I certainly wasn’t looking for another recipe for butternut squash soup. It has long been a regular part of my fall repertoire. But, the soup in “The Ginger & White Cookbook” has become my new standby.

The recipe is simple, the squash roasted with garlic and spices then pureed with stock and coconut milk. What sets it off is the cinnamon, pepper flakes, and fennel seed added to the oil for roasting, giving the soup a complex flavor at once sweet and tart. The consistency is perfect for dipping crusty bread.

Ginger & White cafes are known in London for their simple, hearty food and exceptionally well-made cups of coffee. The recipes shared here by owners Emma and Nicholas Scott and Tonia George give me the same kind of simple satisfaction that I get hunkering down in a coffee shop on a snowy day with a warm drink and a crumbly scone.

Throughout the book are similarly uncomplicated but thoughtful dishes. Spicy baked beans with chorizo and feta make for a delicious lunch and leftovers. Several dishes star braised corned beef, and the book offers instructions on making and keeping it on hand as a pantry ingredient. There are delightfully British recipes for toast “soldiers” dipped in soft-boiled eggs and a “Coronation Chicken Sandwich,” purportedly created for Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 crowning. For me, the ease with which I could make lemon curd to spread over a light layer cake was a revelation.

I stumbled a few times. With the soup, the large squash I used needed longer to cook than the 45 minutes allowed. The section on making a perfect cup of coffee assumes that home cooks have an espresso machine handy. And I found that I needed to cut the sugar content in the book’s excellent pickle recipe to suit my taste for a pickle that is just slightly more sour than sweet.

Still, for a book of soul-warming recipes and with cold months before us, these points felt like a lipstick smudge on a mug at a favorite cafe – utterly forgivable.




Serves 6

2 large butternut squash

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove, crushed


1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon fennel seed

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2/3 cups vegetable stock

1-2/3 cups canned coconut milk


To serve


Heavy cream

Chili oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Halve the squash. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place the squash in a large roasting pan, cut sides up.

Mix the oil with the garlic, cinnamon, fennel seeds, pepper flakes and plenty of salt and pepper. Drizzle this mixture over the squash, then cover the roasting pan tightly with foil and roast for about 45 minutes, until soft (55 minutes for larger squash).

Scoop out the flesh of the squash from the skins and transfer it to a large saucepan. Cover with water, add the stock and bring to a simmer.

Blend the soup to a smooth puree in a food processor. Return the soup to the pan and loosen it with the coconut milk. Reheat and serve in soup bowls, sprinkled with paprika and drizzled with heavy cream, or substitute any remaining coconut milk for the cream. Offer chili oil at the table.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.