon, or your bog standard spoon which you would eat with. A tablespoon is 15ml and is larger than a standard eating spoon, what you might think of as a serving spoon. Making sense? Probably not…*




1. Halve the butternut, score it and place it in a roasting tin.  Drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with some salt and pepper. Place it in the oven to roast at 190C for about 45 minutes to an hour. Half way through cooking take it out and place the deseeded chilli and bruised garlic in the pan with the butternut, place back in for another 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven once it is soft and cooked through. Like so…


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2. Whilst that is cooling slightly finely chop your peeled potato, onion and carrot and sweat them in a pan with a bit more olive oil for about 5 minutes just to release some flavour. Add 4 pints of stock, I used chicken because we happened to have some lying around but vegetable stock is probably the best or if you don’t have any stock made then you can quite easily use boullion or another vegetable stock that you can get in supermarkets. Bring this to boil and add your bay leaf and rosemary sprig, turn to lower heat with the lid on and boil until the vegetables are soft.

3. Once the veg is soft scrape out the cooked butternut from it’s skin and add to the soup with the roasted chilli and garlic. Bring to the boil again for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and go whizzy whizzy whizzy with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the creme fraiche, feel free to add some more if you want it creamier and season to taste (I had to use quite a bit of salt and pepper). Always remember to try your food before you serve, this avoids disappointment and also embarrassment if guests or family members start adding shed loads of salt.

4. If your soup has cooled too much whilst you were seasoning heat it up over a low light then serve in a bowl (duh, wouldn’t be much good on a plate), if you want add a tsp of creme fraiche on top with a bit of parsley or rosemary (but watch it, rosemary is a very woody herb that preferably needs cooking before it can be eaten, so cut it up small if you are eating it raw). Or you could garnish with a bit of finely chopped chilli and a drizzle of olive oil.

And voila! Warm, comforting, yummyness in a bowl. Now if it’s all the same to you I’m going to get back to watching X-files…

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What the Foccaccio? Malaysian Style…

What the Foccaccio?

So occasionally I have a flick through my mums old recipe books and I can’t quite believe that the pictures I am seeing are actually of edible food. I have to say food photography has come on A LOT. Most the of the recipes would probably be okay (with the exception of an occasional few), but the photography could use some work. This is just a way of cataloging some of the worst examples I have come across…


So my very first post for WTF? (What the Foccaccio?) is from a little known book called Rasa Malaysia, the complete Malaysian cookbook by Betty Shaw. Photographs by Harold Teo. Oh dear Harold…

Now I’m not entirely sure what they were aiming for here, but I don’t think it was this. Kind of looks like some sort of sludgy muddy mess on a plate! I’m sure it also doesn’t help that it’s being overshadowed by a giant green leaf and some tomatoes.

According to the recipe on the next page it is either Otak Otak Pulau Pinang (I’m not sure what that is) or it is an India Fish Curry. I think it is the fish curry, it looks flat enough for a side of fish. Well I’m not sure I’m going to be making this anytime soon, but I’m sure it tastes lovely…



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The Humble British Fairy Cake

So, I’m starting off this blog for the first time in about a year or so with a little rant about the difference between fairy cakes and cupcakes.

Now I’m not a huge fan of this cupcake craze thats been sweeping the UK, I think it’s overshadowed the wholesome and very British fairy cake. Fairy cakes are smaller than the cupcake and the perfect size for small children. I made this quick batch to give to my girl guides (that’s right, people put me in charge of their children) as a little treat for their enrolment tonight.

Some of my fondest memories from childhood is making these lovely little cakes with my mum.



110g/ 4oz butter or margerine

140g/5oz caster sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it, see store cupboard if you are unsure what this is)

3 eggs

1 tsp of vanilla essence

200g/7.5oz of self-raising flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

80ml of milk



1. Basically chuck everything in a bowl…

2. …and mix well with a spoon, whisk, hand mixer, feather duster, your choice!

3. Bake in the oven at 170C fan oven for 15 minutes until risen, slightly golden and a skewer comes out clean

4. All you need to do now is allow them to cool on a wire rack before mixing 5 heaped tbsp of sifted icing sugar with 1 tbsp of boiling water. Mix this to a stiff paste, adjust the water or icing sugar as you see fit.

5. Dollop a spoonful of this on each cake and top with hundreds and thousands.

And their you have it, the humble British fairy cake! Enjoy kiddiwinks!

Humble British Fairy Cake


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