The New Year is here and I’m back from a well deserved rest with my family back home… I hope you all had a brilliant time over the holiday period and are ready for a fantastic year ahead. I sure am!
Like promised I want to show you what I was up to in my mum’s kitchen. From the several dishes cooked I decided to start with a warm and delicious pumpkin and ginger soup!
After a long day traveling to Portugal – including technical problems with aircraft, hijacked plane (yes I was flying on that day!), change of route and unexpected taxi rides – we finally managed to reunite ourselves with my family. It was really nice to see everyone, share this time of the year with loved ones and we were so so lucky with the weather! Yes, I know that Malta had the coldest holiday time ever, but luckily for us, in Portugal we had warm sunny days and mild evenings. Makes a change from the usual cold and rain.
I had a beautiful menu prepared for the feasts. I spent weeks thinking about the dishes, the ingredients and the preferences of everyone. I even created and printed little nice menus to put on the table on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day. But guess what? Nothing went to plan! On Xmas eve, my aunt was in charge of the desserts and she changed her mind last minute and then I couldn’t find all the ingredients needed for my starters. We had 2 main courses for dinner so for Xmas lunch we had so many leftovers that we only managed the cook a quick lasagna and one dessert. Everything else were leftovers from the night before! Oh well, this is what dealing with family is like, nothing goes to plan but we are all happy together 🙂
So this soup ended up moving from Xmas Day lunch starter to Xmas Day dinner main course 🙂
Pumpkin and ginger soup
- 1,5 kg pumpkin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 head of garlic cut in half horizontally
- 2 cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and roughly chopped
- Handful of rosemary sprigs
- Olive oil to drizzle
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 30 g parmesan freshly grated
- 800 ml chicken stock
- 100 ml double cream
- 15 g butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 400 g chopped fresh mushrooms
- 10 g butter
- Parmesan to grate
For the pumpkin puree:
- Preheat the oven - 170C
- Cut the pumpkin in big pieces and remove the seeds (no need to peel). Place it on a baking tray. Score the flesh and season with salt and pepper. Then rub the pieces with the cut garlic halves. Lay rosemary sprigs over the pumpkin and the garlic and ginger around. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for about 1 hour or until tender.
- When ready, remove from the oven and remove the rosemary, garlic and ginger. Reserve.
- while still hot, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and puree in a blender or food processor.
For the soup:
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for 5-6 mins until soft and translucent. Scoop out the flesh from 2/3 roasted garlic cloves and add it to he pan with the nutmeg and the pieces of roasted ginger. Season and saute for a further 1-2 mins.
- Stir in the pumpkin puree and parmesan, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 mins. Stir in the cream and heat for a minute.
- With a hand blender or on a food processor, blitz the soup until smooth. Add the butter and blitz again to obtain a velvety smooth texture. Return to the pan and reheat if necessary.
For the garnish:
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms over a high heat for a few minutes until the moisture released has cooked off and the pan is quite dry. Add the butter, season the mushrooms and remove from the heat.
- Pour the hot soup into warmed bowls and spoon the sauteed mushrooms into the middle. Top with grated parmesan, grind over some pepper and serve