On weekdays, late afternoons and early evenings seem to be an endless round of ferrying kids to sports practices in rush-hour traffic. Mealtimes can be erratic, so soups are a favourite, no matter what the weather, purely on the basis that they can be reheated as required. Often I make a big batch and will freeze some for later.

On one rush-hour drive a while ago, when we were talking about what was for dinner, one of my sons said he preferred a smoother, pureed soup. Why? So he could concentrate on the flavour without any distractions, he said. Which set me pondering for quite a while afterwards as to why that could be preferable. The roasted pumpkin and red lentil soup featured here has become a family favourite since that particular conversation.

Popular too are the black bean and haloumi patties. It’s a recipe that has infinite variations: you can change or omit the cheese, use kumara or carrot in place of the pumpkin and if you’re vegan you can leave out the egg – although it will make the mix a little crumbly. Sometimes I’ll make small patties and serve them with a seasonal salad with some guacamole. They freeze brilliantly and simply need defrosting before frying. You can also bake them, just brush with oil and cook for 30 minutes.