EAT better

butternut squash and thyme soup with cashew cream

Autumn is right up there as my favorite season. The crisp air and shift in light is a welcome change, as are the cosy clothes and fires! It’s also the perfect time to make and enjoy soup! Autumn = orange, so with all the lovely pumpkins and squashes in the shops it’s the perfect time to make use of them. I picked up a lovely fresh organic Irish butternut squash from Cavistons and it was calling to be made into a soup. Another bonus with soup (aside from the enjoyment and health aspects) is that it’s also a relatively inexpensive option for a meal. This batch did us for dinner and a couple of lunches and at around 4.00euro for a large organic squash, it’s a good deal!

We’ve had a really busy few weeks with nobó and we’re finally getting a chance to catch our breath this week. Time is just flying by at the moment, and its hard to believe we’ve already done our first month trading at Marlay Park market. It’s been the best time. So exciting to see so many people excited about our dairy-free ice-cream and enjoying it. After so long experimenting to get the flavor and taste right and getting everything set up, it’s so rewarding to be selling and getting such great feedback and response. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by! We’ll continue to be there every Saturday from 10-4 and will be continuing to add more seasonal flavors like Chestnut and our ‘pumpkin pie’ to the mix.

We just finished the 4th phase of Foodworks too, a brilliant program in its first year run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc. The aim of the program is to find and develop a new group of food entrepreneurs. We had a big presentation yesterday morning (which meant only 3 hours sleep the night before due to the most unfortunate loss of all our samples down to a freezer malfunction, why do these things always happen at the worst time?!) for our chance to move from stage 4 to stage 5 and be one of the final 15 – our fingers are crossed!

We were also so thrilled to get one of our recipes published and be a part of the Goodalls Modern Irish cookbook. A lovely cookbook with recipes from 43 Irish bloggers, and we were flattered to be a part of it. You can download a digital version of the book for only €2.99 and all proceeds are going to two great charities. The cherry on top this week was a mention in the Saturday Independent as their weekly ‘Foodie to Follow’.

So back to the soup…

In my opinion Thyme goes great with butternut, but you could also try ginger, lemon zest or nutmeg – there are plenty of other lovely combinations that work.

The cashew cream is so simple to make – soak some cashews overnight in water, rinse and blend with a little fresh water. It gives you a creamy nutty sauce that is really versatile and can easily be combined with a number of different flavors (both sweet & savory). For this soup we left it in its natural state to add a little creamy richness and to garnish the soup.

butternut and thyme soup, with cashew cream
1 large butternut squash (about 1.4kg before peeling)- peeled and cubed
2 stalks celery – diced
2 carrots – diced
2 small potatoes – peeled and cubed
1/2 onion – 3/4 cup diced
3 cloves garlic – crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 vegetable stock cube diluted with 1 1/2 pints boiling water
4 sprigs thyme
Cashew Cream:
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup water
water for soaking
– Heat olive oil in large saucepan, add diced onion and garlic, gently sauté for about 5 mins.
– When the onion has softened, add in carrot, celery and potato and butternut squash, gently cooking until they start to soften, about 5.
– Add the vegetable stock and simmer, covered, for 30-40mins or until the butternut is soft.
– Remove from the heat and allow to cool before blending soup with hand-held blender or blender.

image- ©nobó
Cashew Cream:
– In a bowl, soak 1/2 cup cashews for about at least 4 hours, or overnight.
– Rinse soaked cashew nuts under cold water and in a blend them in a high-power blender with 1/2 cup water.
– Voila! Cashew cream!
– Drizzle on top of your soup before serving with some black pepper and an optional drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

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