Monday 13 October 2008

Poor 'ickle 'ick boy

Having heard the other day that poor ‘ickle Murt had been struggling with a very sore throat (which turned out to be tonsillitis), I thought I better make him something comforting and nutritious for his tea. As we still had the huge pumpkin from Harry’s organic veg box, what better time to tackle it? A pumpkin soup is always impressively smooth and velvety when blended and considering you can make it with very few ingredients also, it’s definitely one of my favourite soups to make & eat. It certainly did the trick with the poor ‘ickle mite as he's all better now.

Tea-Time Tonsillitis Tackler

Makes 3 ½ pts which serves about 6 (plenty for our tea and plenty to freeze in little pots for another time)

2 tbsp olive oil

handful sage leaves

8 strips smoked streaky bacon, diced

1 large onion, diced

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

1.5 Kg pumpkin, peeled

1 ½ Pts chicken stock

To Serve:

A little single cream

Some pink peppercorns, crushed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat the oil in a large pan and tipping the pan to one side fry the sage in the pool of oil for a few seconds until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. The sage will have flavoured the oil a little as well as being ready to use as a garnish.

2 Next, fry the bacon for 2-3 minutes until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

3 Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until just catching colour. Stir the cumin and coriander seeds through and toast for 1 minute before adding the pumpkin. Saute for 3-4 minutes until catching colour in places.

4 Return half of the bacon to the pan and pour the stock over. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer, cover and leave to cook for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.

5 Blend with a hand blender or liquidiser until smooth and season to taste.

6 Serve garnished with the crisp sage leaves, remaining bacon, a drizzle of cream and a scattering of pink peppercorns.

Pink peppercorns can be hard to find. I usually buy mine from my local asian store when I’m stocking up on big bags of spices. Otherwise, try a good deli, although they most likely won’t be as good value there!

Now I just need to convince him to suck on a garlic clove for afters!

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