I have been procrastinating about starting this blog for some time now, but today is the perfect day to get started. It’s a very typical winter’s day, and it hasn’t stopped raining all morning, so no excuses… Well actually I could be in the kitchen, but it’s time to start sharing some of the fun things I have been doing since we made this wonderful lifestyle change.
Apart from stocking the pantry and freezer, I’ve been having a wonderful time sourcing wonderful local ingredients, sussing out small local farmer’s markets, meeting the producers, and I’ve even been to a cheese making class, which was a fantastic opportunity to meet like minded people and brush up on the little knowledge that I have about making cheese.
Having picked up some amazing ingredients along the way, of course, the preserves pantry is starting to look fantastic. I’ve made jellies, pickles, sauces etc. and what I am really looking forward to trying out is the mulled wine pears that are sitting there just crying out to be used… But that’s for another blog.
Today I wanted to share with you, the recipe for the wonderful pumpkin soup that I have made. Perfect for days like these… Comforting, warm, and even a little luxurious. It is my Pumpkin Soup with Yoghurt and a Crunchy Topping.
We recently went out for a drive to check out some of the country side, and along the way, we picked up a few pumpkins from a farm gate stall. I love the combination of pumpkin and cumin, which is where this soup started. Often a pumpkin soup has either apple or potato added, just to thicken it a little. But having a small piece of sweet potato that needed to be used, I thought it would be a perfect alternative. As I was making the soup, I was wondering how I would serve it. I had some French shallots, and knew that these could be thinly sliced and fried, making them delicious and crunchy; and of course, who can go past some lovely crispy bacon. The final addition was the dukkah, which just finished it off and blended perfectly, given the earlier addition of the cumin to the soup.
The result was a delicious, silky smooth soup, complemented by the cool tartness of the yoghurt, the crispy topping of the shallots and bacon and the final sprinkle of dukkah to add a further hint of spice to the dish.
- 600 g Butternut pumpkin peeled and chopped into 2.5 cm dice
- 175 g Sweet potato peeled and chopped into 2.5 cm dice
- 125 g Onion peeled and chopped
- 75 g Celery chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 cups hot chicken stock
- 125 g eye bacon julienned
- 75 g French shallot thinly sliced
- 4 tsp Dukkah
- 4 tbs Greek yoghurt
Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Place pumpkin and sweet potato into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to make sure that all pieces are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, until soft and slightly charred.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and celery, and sauté over a low heat until soft, but not coloured. Add cumin and continue to sauté until fragrant.
Add 2 tbs olive oil to a hot frying pan, and fry the shallots until crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
Add bacon to frying pan and fry until crisp, remove from pan, drain on paper towel and keep warm.
When pumpkin is ready, add to onion and celery, together with hot stock, bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
Blend your soup using a stick blender, or put it into a food processor or blender and blend until silky smooth. (If you are using a blender or food processor, allow the soup to cool a little before hand before pureeing.)
Return soup to pan, check seasoning, gently reheat.
Serve in nice wide bowls, topped each with a tbs of Greek yoghurt, some bacon, then shallots, finally sprinkle with dukkah, and if you must, a little drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
Until next time…
PS – Please bare with me as I get this site up and running!