There are many things I love about winter: Christmas, snow, big woollen scarves, hot chocolate...
Getting ill, however, is one of those winter staples that I could do without. The flu fairies obviously did not hear my heartfelt plea this year and have instead decided to curse me with the December cold.
This means lots of rubbish daytime TV, vitamins and soup. This chestnut and pumpkin soup is just the thing to make me feel better and is so easy to make. I decided to top mine off with some scallops (it is the season after all) but it is just as delicious on it's own or with some chopped country ham or pancetta.
Autumn soup with scallops (serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)
Peel 800g of pumpkin and cut it into cubes. You won't need a whole pumpkin, just a decent slice will do. Melt 20g of butter in a deep pan with 1tsp sunflower oil and add one chopped onion. Sweat for 5 minutes.
Add the pumkin cubes and 250g chestnuts (tinned work well for this recipe, although they can be a little salty so rinse them before use). Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, then add 800ml chicken stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 25 minutes.
Once cooked, blend until smooth. Season and keep warm.
Fry the scallops in some butter for 5 minutes over a medium heat until cooked to your liking. I like my scallops slightly tender in the middle so 5 minutes is the maximum cooking time.
Pour the soup into 4 bowls, top with the scallops and sprinkle with chopped chervil or flat-leaf parsely. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and serve.