Is it just me, or does it feel like autumn’s approaching? It’s been beautiful and sunny in London all week, but I’ve been looking at coats online, noticing every crunchy leaf on the floor and most importantly, craving soup, soup, soup.
I’m coming up with a plan of action for running in the dark autumn evenings and I took the soup matter into my own hands.
– Start running with clubs, like the W4 Harriers, or the very exciting-looking Run Dem Crew.
– Pay attention on my current runs to whether there are lampposts. I only moved into the area in April, so don’t know where will be dark from 4pm onwards in the winter!
– Find some buddies to run with?
– Move it indoors for some treadmill work. (How do you like running on a treadmill? I can only do about 5k tops before my head explodes from boredom. Any tips for prolonging?)
– Go for quick runs from work on my lunchbreak.
How do you keep training during the darker evenings? I’d really appreciate some hints and tips to keep me running. I get really hot when I’m running, so I think I might have to rock that strange look of vest and shorts and woolly hat and gloves.
I love soup, but if you’re planning a lot of exertion, it can be a bit insubstantial for your dinner. Here, I’ve circumvented that problem by adding some gorgeously spiced Indian cheese to add a bit of protein and all-important extra calories. This was inspired by this post here, but has undergone some major renovations. The second I read the words ‘paneer croutons’ I knew I had to make something similar.
Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Paneer Croutons
Serves 2/3, depending on the size of your squash
Glug of olive oil
1 tsp fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 red onion, cut
1 butternut squash, diced
Handful of paneer per person, cut into quite small dice – 1.5/2cm
Another glug olive oil
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
For the soup:
1. Heat a pan large enough to hold your diced squash over a medium heat and toast the cumin seeds, rosemary and chilli flakes for 30 seconds. You’re just releasing all their lovely oils here, don’t let them catch.
2. Add a good glug of oil and let it heat through, then add your chopped onion, give a stir and fry gently for a few minutes. Your house will begin to smell beyond fantastic.
3. Add your chopped butternut squash and just cover the whole lot with vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer.
4. Check the tenderness of your butternut squash with the tip of a knife. The length of time will depend on the size of your dice – mine took about 12 minutes today, but could go 5 minutes either side of that. When it is tender, blend the soup using your preferred gadget, taste and season with salt and pepper.
For the Paneer Croutons:
1. Mix the paneer, oil, cumin, turmeric and cumin in a bowl.
2. Heat a frying pan and tip the whole lot in. Fry the cubes until most sides are a lovely golden brown. Keep a close eye, as it can catch very quickly. Turn frequently.