Spiced autumn squash soup with fried halloumi

Serves 4

Autumn squashes make a great silky soup. The orange and yellow squashes are more visually appealing, so ask your greengrocer for his advice on colours and flavours or buy a butternut squash which will give guaranteed colour and flavour.

1 small leek, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 medium chilli, chopped
A couple of good knobs of butter
1kg squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1litre vegetable stock (or good quality cube)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

1tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
1 small red chilli, trimmed, finely chopped
1tbsp chopped coriander
1tbsp olive oil
150g halloumi, cut into rough 1cm chunks

Gently cook the leek, onion and chilli in the butter until softened. Add the squash and stock, bring to the boil, season, then simmer for 20 minutes. Blend the soup in a liquidiser until smooth; strain through a sieve. Fry the halloumi in a little oil until lightly coloured; drain on kitchen paper. Mix the pumpkin seeds, chilli, coriander and olive oil together. Reheat the soup; adjust the consistency with a little vegetable stock or water if necessary. Check the seasoning and serve with a spoonful of the pumpkin seed mixture and the fried halloumi.

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