Pumpkin soup

I am trying to add new recipes to my repertoire will try to attempt a new recipe every week and then blog about it (can’t promise, but will try). This week I am trying out a spicy pumpkin soup.

At Halloween, Matt loves carving pumpkins with Lukas and very often he takes the left over “meat” form the pumpkin and makes pumpkin pies with it. This year it went in the freezer and in my quest to use whatever I had to save money (and to see if I could do it), I decided to attempt a pumpkin soup. Inspired by a recipe, I set out to create my own (to be honest, I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I had to adapt – but let’s just call it “making it my own”.)

Spicy pumpkin soup with garlic croutons and roasted pumpkin seeds

Makes 2 hearty portions:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 spoonful of oil and a knob of butter to fry the onions in.
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • Chili or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • 500 g pumpkin “meat” (1 lb)
  • 0,75 litre of chicken or vegetable stock (1,5 pints)
  • 1 spoonful of brown sugar
  • a spoonful of lemon juice (to balance the sweetness- optional)
  • 1 dl cream (use coffee creamer as it’s not quite as high in calories) (1/5th of a pint)
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds to garnish
  • Croutons made out of bread, fried in olive oil and garlic, to garnish

Fry the onions and garlic in the melted oil and butter mixture for about 4-5 minutes till soft. Add the curry powder, the ground cumin and the nutmeg to the mix (and the chili if you want a hot soup). Now add the pumpkin and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the stock and leave to simmer for 1/2 hour. Puré with a hand blender or a liquidiser. Add the brown sugar and the cream at the end.

Fry the croutons in a mixture of butter, olive oil and chopped garlic. Towards the end, add a handful of pumpkin seeds and fry til lightly brown and crisp. Serve a small handful on top of the soup.

Serve with bread and a sprinkle of chili flakes for a spicier soup.

Tomato soup, a la Egg Café, Liverpool

Tomato Soup a la Egg Cafe

When I was 24, I went to the UK as an exchange student. I ended up in quaint little Ripon, in North Yorkshire with my friend Ingrid. The University there had 850 students and we had a great time (this is where I met my husband when he directed me in a play about voyeurism, but that is a completely different story).

Now, my friend Pernille also went on an exchange program in the UK, but she ended up at Liverpool Hope – a million miles from the tiny, close knit community of Ripon. The dorms there were massive, there were tons of people and the noise was immense. I don’t remember much of the trip I took there to visit her, as I seem to recall  it containing quite a lot of alcohol………. but there are two things that do stand out in my mind

  1. going on a pub crawl in Liverpool. It was -5 degrees, freezing, and like the good vikings we Scandinavian girls are, we dressed for the weather: a big coat, gloves, scarf and boots…. The pub crawl tool place in a square and I guess the Liverpudlian girls did not see the point in dressing up warmly. I still, 12 years later, remember a load of girls wearing less than I would wear on the beach in freezing condition. Oddly enough, we three Scandinavian girls, dressed in practical non flesh revealing clothes, got more attention than the bikini clad ones…
  2. The tomato soup at Egg Café: my friend had discovered this little, bohemian loft café, which served the most amazing vegetarian dishes. We especially fell in love with their tomato soup and since then my friend tried to recreate it. It is a good few years since she passed the recipe on to me and even more since we visited the café, and recipes develop,  but here is my attempt at making The Egg Café Tomato Soup:

Ingredients:

  •  1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 medium sized carrots, finely grated
  • 1 large, red pepper, charred on a high heat in the oven, skin removed and cut into small cubes.
  • 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, cut into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1,25 liters of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes (optional – the soup at the cafe was not hot – I just like it that way)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

Fry the onions and garlic until soft, then add the other vegetables and chili flakes – keep stirring or the starch from the potatoes will burn. Cook this for a couple of minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and the chicken stock, stir and leave to boil for 15-20 minutes or till all the vegetables have gone completely soft. Season with sugar and blend with a hand blender till you get a thick, smooth soup (no need to thicken it as the vegetables provide the thickness)

Serve with crispy bacon and homemade garlic bread. I like to make my garlic bread like a pizza on my pizza stone – make a dough as you normal, roll it out thinly with a rolling pin. Make a mixture of butter, garlic and finely chopped parsley and smear it all over the base – cook on your hot pizza stone (if you don’t have one, you can use a hot baking sheet, dusted with flour) on high heat until brown and crispy. You can add a little grated cheese to make it even more delicious…..

A big hit with my family, is serving this soup with cheesy buns – you simply make normal buns, flatten them before baking and sprinkle them with cheese.

As it happens, the Egg Cafe still exists and seems to be thriving – memories fade and I have no idea if my soup at all resembles the original one, but I know it tastes delicious and that it’s healthy (if you choose to serve it without cheesy buns, garlic bread or bacon)

http://www.eggcafe.co.uk/

You are allowed to change your mind – fact!!!!

Had this whole elaborate New Year’s Eve seafood and fish starter planned, and then discovered (well, I already knew, but thought I didn’t care) that one of the guests doesn’t really appreciate seafood and fish………. I guess I thought my amazing cooking skills would sway her, but then I realised that 1) I didn’t want to take that chance New Year’s Eve and 2) I didn’t want to cook two different dishes, so I have changed my mind – and I AM allowed – even if I did write something else the other day.

New starter (and now I have shopped for it all, so it’s not going to change this time, I think):

Soup of Jerusalem Artichoke (jordskok), topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and parma ham, served with bread baked in my Römertopf.

Jerusalem artichoke

Parma ham

Bread in the Römertopf, not my picture - pictures is from madifoelgemig.bloegspot

Ingredients:

  • 2 leek (cut finely)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoonful of butter
  • 400 gr. Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 250 gr. potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 liter of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 handful pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pack of 125 g parma ham

This is what you do:

  • heat the butter in a pan and fry the onions and leeks.
  • Add the chopped Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes and the stock.
  • Bring to the boil and leave to simmer till the vegetables are tender for about 20 minutes.
  • Take a little bit of the stock out of the pan and set aside. Now pure the rest of the soup with a liquidiser (blender). Use the stock set aside to adjust the texture of the soup to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds and the parma ham (separately) till they are both crisp.
  • Serve soup with crisp parma ham and pumpkin seeds and freshly baked bread!