Butternut squash has the advantage of whizzing to an exceptionally velvety, comforting texture.
1 kg (2lb 4 oz) butternut squash, peeled & chopped
three medium potatoes, chopped
two-three medium onions, chopped
three carrots (optional)
three ribs of celery, chopped
2 tsp each dry-roasted fennel and cumin seeds
three cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2-3 tsp good quality Indian or Malay curry paste (or mild curry powder)
5 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated (1-2 tsp reserved)
2 tsp turmeric
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) chicken or vegetable stock
250ml (9 fl oz) whipping cream
a lemon, juiced
salt and freshly milled white pepper
Fry the vegetables very slowly in the oil in a deep saucepan - it takes about 10 minutes for the onion to become transparent and sweet.
Grind the fennel and cumin to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar, then fry the garlic and all the
spices very gently in a little oil for eight minutes.
Combine the vegetables with the spice mix, and cover with the stock.
Simmer gently until all is soft - it takes about 30-40 minutes.
When soft, liquidise with the cream until smooth.
Return to a clean pan and bring back to a simmer for a moment or two, then add the remaining fresh ginger and lemon juice to taste and season.