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Seedy Tahini Soup

It has been feeling decidedly soggy these last couple of weeks. Driving rain has been driving us indoors; the temperature has dipped and we start to nourish our spirits with heat. The stove gets a breakfast of seasoned logs and pine cones, and the seasonal veg basket must be turned to warming things; hearty and spiced, laced with great oils and seeds, wrapped in those roasted edges. Our constitutions are tetchy with seasonal change and raw things will not do. There must be hot pots on the bubble and steam from our mugs.

I have an onion squash and a couple of gems, rarely carried by the supermarkets but great in season. You can use any seasonal squash and they are still in plentiful supply – we’ve been playing with pattipans and butternuts, and have had at least one in our seasonal veg box since the onset of Autumn. It is great to use things when they are local and best. Pair with warm, intelligent spice and flavour enhancing cooking, roasted garlic and healing seeds. Stoke the fire, dust off your favourite coat and enter the new year in tune.

Ingredients

3 cloves of garlic
1 large onion, red or white (a leek or a few shallots are fine here too)
3 medium sized ripe, seasonal tomatoes
1 large onion squash
1 gem squash
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ of a nutmeg grated / 1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 sprigs of rosemary
A few sprigs of fresh thyme / 1 tsp of dried thyme
2 tsp of organic vegetable bouillon
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp of tahini
A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
Good, cold pressed rapeseed oil
Good, extra virgin olive oil

¾ of a tsp each of:
Nigella seeds
Linseeds
Sunflower seeds
Sumac
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • 1 Preheat your oven to gas mark 6 / 200 c
  • 2 Halve your squashes and scoop out the seeds and centre. Save a handful of the gem squash seeds as these are delicious roasted and sprinkled. Pare off the skin and cut into rough chunks. Add to a roasting dish
  • 3 Add your whole garlic cloves with the nub cut off along with your onion, roughly sliced, your whole tomatoes, cumin, paprika, ground coriander, nutmeg and thyme
  • 4 Season well with sea salt and add enough rapeseed oil to coat all the veg. Mix well to combine and place in the preheated oven for about 35-40 mins or until your squash colours and the edges start to catch. A little char on your onion and tomato skins is all fine and good
  • 5 Clean the squash seeds and add to a separate little ovenproof dish with no oil. Add the linseeds, sunflower seeds and nigella seeds and place in the oven with the veg for about 12 minutes, adding your sumac for the last 2 minutes. Set aside for dressing
  • 6 When your veg is suitably roasted remove from the dish to a large saucepan. Squeeze the garlic from the skins and cook for a minute or two in the residual oil muddling your tomatoes from their skins. Add your bouillon, a sprig of rosemary and a large bay leaf and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins
  • 7 While you simmer add your tahini and finely chopped flat leaf parsley to a bowl / jar / teacup. Add a good dash of good olive oil and muddle well with a teaspoon. Set aside for dressing
  • 8 After 20 mins, use a hand blender to pulse your soup until smooth. If you don’t have a hand blender you can remove to a food processor and return to the pan when smooth
  • 9 Add a little water if your soup is thicker than you prefer. (Better than trying to reduce a thin soup). Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper accordingly
  • 10 Ladle hot into your favourite bowls and dress with a sprinkling of your roasted seeds and sumac, a few rosemary needles and a good drizzle of your tahini, parsley and olive oil muddle
  • 11 Serve with a good chunk of great sourdough, toasted on a griddle or grill and rubbed with fresh olive oil and your remaining rosemary