Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients together. Get your biggest pot out – if you don’t have a big enough pot, two smaller ones will do.
Wash and finely slice the leek, and finely slice the onion, carrots and celery.
Heat a large pan on a medium heat and add a little olive or coconut oil. Once the pan is hot, add the chopped veg and cook for 10–15 minutes, until soft and sweet.
Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into large chunks. Deseed the squash and roughly chop into similar-size chunks (I leave the skin on, but if you like you could peel this too).
Once the vegetables are soft and smelling good, add the sweet potatoes, squash and spices along with 2 litres of hot water from the kettle and the veg stock powder or cube. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 30–40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and falling apart, topping up with a little hot water from the kettle if it starts to look a little thick.
I cool the lot and store it in the fridge or freezer until I’m hungry. I store it all without blitzing – I like to eat it both silky smooth and with a more stew-like texture, so I warm and blitz it in portions as I need.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE WAYS I LIKE TO EAT MY VAT OF SOUP
Whizzed until smooth, topped with a quick basil oil and served with good bread.
Stew-style, with some cannellini beans added while warming and topped with crispy fried thyme breadcrumbs and red chilli.
Half whizzed, warmed and served on brown rice with chopped chilli, coriander, lime zest and a spoonful of yoghurt.
Stew-style, with some smoked paprika stirred in while warming and topped with broken corn tortillas, red chilli and some little bits of avocado.
ALL PLEASING CHILLI
This is based on one of my most-cooked recipes, made a little simpler and easier on the wallet. Mix and match the grains as you like – a great way to use up those odds and ends left at the bottom of a jar, just steer clear of couscous as it cooks too quickly. This makes a vatful so I have given eight ways to eat the chilli below.
Put your biggest pot over a medium heat. Add a splash of olive or rapeseed oil and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for 10 minutes, or until soft.
Add the chilli powder, cumin and smoked paprika. Stir around in the pan for 1-2 minutes. Add all the other ingredients, stirring as you go – but start with 1 litre of the stock and keep the rest on hand to add as needed if the chilli starts to look a bit dry.
Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30–35 minutes, until the lentils and grains are cooked and the chilli is deep and flavoursome.
Season to taste, then serve.
SOME OF THE WAYS I LIKE TO EAT MY CHILLI
Tortillas or wraps (flour or corn), yoghurt, with chilli and thyme oil.
Spooned over corn tortilla chips, topped with a grating of good cheese and melted in the oven with some guacamole and salsa for dipping.
Sandwiched between two slices of fresh bread with a grating of cheese, a hit of sriracha and shredded lettuce.
In a couple of crispy taco shells with all the trimmings.
Folded into a wrap with some brown rice, chopped tomatoes and a little sour cream, burrito style.
In a toasted cheese sandwich.
With rice, yoghurt and chutney.
With sauteed greens and a quick tomato salsa.