Something wonderful has started happening at our house on Sunday afternoons. There's the sound of chopping, the smell of roasting vegetables, a hint of chilli and then the whirr of the stick blender. The Boy Wonder has discovered soup making. And you know what? He is getting quite good at it.
This soup goes into containers for take-to-work lunches, which means I have to resort to banana toasties less often and he can avoid the hideous work cafe. He is ridiculously proud of himself. Last week he even sent me an email while he ate (bear in mind we sit about 20ft away from each other): "My lunch is AMAZING!" it said. You have to love a man who does that. Or, perhaps I have to.
I am not allowed to interfere with this process at all, but I did give him a few pointers before he started so these instructions are solely based on that. Quantities are approximate - my beloved is not a details man - though he has learned that birds' eye chillies are not less hot because they are smaller than the others.
A roasting dish full of peeled and chopped pumpkin, beetroot, carrots, potatoes and onions or leeks - whatever you have
few cloves of garlic
a few ribs of celery
a chilli or two
Heat the oven to 180C. Drizzle the roasting dish full of vegetables with oil and put it in the oven for 30-40 minutes until everything is cooked and beginning to brown up a bit.
Meanwhile, take a pot big enough to take all the vegetables and gently saute the garlic, celery and chilli in another slosh of olive oil until soft. Tip in the cooked vegetables and stir well, then cover with chicken stock. Bring to a gentle simmer for 5-10 minutes, then taste for seasoning. Puree with a stick blender, then summon your wife to admire your greatness.
What's your new favourite packed lunch at the moment?