Wednesday, 30 April 2014

26 Weeks

How far along? 26 weeks & 5 days
Total weight gain/loss: 9lbs! Probably still less that I'm supposed to have gained, but I haven't lost any weight in a long time, so I'm happy.
Maternity clothes? It's about half and half. I have two pairs of maternity jeans and several new long tops/dresses, but some of them are just larger sizes than I normally wear. I'm still able to wear some of my longer tops and elasticated skirts. The one in this picture, for example, I usually wear on my waist, but I expanded the waist-band and it fits just under my bump. 
Stretch marks? Surprisingly, none! My bump has grown a lot lately and I keep looking for them, but none have appeared so far.
Sleep: Sometimes broken (I think the baby's movements are starting to wake me up during the night) and I'm obviously needing more sleep as I fell asleep on the sofa at 8pm on Monday and 9.30pm last night, both times with the lights on and a film playing. 
Best moment this week: I don't think anything particularly major happened this week, besides my bump getting bigger and the baby moving around even more than usual. We did get our Moses basket last week, which was exciting!
Movement: We can almost time the baby's movements now--it's always very active first thing in the morning, then between 7-9 every night. If I've been moving around or doing a lot of walking during the day, it'll suddenly get very active as soon as we get into bed. And if I'm ever sitting or lying down for a period of time during the day it makes its presence known :) And it still loves bath time!
Cravings/Aversions: I want to say that I've been craving sweet things more this week, but maybe that's because we have lots of Easter chocolate sitting around ;)
Gender guesses: We're not telling! ;)
Labor Signs: None, although Simon had a dream about the labour last night and apparently it was super easy and the baby "popped out" (his words) before the midwife got here. He seemed quite comforted by this dream, but I was a little more disconcerted. I think I'd prefer to have a midwife on hand. 
Belly Button in or out? Still in. I kept thinking for ages that it was going to pop, but it hasn't. 
What I miss: Being able to bend over without overbalancing myself. 
What I am looking forward to: Reaching the end of the second trimester! We only have a week and a bit left to go. 
Weekly Wisdom: Since you're supposed to be getting an extra 200 calories a day when you're pregnant, you're totally allowed to eat as much Easter chocolate as you like. 
Milestones: We got our Moses basket last week (although it's still at my parents' house until closer to our due date) and my bump suddenly got a lot bigger in the last couple of days. I'd kind of got used to the size it was and kept thinking, "Huh, it's not really that big, to be honest" and then WHAM, it feels like it tripled in size in two days! So hopefully this will stop people from saying "Oh, you're barely showing!" 

Monday, 28 April 2014

Recent Meals #4

I had originally planned to include a couple of other recipes here, but I realised that we actually deviate so much from the original recipes that we might as well write our own for you. So keep your eyes peeled for some semi-original recipes on the blog in the next week or so!

Baked Camembert Pasta
Source: This one comes from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food cookbook, but you can also find it here.
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We used more garlic and spinach and less parmesan (well, technically grana padano), and spirali rather than rigatoni. Basically, adapt it to your taste! 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Super easy. Stick the cheese in the oven, boil the pasta, drain it and then add the spinach, then pour the cheese on top. I don't think it's possible to mess this up!
Verdict: This isn't one we do a lot as it isn't exactly the healthiest, but we both really like it. It's one of those quick meals that looks and tastes a lot fancier than it actually is. 

Bean, Corn & Tortilla Salad
Source: Martha Stewart
Who Cooked It: Rachel prepared most of the ingredients, and Simon helped assemble
What We Changed: We have to use dried pinto beans that we cook in the slow cooker, since you can't get tinned pinto beans in many supermarkets here. We used tinned rather than frozen sweetcorn (more flavour), little gem rather than romaine lettuce (cheaper), and extra mature cheddar rather than pepper jack. We also made our own salsa. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? This recipe involves a fair bit of chopping, but not a lot of "real cooking", so it's relatively easy. 
Verdict: This is one of our favourites, and Simon often requests it. It's got a great mixture of flavour and textures, and is pretty filling. Simon likes his covered in Sriracha hot sauce.

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Chili Salsa & Saffron Black Bean Rice
Source: The Food Network
Who Cooked It: Rachel made most of it, although Simon assisted with the rice.
What We Changed: Since our tomatillos came out of a can, we didn't roast them. Instead of fresh jalapenos we threw in some bird's eye chillies and some chopped, jarred jalapenos. We cooked the chicken ourselves, and used less as we were just feeding the two of us. We used extra mature cheddar instead of monterery jack. I cooked the black beans in the slow cooker with just a bay leaf, as that's what I usually do, and we used saffron instead of turmeric in the rice because, hey, we own saffron! We decided to mix the beans in with the rice. 
What We Omitted: We opted not to serve this with guacamole as we had plenty of other toppings.
How Easy Is It? This recipe is relatively time consuming--especially if you make the side dishes--and involves some multi-tasking, so it's definitely not a beginner's recipe. 
Verdict: This probably isn't going to be one of our favourite enchilada recipes, but we did really like it. It was the first time either of us had eaten a salsa verde-style sauce and we both really enjoyed it. Definitely one to make again even if it takes a while to prepare.

Sweetcorn & Spring Onion Waffles
Source: The Sugar Hit
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We used tinned sweetcorn rather than an ear of corn as it was cheaper, and added some tomatoes and lime juice to serve as we had them on hand.
What We Omitted: We technically skipped the pico de gallo, even if we did top these with tomatoes.
How Easy Is It? As long as you get up early enough to let the mixture rise for an hour, this is pretty easy! I'm always cautious about using yeast as I mucked up my first recipe involving yeast, but we didn't have any trouble with this one. 
Verdict: I'm always on the look out for savoury breakfast recipes, since Simon doesn't have much of a sweet-tooth. Whenever I prepare our Saturday breakfasts I usually make pancakes or waffles, and Simon typically goes for something involving eggs, so this combines our two styles! We both really liked this one, and we'll probably be making it again. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Recent Meals #3

Simon and I seem to have become famous in our church for our cooking, which is kind of amusing for me as I didn't learn how to cook anything fancier than pasta until I was in my third year of university. Simon has always loved to cook, and I think having someone who was excited to learn new recipes (and to cook for) encouraged me to become interested in cooking. This year is the first where I've done most of the cooking, since I'm at home all day. Up until now, Simon tended to take over in the kitchen, and it took him a long time to stop criticising how I chopped garlic and just enjoy whatever I cooked for him. Anyone who met me in my first year of university--when I lived off filled pasta and frozen chicken kievs--would find my current cooking goddess persona a little laughable. I don't even think I knew how to boil an egg until I left home in 2009. A lot has changed in five years!

Slow Cooked Honey Glazed Gammon, Sweet Potato Wedges & Salad
Source: A Year of Slow Cooking
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We used gammon rather than ham, and probably a lot less than this recipe called for since we were just feeding the two of us.
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Super easy, as most slow cooker meals are! Melt the butter, dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker and occasionally turn the gammon/ham over to make sure it's cooking evenly. We make our own sweet potato wedges (peel the potatoes, chop into chunks, coat in oil, salt & pepper and dried herbs and stick in the oven for 20 minutes at 200) and used a pre-made salad (there are some things I cheat at!), but you could serve this with whatever sides you like.
Verdict: We don't make this recipe very often, but we do really like it. The gammon ends up with a fantastic blend of flavours, and the colours look amazing on the plate. It's a great meal for a day when you don't have much time to spend in the kitchen. I think we need to make this more often--especially as it seems like an easy one to make when there's a small baby around ;)

Crispy Salmon with Creamy Garlic Spaghetti & Roasted Asparagus
Source: How Sweet Eats
Who Cooked It: Rachel, although Simon helped towards the end
What We Changed: We used olive oil rather than coconut, regular spaghetti rather than whole wheat, semi-skimmed rather than skimmed milk, and single cream rather than half-and-half. We also added some smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and brown sugar to the top of the salmon, kind of like in this recipe.
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? While the ingredients are pretty standard, this recipe does require some multi-tasking (especially if you decide to roast some vegetables with it, as we did--cut the ends off the asparagus, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and stick them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180). I think the hardest thing about this recipe is getting the timings right so you don't end up with cold spaghetti or burnt salmon.
Verdict: We did really like this recipe, but we probably prefer this one, also from How Sweet Eats, which is very similar, but a bit more flavoursome. 

Sweet Potato Breakfast Biscuits with Poached Eggs, Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Jam
Source: How Sweet Eats (Can you guess what our favourite food website is?)
Who Cooked It: Rachel made the biscuits and Simon poached the eggs.
What We Changed: We used very slightly less sweet potato than called for (it's hard to gauge how much you'll get out of it before you've roasted the potato) and semi-skimmed milk.
What We Omitted: We opted not to serve these with bacon as we were in possession of a jar of bacon jam.
How Easy Is It? If you know how to make biscuits (or even scones) this is pretty easy to make. The only downside is that you need to remember to roast the sweet potato beforehand, so it's not a quick breakfast recipe unless you've roasted the sweet potato the day before. Since I can't seem to sleep in after 8am any more, I stuck the potato in the oven as soon as I woke up and then went back to bed to read while Simon slept.
Verdict: We loved these! As expected, since we're big fans of sweet potatoes. We sometimes throw together biscuits for breakfast at the weekend, and since we usually have a couple of sweet potatoes on hand these won't be much more effort to make. We'll definitely be having these again. You don't even have to use fancy toppings--these taste good just with raspberry jam. 

Jamaican Corn Stew with Sweet Potato Biscuits
Source: This one actually comes from a real, live cookbook, called The Slow Cook Book. You can view the recipe on Google Books here, if you click on page 126. This is an excellent slow cooker book, and it includes instructions on how to adapt each recipe for stove/oven cooking as well, which is what we did in this instance.
Who Cooked It: Simon
What We Changed: We used tinned sweetcorn rather than cobs, sweet peppers rather than bell peppers, and red lentils rather than split peas. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? As with most slow cooker recipes, this one is pretty easy. It involves a fair bit of chopping, and you need to fry a few things before adding them to the slow cooker (or you can keep them on the stove if you're cooking it using the traditional method) but you make it all in one pot, which is always a plus!
Verdict: This is one of Simon's favourite recipes, and I really like it as well. It's one for those who like their food spicy, since scotch bonnets (especially red ones) are genuinely very hot. We usually serve this with biscuits, and it works perfectly with the sweet potato breakfast biscuits above. We've found that it's easier to make this with tinned sweetcorn (of the Tesco Everyday Value variety--and no, I'm not kidding, it's actually really good) than corn on the cob. Corn on the cob can be pretty pricey, and it's awkward to cut the corn off the cob slices in your bowl. Tinned sweetcorn might not look as pretty, but it's just as tasty.

Butternut Squash & Kale Quesadillas
Source: The Pioneer Woman
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We adapted this to suit what we were able to get or had on hand--one whole small squash, chili flakes, prechopped kale (don't shoot me; it's all they sell in Tesco), large tortillas and extra mature cheddar cheese. Also, I have no idea what Kosher salt is or where you get it, so just assume for every recipe that mentions it that we're using sea salt. I don't know if it makes a difference.
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Quesadillas in general aren't complicated, but chopping a butternut squash can be time-consuming and frustrating--especially if you have a fear of large knifes like me. I kid you not, I know how to cut a squash with a paring knife. As a side note, The Pioneer Woman's method of making quesadillas is the best I've come across (no flipping!) and is the one we now use for every quesadilla recipe.
Verdict: We've made this recipe several times now, whenever we have leftover squash and/or kale, and we really like it. You can't go wrong in our house with quesadillas, and squash is always super cheap and filling. We usually serve this with homemade salsa and sour cream. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

24 Weeks

We've gotten a little lazy about posting regular pregnancy updates. I think this is partially because we've been doing more lately, now that I have slightly more energy and haven't been throwing up. Plus, we're now at the stage where our baby is really active and I'm not feeling the need to constantly look up its new developments each week. It helps that we ended up having three foetal anomaly scans (as the baby was in the wrong position for the first two) so I'm absolutely certain that the baby is doing fine. 

Instead of the usual post, I thought I'd share some things I've learned so far in my pregnancy.

1. Hair & Nails: Everyone tells you that being pregnant will make your hair luscious and shiny and your nails beautiful, but I've not experienced this. I already have pretty shiny hair, and it's still shiny--but also very, very tangled. My nails seem to be breaking a lot more easily than usual, too. Either this one is an old wives' tale, or my nails and hair have hit their peak and started to go downhill. 

2. Emotions: Although I do tend to cry more than usual at any film, book or TV show that deals with parenting or children (even if the children in question are closer to my age than our baby's) I've not been as emotional as I anticipated. I've heard plenty of stories about pregnant women crying at the drop of a hat, but I think I've had one emotional day every fortnight, which is a lot less than before I got pregnant! Pregnancy seems to have completely off-set my Seasonal Affective Disorder this year, which I am so thankful for.

3. Cravings: People keep asking me if I'm having cravings. Occasionally I think, "Hmm, I'd like to eat X", but it ends up being more, "I'll plan this meal for next week" rather than, "Simon, you must go out and buy this for me immediately." When I get hungry, I tend to switch between wanting to eat something sweet or savoury, but that's the closest I've got to having cravings. 

4. Caffeine: The current "Avoid this if you're pregnant" craze seems to be fixated on caffeine, and maybe women who are addicted to Starbucks will have issues with this, but it's not been a big deal for me. I drink tea (which contains a lot less caffeine than coffee) and I'm a big fan of herbal tea, so keeping my caffeine consumption within my self-imposed four-cups-a-day limit has been pretty easy. 

5. Energy: Apparently I'm meant to have tons of energy right now, because I'm in the second trimester, but my energy levels are seriously fluctuating. Some days I can stay out at a friend's house all evening and not get back until 11pm and feel fine, but on others my energy droops the minute Simon gets home from work and I fall asleep on the sofa at 8pm. I really can't predict it, so I'm just trying to get as much done before 5pm as I can. If we cancel plans unexpectedly, we're not being rude--I'm probably half-asleep. And seriously, if you invite us to an event that doesn't start until 9pm we will laugh at you. 

6. Sleep: Talking of sleep, everybody keeps recommending fancy, expensive pillows that will take up half the bed. Aside from two weeks right at the start of the second trimester, I haven't needed any extra pillow support. I've read warnings about not sleeping on your back, but since I'm normally a side-sleeper this hasn't been an issue--plus, sleeping on my back is just uncomfortable right now, so I wake up if I lie in that position for too long. The biggest problem with the no-back-sleeping rule? I can't lie on the grass to read in the sun. My neighbours must think I'm loopy for bringing a bean-bag out on to the front lawn, but it works. 

7. Reading: After reading four pregnancy books, I kind of got burned out. Although I read a lot, I'm not actually much of a non-fiction reader. I made a big list of pregnancy and parenting books that were available within the Edinburgh library system, but in the end if I only read four. By the time I finished the fourth one, I felt like all the information was getting repetitive. I'm not saying I know everything about pregnancy, but I don't feel so worried that I want to constantly look things up. Here's what I ended up reading:

  • What to Expect When You're Expecting (4th edition) by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel -- This one is great for looking up specific issues and ailments in the extensive index, and for finding out what your baby and body will be experiencing each week or month. The information on midwife/doctor's appointments is absolutely useless if you're in the UK (even in the UK edition, bizarrely), and I skipped the healthy eating/exercise section as it's overwhelming. As long as you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and do some walking, you'll be fine. The labour section is brief compared to other books, but honest. Some people said this book made them worried about everything, but personally I like being able to look things up and feeling relieved when I find that X or Y is perfectly normal. It's not one to read from cover-to-cover--and perhaps reading about all the possible ailments and complications all at once could be scary.
  • The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby by Erin McPherson -- I got this free on my Kindle a couple of years ago, and while the title is cheesy and some parts are completely irrelevant to a non-US audience, I actually really enjoyed it. I appreciated the down-to-earth honesty of the author, who talked about her own mistakes and worries during her pregnancy rather than lecturing on how you should do things. I read this book before my morning sickness really kicked in, and there's a massive section on morning sickness that I probably would have appreciated more towards the end of the first trimester. This book is pretty patronising towards husbands, which I didn't love, but aside from that it was an encouraging read.
  • Expecting Better by Emily Oster -- If I had to recommend one book for every pregnant woman to read, it would be this one. After reading and hearing conflicting information on whether alcohol/caffeine/fish/lunch-meat/etc is safe to consume while pregnant, I really appreciated Oster's approach to figuring out the facts behind the warnings pregnant women are given. Oster examines medical research in various situations--everything from sleeping on your back to drinking coffee to common painkillers--and lays out all the evidence to help the reader make an informed decision. This was the book that stopped me from constantly worrying about my caffeine intake. If you're wondering about the risks of Listeria or something similar, read this book rather than randomly Googling--it'll be a lot less frightening. The parts of this book that related to midwife/doctor's appointments and labour were very American, and the chapter on home births was much briefer than I would have liked, so those are the main downfalls of this otherwise helpful book.
  • The Babymoon Experience by Caroline Deacon -- I picked this book up at the library because I came to collect another one that I'd ordered and the librarian couldn't locate it. I wanted to read something to do with pregnancy, and this was on the shelf. I have really mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I appreciated that the author encouraged women not to feel the need to rush back into normal life after having a baby, and to take time our to bond with their baby and recuperate. But I also felt she was a little extreme, suggesting that you sequester yourself in your bedroom in your nightclothes for 2-6 weeks post-delivery. The chapters on labour, recovery and breastfeeding were fantastic and very informative and encouraging, but the tone was rather patronising (and like McPherson's book, rather dismissive of husbands) and she seemed very biased towards certain issues, like co-sleeping and non-medical pain relief. This one is worth reading for the chapters on labour, etc, but some of the other information (diet and exercise, for example) is nearly identical to What to Expect, except the tone is worse.
8. Movement: After being told by every book, website and person on the planet that first-time mums don't feel their baby's movements until at least 18 weeks, if not 22--I felt movements at 15, and Simon was able to feel then at 16. The movements were pretty inconsistent to begin with, and while they nearly always came in the evening, I didn't feel them every day initially. In the last week or so we've been consistently feeling them every morning at 7am and every evening at 8pm, so the baby is obviously in a routine. I'm starting to feel them more in the middle of the day as well, especially if I'm sitting or lying down. The baby tends to be quite active when I'm in the bath (which is where Simon was first able to feel it) but I'm not sure if this is specifically linked to the water, or because I take baths in the evening when the baby usually moves around.

9. Herbal Remedies: I might not be going to completely down the route of replacing my medicine cabinet with herbal remedies, but I did invest in a couple of essential oils early in the second trimester and they've come in handy. I occasionally get tension headaches, which could only be eased by ibuprofen pre-pregnancy (and ibuprofen is one of the painkillers that everyone agrees is to be avoided during pregnancy), and I've found that a drop of lavender oil mixed with a mixer oil (like grapeseed) then rubbed on my forehead is very effective at easing headaches. Simon actually tried this recently when he was feeling ill, and he also found it relaxing. I've also been using peppermint oil with a mixer for backaches. Honestly, I'm not sure if the peppermint oil itself is helpful, or just using some sort of massage oil, but my backaches aren't as bad as they used to be. 

10. Pregnancy Talk: There are some points where I just get bored of talking about pregnancy and the baby. It's not that I'm not excited, but sometimes it feels like it's the only thing people want to talk about when I'm around. My entire identity doesn't revolve upon my pregnancy, and sometimes it's just nice to talk about something else for a change. It's so refreshing to talk about books or cooking or anything other than "Yep, I'm still having a baby, and it's still kicking me and making me feel nauseas." Seriously, it's totally okay to ask me for my favourite pancake recipe or what my opinion is on Season 5 of Castle. I won't be offended if you don't mention the baby straight away.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Recent Meals #2

Simon has been having a lot of fun photographing our recent meals with his new camera, so here are some more recipes we'd like to share. Three new discoveries and two old favourites!

Falafel with Tahini Sauce & Pita Bread
Source: Just a Taste
Who Cooked It: I prepared most of it, and Simon fried the falafel right at the end. 
What We Changed: Nothing major: we used chilli flakes rather than powder, sunflower oil rather than canola, and bottled lemon juice rather than fresh. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? Relatively easy, if you have a large enough food processor. I made the mistake of trying to mix everything together in our small food processor and ended up having to move it all to the larger one, which took up extra time. You do have to let the mixture chill for a while, so don't forget to factor that into preparation time!
Verdict: We really liked this, and it's a relatively quick, cheap and easy meal. We'll definitely be making this again. 

Sweet Potato Risotto with Bacon
Source: How Sweet Eats
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: I actually prepare the sweet potato according to the instructions in The Pioneer Woman's Butternut Squash Risotto. So instead of roasting then puréeing the sweet potato, I cube it and fry it. I used more sweet potatoes and shallots, substituted grana padano for parmesan, and just used two slices of bacon.
What We Omitted: Brown butter, sage and rosemary (although I used lots of parsley to make up for it!)
How Easy Is It? Risotto takes a while to make, so this isn't a quick meal, but it isn't that complicated. However you decide to prepare the sweet potatoes, I don't think you can get this recipe wrong as you'll know when the rice is ready when it stops being crunchy ;)
Verdict: This is one of our favourite comfort meals and we probably make it at least once a month. You can skip the bacon, just use stock rather than wine, or substitute other root vegetables or herbs. It's versatile. But not the prettiest thing to photograph, we've discovered. 

Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli & Garlicky Avocado Grilled Cheese with Tomato Pesto
This is actually two recipes, so I'll share their details separately.

Source: How Sweet Eats for the Zucchini Grilled Cheese
Who Cooked It: Both of us
What We Changed: We used white bread, unseasoned breadcrumbs, bottled lemon juice and we happened to have chilli wholegrain mustard so we used that.
What We Omitted: Garlic powder
How Easy Is It? We made a few silly mistakes--initially forgot the flour in the zucchini coating, tried to heat up the aioli as I'm not meant to be eating raw eggs--and since we were making two recipes at once, I can imagine it's easy to make such mistakes when you're multi-tasking in a small kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of space, and plenty of mixing bowls! And do not try to heat up the aioli. The oil will separate from the rest of the sauce.
Verdict: In spite of our mistakes, this was really tasty. Next time we have a grilled cheese night we'll probably just stick to one type of sandwich and make double portions as we really have limited space in our kitchen (one and a half counters). 

Source: Foodie Crush for the Avocado Grilled Cheese
Who Cooked It: Both of us
What We Changed: We finely chopped shallots and garlic instead of using powder, used unsalted butter, white bread, and happened to have chilli red pesto on hand. Also, I've never seen provolone cheese in any Scottish supermarket, so we used a combination of mozzarella and brie (because we had the latter leftover from another meal). 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? This is a lot easier than the previous recipe; the only thing you need to prepare is the butter mixture. Tip: room-temperature butter is not soft in cold, Scottish kitchens but if you put some in a bowl and leave it on the radiator, it'll soften enough to spread.
Verdict: This was really good as well, and we can't actually decide which recipe we prefer. We recommend both!

Pescado a la Veracruzana (Mexican Fish Veracruz-Style)
Source: Whats4Eats
Who Cooked It: Simon
What We Changed: Substituted tinned tomatoes for fresh and added some fresh coriander that we had in the fridge. 
What We Omitted: Nothing
How Easy Is It? This isn't a super quick recipe, but most of the ingredients tend to be ones we have in our kitchen, so it's easy in terms of our usual cooking. 
Verdict: This is another favourite recipe that we come back to often as we love the combination of strong flavours. We make this with river cobbler fillets, which you can get ridiculously cheap at fish counters in most supermarkets (usually around £1 a fillet). 

Indian-Spiced Squash Soup
Source: A Couple of Cooks
Who Cooked It: Rachel
What We Changed: We added more shallots, some garlic and cut down on the quantity of squash and stock as we were just making this for the two of us. We kept the spices the same, of course ;)
What We Omitted:We skipped the quinoa topping, although it does look good!
How Easy Is It? As far as soups go, this is pretty easy, but make sure you leave plenty of time to cook the squash and puree it. Mine took longer to cook than I expected. 
Verdict: We really liked it, and Simon was surprised that it was so spicy despite not having any chillies in it. Squash is always so cheap, and the combination of squash and coconut milk doesn't make this soup too sweet, especially with all the spices. We ate this with naan bread, which worked perfectly.