Archive for the 'Soups' Category

Heart warming Roast Butternut pumpkin and leek soup…..yum!

May 13, 2010

Bowl of roasted pumpkin and leek soup

I have to say pumpkin soup – and I mean good pumpkin soup – is the “feel good” soup equivalent of risotto. No matter what kind of terrible day you have had it will make you feel better.

Pumpkin soup is a stock standard in Australia and can be found pretty much in every decent cafe during the winter months. It is a very popular choice for lunch on a cold day.

As it is apparently spring here this recipe should really be forgotten about until November. However it is still rather on the chilly side, I am being polite about it (its May what the heck is going on!!!!)

So pumpkin soup is well and truly still on the agenda.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized butternut pumpkin (squash) approx 1 kg peeled and diced
1 large leek
1 brown onion
2 medium-sized potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Vegetable or Chicken stock (2 stock cubes or equivalent in “real” stock if you are being virtuous)
Double cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Peel, seed and dice the pumpkin into 1 cm cubes (approx). Pop into a low flat oven proof dish (ideally ceramic but a baking tray will do). Drizzle with olive oil (approx 2 table spoons), sprinkle with a pinch of salt and grind over black pepper. Toss with your hands so that the pumpkin is evenly coated with the oil.

Pumpkin roasting in oven

Pop in oven for approx 25 – 30 mins (or until pumpkin is soft and a little golden) – keep checking it to make sure it is not burning and toss every 10 mins so that the pumpkin roasts evenly.

Leek and onion sauteed

While the pumpkin is in the oven finely slice the onion. Thoroughly wash the leek to get rid of any dirt/grit and finely slice. Pop onion and leek in a large soup pot (with a heavy base would be good but not absolutely essential). Add a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Saute over a low to medium heat until soft and sweet (the sharp smell from the onions should have disappeared and your eyes should not be watering anymore).

(By the way I know you are probably thinking “why is she using a frying pan?”, yes I know I haven’t mentioned a frying pan but I didn’t have a large pot – was staying in a holiday house in the middle of nowhere and you have to make do with what you have.)

Peel and dice the potatoes into 1 cm cubes and add to the pot.

Diced potatoes added to sauteed leek and onion

Add roasted pumpkin and stock cubes and add approx 1 1/2 litres of boiling water (or 1 1/2 litres of stock). Should be enough to cover all the veg and a little bit more (you can always add more water if you need).

Roast pumpkin, stock and boiling water being added to the pot

Simmer until all veg is soft – approx 20 – 30 mins.

Pumpkin and leek soup simmering

Use a hand blender (bar mix) and puree the soup or you can do this in a food processor or blender. Be careful if you are using a blender – remove the small vent so that pressure does not build up and when blending cover with a folded tea towel.

** I forgot to do this once and had boiling hot soup flying around the kitchen….amazingly I managed to escape without third degree burns!

Once blended check for seasoning, add salt and pepper if required and more boiling water if it is too thick. If it is too watery put back on the heat and reduce until it is the desired thickness.

Blended roast pumpkin and leek soup

You can at this point add a splash of double cream but it is not essential (I don’t usually do this but the last time I made it I had some cream in the fridge anyway).

I served this soup with grilled cheese on toast with a little scraping of hot English mustard (a little bit of a random choice but it worked!!)

Tip: This soup freezes really well, if you are going to freeze a few portions I would recommend that you leave the cream out though.

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Health giving vegetable soup

May 10, 2010

Vegetable soup

Sometimes you feel that you just need a wee bit of a boost. When you have been working your ass off, partying your ass off or just feel a little run down, this soup is a great “pick me up”.

I suppose it is my version of a minestrone and you can pretty much add whatever veg is in season – this is my usual selection.

Serves about 6 – 8 people

Ingredients

1 medium brown onion
1 leek
4 large cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 smallish butternut pumpkin (about 500 grams when peeled and diced)
2 super sweet cobs of corn
1 medium courgette
6 medium ripe fresh tomatoes
1 bunch fresh asparagus
150 grams baby spinach
1/2 large bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 bunch of basil
1/4 finely sliced savoy cabbage
2 good quality veg or chicken stock cubes
1 tin borlotti beans
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Take a large heavy based pan add a good glug of olive oil, finely diced onion and garlic, finely sliced leek and a large pinch of salt. Saute on a low – medium heat until soft and sweet.

Sauteed onion, garlic and leek

Dice carrots, celery (1 cm cubes) and pumpkin (2 cm cubes) and add to the pot, saute for 5 mins. Add finely chopped tomatoes, approx 1 1/2 litres of boiling water and stock cubes. If you have a bay tree feel free to add in a couple of fresh bay leaves.

Carrot and celery being added to the pop

Tomatoes added to the pot

Simmer until carrots are soft – while the soup is simmering prepare the rest of the veg.

Cut the kernels off the cobs of corn, dice the courgette into 1 cm cubes, wash the baby spinach and finely slice the savoy cabbage (making sure you remove the tough inner core). Remove woody ends from Asparagus and slice on and angle into 1/2 cm pieces.

Corn kernels, diced courgettes, finely sliced savoy cabbage

****Note: to remove the woody ends of the asparagus hold near the base and bend the until it snaps – it will naturally break at the point that the woody bit ends – how convenient!

Once carrots are soft add in the corn, cabbage, courgettes and drained and rinsed borlotti beans, keep simmering until corn and courgette are tender.

Then finally add in the asparagus, baby spinach and finely chopped herbs.

Asparagus added to soup

Soup with spinach and herbs added

Taste the soup and add seasoning if needed. It should be thick and very tasty!!

I usually serve it with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of top quality peppery extra virgin olive oil.

Yummy!

Now if you want to make this into a more hearty meal you can add about 200 grams of pasta (farfalle or fusilli) at the same time as you add the corn.

One of my friends calls this a Stoup (a stew/soup).

It is quite nice to grate some Parmesan over the top just before you serve too.