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Fall brings some of my favourite foods. Apples, apple cider (unless you live in the UK, where cider is alcoholic only), squash. Soup.

The apples have gone past that first perfection that calls for eating them out of the bag, but I’m not done with them yet, no-sirree Bob. I made applesauce on the stove the other day, and it was delicious. So delicious, it’s joined cold-brew coffee on the list of things I make every week just for the pleasure of having them to hand.

Once I’d decided that, I thought how much easier it would be with a Crock-pot. And from there, it was a short step to how much easier everything would be if I cooked my meals in a Crock-Pot. Needless to say, we are now the proud owners of a (rather small) Crock-Pot.

But this is not a Crock-Pot recipe. That’s because we didn’t go grocery shopping until 4pm. So I used the slow cooker to make applesauce instead, while we went and enjoyed the National Museum of Scotland. It was a good use of a Sunday afternoon. It was also a good use of the Crock-Pot. I tell you now, if you have a slow cooker and a stick (immersion) blender, applesauce can be yours with almost no effort. I don’t even peel the apples; once the sliced apples are soft, the immersion blender just makes them disappear, leaving only a hint of extra texture, which I enjoy and thus don’t blend entirely away.

I’m not one for owning kitchen gadgets I don’t need, so I would never have thought to buy an immersion blender for myself. The last tenant left it, but I’m so glad they did. You need some sort of blender or food processor for this recipe.

Don't be turned off by the photo.

Don’t be turned off by the photo.  I managed to plate it beautifully the first night, but we were too hungry to take pictures. The overhead light in our kitchen is also burned out at the moment. This soup is soooo much more delicious than it looks. Mumsy Dearest, you, at least, have to try this soup. It is currently my favourite way to eat squash, even better than squash and barley risotto with parmesan, which is saying something.

Ingredients

1 1/2 butternut squash
1 red pepper
2 red onions

300 mL dry green lentils
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups stock
salt
pepper
basil and/or thyme

1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

2. Thinly slice (5mm) squash, roughly chop pepper and onions. Roast in roasting pan 20 minutes.

3. Add vegetables, lentils and seasonings to stock pot. If making stock from a cube or mix, add mix and pour boiling water into the pot. If you aren’t British and don’t have an electric kettle, just add the stock and let it heat on the stove. Cover, bring to a boil (if needed) and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and very carefully puree with immersion blender until it reaches a consistency you like. Serve with dollop of cream cheese and oatcakes, toast or crackers.

Squash and lentil soup

This recipe is inspired by this one; I changed the proportions, adding more lentils for a more filling meal, and added some spices. Soup is much more forgiving of my meddling than most foods.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend it in a regular blender, though I’ve never tried it. You cannot just blend it as normal, though, or you risk explosion due to escaping steam. Read some articles about how to go about it safely, such as this one, before blending.

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