Serves 4-6

Pumpkins and squashes always benefit from being spiced up a bit and this is a perfect warming soup to serve on Guy Fawkes Night. Pumpkins can be a little overwhelming and their size often deters shoppers from lugging them home unless they are throwing a big party.

Squashes such as butternut and onion squash etc will do an equally good job and take up a lot less room in the shopping basket. You can vary the spices to suit your taste and use anything from cinnamon and cardamom to caraway.

A good knob of butter
1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
30g root ginger, scraped and finely chopped
1tsp cumin seeds
1 small chilli, chopped
A few sprigs of thyme
1kg ripe yellow pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock (or a couple of good quality stock cubes dissolved in that amount of boiling water will do)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

Gently cook the leek, onion, ginger, cumin seeds, chilli and thyme in the butter in a large saucepan until soft. Add the pumpkin and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Re-heat the soup and adjust the consistency with a little vegetable stock or water if necessary and re-season with salt and pepper.