'Is it really still summery in your neck of the woods,' I asked of a dear friend who now lives up north. 'Yep,' she replied. 'We're expecting blue skies and a balmy 28 degrees C today.'
Her response had me swooning, particularly as I had woken up to a brisk Canberra morning, heavy with thick fog and grey skies.
Life is still very busy at The Blue House, and with my book nearing completion, I still don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Besides, Peter and I are doing our utmost to lose some weight. We're succeeding too, by the way. He has lost some twelve kilograms, while I have shed over eight kilograms... and I am still counting.
We are both feeling better for it. Those middle-aged aches and pains are abating, and we both have more energy for swimming laps and aqua resistance training at the pool, and cycling at break-neck speeds around the local duck ponds.
In a recent article featuring my review of the IKEA multigrain bread mix, I mentioned that I had teamed the freshly baked bread with a roasted butternut pumpkin soup. I also promised that I would share my recipe with you. A few lovely readers have already emailed to enquire about the recipe, so here it is for you.
One of the things that I like about the cooler months, is that it's so delicious to have the oven on, especially when you can bake bread and roast something alongside. That's what I did here. The pumpkin, garlic and onion were on one shelf, the bread tin on another.
The vegetables are roasted, not fried, so the soup is quite wholesome, methinks. As you are baking entire pieces of pumpkin, there's no dicing and peeling involved. And, with a hint of curry, the soup tastes delicious, too.
I should mention that the dollop of sour cream was entirely (naughty) Peter's idea. If you prefer, you can serve the soup without it, or use Greek yoghurt instead. Oh, and I would usually finish off the dish with a sprinkle of chopped chives, but my man says they taste like 'grass clippings'. Go figure.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT PUMPKIN SOUP
1.5kg butternut pumpkin*
1 large brown onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
300mls vegetable stock
1 teaspoon curry powder, optional
sour cream or yoghurt, to serve
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line a roasting tin with baking parchment.
Cut the pumpkin in half, lengthways. Scoop out the seeds from the core and discard them. Leave the skin on, now wash the pumpkin halves and pat dry with paper towelling.
Using a sharp paring knife, carefully peel the skin off the onion, leaving the base and top intact. Leave the onion whole. Peel the garlic cloves and leave them whole.
Arrange the pumpkin halves, the onion and the garlic cloves onto the prepared baking tin and drizzle with the olive oil, then season with sea salt and cracked pepper (see images below).
Roast the vegetables for an hour, perhaps longer, until the flesh is tender (see images below). Allow the vegetables to cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and place it into a food processor, along with the roasted onion and garlic.
Puree until smooth. (With the Tefal Cuisine Companion, fit the ultrablade to the bowl, then blend on speed 12 for three minutes). Pour the stock into the bowl or jug and process until thoroughly combined. If using curry powder, add it now.
If using the Tefal Cuisine Companion, turn to slow cook setting and reheat the soup until it is ready to serve. Otherwise, transfer the soup to a saucepan and heat until warmed through. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt, if desired. Serves 4.
Preparation and cooking time: allow one and a half hours maximum.
*Buy two butternut pumpkin halves to save time if you wish.
Tell me dear readers, it is like summer or winter in your part of the world? And do you think herbs such as chives taste like grass clippings?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.