SQUASH AND HONEY SOUP
We tend to forget how essential squash were to cooks working on a humble budget before the potato became an everyday ingredient in Spanish larders, a long process with an uneven chronology and patchy geography defying attempts at generalization except for repeated leaps in areas of cultivation during economic crises. Altamiras would have received many as alms and his recipes show his ability to put all to good use: hard fleshed varieties, tender summer ones, and even those brined to preserve them. Some he cooked in savoury recipes, but he also sweetened them with luscious additions of sugar, fruit, sweated onion or, as here, honey. You can best measure your liquid components – milk or cream, meat stock and honey – by eye to complement pumpkin flesh’s unpredictable sweetness. Sometimes I replace milk or cream with goat’s milk kefir, reserving a little to add separately, or you can add one of many garnishes, such as pumpkin or chia seeds, fresh parsley or mint leaves, diced seared jamón ibérico, prawns, fried bread and even very small meatballs.