My relationship with soup began badly.

Like many food writers before me I would like to record that my life’s interest in food began at my mother’s side, or at least on the knee of a mythical nonna, but it didn’t. My mother, like so many women of her generation, had to run a house and feed our family after completing a day’s work elsewhere. Doubtless harried and overextended, it seemed that providing daily meals was seen as an irksome duty rather than a pleasure, as a result the food that subsequently appeared bore little relationship to an appealing interlude. Food in our house was fuel. Like a car, my father and I were topped up when the tank appeared empty and although she set a meal for us every evening, I’m afraid my memories are not burdened with excitement or inspiration.

One common standby was a battery of canned soups, mostly Heinz I seem to remember, with the common characteristic of indistinguishable ingredients. Not the Tetra-packed exotica of today – Carrot and Coriander, Skinny Goan Chicken with Lentils or Smoked Haddock – we had assorted vegetables, all seemingly ‘creamed’, or obscure meats reduced to a pulp. When reluctantly poured into a bowl, most of them effected coagulation rather than comfort. So if soup and I didn’t get off to a particularly creative start, it took me a lot longer than I would have wished to cotton on to their glorious eccentricity. To summon Heraclitus, “No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. So it is for soup, homemade, no two are ever the same – but always far superior to canned broth. For most soups a good fresh meat or vegetable stock is a prerequisite and with the addition of suitable ingredients, you can simply put the pot on low and leave well alone. And once I’d purchased a stick blender, I was never the same man either.

Roast Squash soup with Cinnamon from Moro East (2007) Sam and Samantha Clark

600g peeled and seeded squash, cut into 3cm cubes

6 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

½ tsp ground cinnamon

A pinch of crushed dried chilli

1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes

1 litre of vegetable stock

40g of chopped coriander

1-2 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper

To serve

50g unsalted butter

30g pine nuts

½ tsp ground cinnamon

100g Greek yoghurt, thinned with 1 tbsp. milk

¼ garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7

Toss the squash with 2 tbsp of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and black pepper and spread it out in a roasting tin

Roast for about an hour until very soft and starting to colour

About 20 minutes before the squash is ready, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat

Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to turn golden

Now add the garlic, cinnamon and chilli

Fry for another minute to release their flavour, then add the potato and a little salt and pepper

Cook for 5 more minutes, taking care the garlic doesn’t burn, then add the roasted squash and the stock and bring to a gentle simmer

Cook for 20 minutes or until the potato is soft

Meanwhile prepare the garnishes

Met the butter in your smallest pan, add the pine nuts and cinnamon and fry gently until the butter begins to caramelize and foam and the pine nuts are starting to turn a very pale brownScrape the bottom of the pan to release any bits that are stuck and pour the pine nuts and butter into a cool bowl to stop the cooking

In another bowl season the yoghurt with the crushed garlic and add salt and pepper

With a handheld blender or in a food processor, blend the soup until smooth

Return it to the pan, stir in the chopped coriander and check for seasoning

If the soup is not sweet enough add a little

Serve with the seasoned yoghurt, warm brown butter and pine nuts on top

Wine thoughts

An exciting partner would be a medium bodied, crisp white wine but with a light floral, intensely perfumed nose. I’m opting for a grape variety of distinctly Spanish origin which is now planted widely and successfully in Argentina – Torrontes. Increasingly available here, Torrontes, a rising star amongst South American white wines, fits the bill and confidently partners the demands of our sweet/savoury autumnal soup. Not a wine for ageing so please do drink a fresh, current vintage.