Despite my mother’s best efforts to inflict the dreaded Michael Buble on me, there is only one Christmas CD that is acceptable in my house: A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. While I do not like the man himself, his imprisonment for murder has not lessened my appreciation for this classic album. If I can still enjoy a compilation produced by a convicted killer, I can certainly still adore Nigella as she holds her head up high throughout the drugs revelations: her recent troubles will do nothing to topple her from her perch as Queen of the Christmas Kitchen.
Here is a delicious soup from the domestic goddess, perfect for any wintry meal or a Christmas dinner starter. It is comforting, warming and flavoursome (and easily veganised and just as delicious when served without the blue cheese drizzle).
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4, from Nigella Christmas
1 smallish butternut squash, chopped into chunks (you don’t need to peel it)
1 large sweet potato, diced (again, unpeeled is fine)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
generous pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
750ml vegetable stock
2-3 tsbp marsala
4 tbsp plain yoghurt
3-4 tbsp milk
50g blue cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Place the chopped butternut squash, sweet potato and onion in a large roasting tin. Pour over the oil and sprinkle over the spice. Toss well to coat.
3. Roast for 60-75 minutes until soft.
4. Put half of the roasted veg into a blender with 250ml stock. Blitz.
5. Transfer to a pan, then repeat with the other half of the veg and another 250ml stock. Pour the remaining stock into the empty blender, swish it around then pour it into the pan as well.
6. Add the marsala and heat the soup gently in a pan.
7. Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt, milk and cheese to make the drizzle.
8. Season the soup and serve with the blue cheese drizzle and some bread.