A Soup for Valentine

I have always had a silent disdain for Valentine’s day. For a start, I never grew up celebrating it and second I find it to be a day of mass excitement defined by various shades of red: heart shaped red velvet chocolate boxes, garish bouquets of red roses, cakes topped with red creams and sauces.

As a food writer and cook, I often ponder about what to cook on Valentine ‘s Day and if indeed I should make it a special culinary day. In ‘Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses’, Isabel Allende evokes the delights and the interaction of food and sex. The internet hands out countless methods and recipes to charm, subdue and celebrate.

I think it is sometimes best to stick to simple fare and  give the loved one a heart warming soup.


  • 300 g cooked and cut butternut squash
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cm ginger root knob
  • 2 cm numeric root knob
  • 250 g cooked black eyed beans
  • 300 g kale
  • 1 inch turmeric knob or ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1.3 L vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 lemon, quartered


  1. Finely chop onion and garlic cloves.
  2. Grate the ginger and turmeric roots.
  3. Trim the kale leaves, discard the stalks and slice into ribbons.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan and sauté carrots, onions and ginger over low heat. Keep covered and stir from time to time until the vegetables are softened.
  5. Incorporate the black eyes beans, spices and stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Taste, and adjust the seasoning adding salt or spices I necessary. Add the kale ribbons and butternut squash pieces and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, for 5 minutes.
  9. Stir the fresh coriander in and lightly drizzle with oil.
  10. Serve with lemon quarters
30 minutes

Cooking time

20 minutes

Preparation time

4 to 5


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