Cold days and warm soup

I can't get enough of this soup at the moment with its warmy orangey goodness. It's not particularly seasonal but it's certainly delicious.

It's been snowing here today, little white flakes fluttering down to settle into an icy crust for the night - minus four degrees last night. I do love a good frost and how beautiful it makes the world. Living in a frost pocket we are always amazed to see how different the weather is when we leave the house - what was an ice-edged winter scene becomes milder just half a mile down the road.
Anyway, I thought I'd share this recipe which is keeping a little warm sunshiney glow in me through the cold days.

Butternut Squash, Red Pepper and Coconut Soup

1 onion diced
2 sticks celery diced
2 bay leaves
1 butternut squash diced
1 red pepper diced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tin coconut milk
some vegetable stock
A squeeze of lime

Sweat the onion, celery and bay leaves on a low heat with a little salt for 10 minutes or so.

Note: I find the smaller you chop everything and the longer you sweat it for, the sweeter the flavour. I also find I am quite a lazy person who just chops things into quite big pieces and fecks it all in the pan, sweating it for just a couple of minutes when I can't be arsed standing over the cooker for so long. So do as you wish!

Then add the squash, pepper, herbs and spices and sweat for a wee while again (5-10 minutes depending on your levels of patience. See note above.)

Add the coconut milk and your favourite vegetable stock - adding not quite enough stock to cover the veg (you can always add more later if it's too thick so err on the side of less liquid rather than more.) Add salt if needed - this depends on your stock - mine is quite salty.

Simmer then for 10-15 minutes, until everything is soft. Take out your bay leaves. (Something I forgot to do the other day and ended up fishing little pieces of bay leaf out of my gob all the way through lunch - not pleasant...) Then blend it up to your desired consistency, adding more liquid if it's too thick. Check your seasoning and serve with a squeeze of lime.

Rejoice at the warmness in your stomach and go off to enjoy the lovely winter scenes outside!