Lazy soup and salad

For most, lazy nights usually mean one of two things: dinner will be ordered in or it will be reheated. The last thing you want to do when you're too tired is to cook and then clean up after. To make your life easy but still eat something comforting and tasty try out this soup and salad.

Ok I know soup and salad sounds soo boring but this recipe will definitely make your mouth water. I just make the soup ahead of time in a big batch and then freeze leftovers for reheating on lazy days like this one. For the salad, I just tossed steamed asparagus, borlotti beans, cherry tomatoes and mesclun mix. So simple but perfect with a glass of red wine...what a wonderful lazy night.

pumpkin and ginger soup

makes a enough for 4 people or 2 and leftovers

3 cups/600g Pumpkin (I used kent pumpkin but butternut squash would work well too)
1/2 red onion
1/2 leek
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp or more of freshly grated ginger
1 whole red chili
1 tsp dried chili
2 tbsp or more olive oil
fresh thyme
cracked black pepper
sea salt
1/2 cup skim milk (or any other non-dairy substitute)
stock - vegetable, chicken... I use a great additive free stock or I make my own and freeze it

There are a few different methods of cooking the pumpkin, either roast in oven with olive oil until tender or cook in the pot after leeks and garlic have been sauteed. To make life easier for readers I'll describe the second method.

Get a large enough pot (soup/stock pot) ready on medium heat. Saute the leeks and onions in olive oil under tender, add garlic and ginger and cook 2 mins. Add some thyme and salt (keeps things from burning), add chopped pumpkin pieces and enough stock to cover. Add in fresh and dried chili.

Cook pumpkin until tender. When reached consistency you want, either blend or place in food processor. Add back to cleaned out pot, stir in milk to reach consistency you desire. At this point, season well and add fresh chopped herbs. Sometimes I like to serve this with fresh organic yoghurt - it gives the soup another texture and a tang that works well with the creamy and spicy pumpkin. Enjoy.

borlotti bean salad with asparagus and cherry tomatoes

makes enough for two sides

1/2 cup dried borlotti beans (try not to use tinned beans if you can - just soak or cheat by simmering 1 cup dried beans with 3 cups water for 55 mins)
1/2 bunch asparagus - try to buy in season - if you can't substitute with another hearty green vegetable
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
bunch of salad leaves - arugula or mesclun mix
fresh bread - wholegrain, sourdough..whatever you like
30 ml olive oil
1 clove garlic
5ml lemon juice
10 ml balsamic vinegar

To make dressing - mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar - cut the garlic clove in half and rest in liquid for 10 minutes just to infuse.

Cook beans and leave aside. Steam asparagus and cut tomatoes into halves. Mix all ingredients or assemble separately like the way I did. Take out garlic from dressing and drizzle over veggies and beans. Add a few pieces of bread and there you go. Easy dinner for a lazy night...just need a glass of wine.

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