Lazy Sunday Lunch – Spiced Pumpkin and Kumara Soup with coconut cream and homemade garlic bread

Pumpkin and Kumara Soup

Hi there, how’re you this week?
Oh that’s great! That does sound like fun.

I myself and everyone else in New Zealand have been experiencing a rather nasty bout of wintry weather. It’s only just eased off now but it is still quite cold in Auckland. So cold in fact that last night I had to turn on my electric blanket! That gave me a shock. Any way, on to this weeks recipe.

This week I’m continuing my soup theme with a gorgeous pumpkin and kumara soup adapted from the Alison Holst Family Favourites cook book. It originally just had pumpkin in it but my Granddad decided it would be interesting to remove a third of the pumpkin and replace it with kumara. I enjoyed it so very much that I knew I had to put the recipe up on my blog. He and I have also upped the quantity of garlic and added the odd extra spice as well. Anyway it’s an absolute delight to eat. Make it your Sunday lunch this weekend. I had it for mine and I wasn’t disappointed.

Notes about the recipe – On the odd chance you don’t know what kumara is, it’s just a New Zealand version of a sweet potato, also commonly known as the potatoes Maori cousin.

For those who don’t like pumpkin/kumara – If you like me don’t enjoy the taste of pumpkin and/or kumara then let me tell you that you should not at all be put off from making this recipe. When you cook them in a soup they turn into a creamy, rich and sweet delight and they have none of the taste you don’t like that you normally find when they are roasted or mashed. On the other hand though, if you do enjoy pumpkin or kumara then you should also enjoy this recipe.

Recipe – Spiced Pumpkin and Kumara Soup with coconut cream

Serves 6-8

“Pumpkins are good vegetables which we often take for granted . Inexpensive, and available for all the cold months, they make a wonderful base for soups. Pumpkin soup does not need to be thickened by any starchy ingredients – in fact the pumpkin puree usually needs to be thinned. This gives the cook great scope, since there are many suitable ‘thinning’ liquids available. Coconut cream is one.” – Alison Holst, a fantastic New Zealand cook book writer.

Ingredients –
2tbsp of butter
10 cloves of garlic, diced
4 tsp of ground cumin
2 tsp of ground coriander
1 kg of pumpkin, unpeeled
500g of kumara (sweet potato), unpeeled
2 cups of water
1 tin of coconut cream or coconut milk
1 tsp of salt, or to taste
2 tsp of tobasco sauce, or to taste
6 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

Method –
Chop the pumpkin and kumara into chunks. Set aside. Gently cook the garlic with the butter in a very large pot, lid on for 1 or 2 mins. Add the spices and cook for another minute or so before adding the pumpkin, kumara, lime leaves and water to the pot. Cover and cook gently for 10 mins or until the pumpkin and kumara is tender, adding more water if it evaporates during the cooking time. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel out seeds and peel off the skin. Put the remaining flesh in a food processor, puree, then add the coconut cream/milk , salt and tobasco sauce. Taste and balance the flavours, adding more water or coconut if you think it is necessary. Sieve the soup to remove any debris and reheat when required. Serve with an assortment of cheeses, I reccomend blue vein and brie and the below recipe for garlic bread. Grapes, wine, cider or simple, warm bread would also go nicely.
Above recipe from the about sean’s food blog

Recipe – Homemade Garlic Bread
Serves 6-8 people well.

So many people make garlic bread wrong. Or badly. They always put theirs in tin foil before cooking it in the oven and I cannot understand what this is meant to achieve. Whenever I’ve tried it this way the bread has been soggy and the garlic less pronounced than I would have liked leaving something to be desired. My Granddad and I make ours by getting a nice baguette from a French bakery (If you’re living in Auckland I’d recommend La Tropiezienne in Browns Bay or Cafe Bonjour in Queen Street) and smear it with a combination of soft butter squished up with plenty of diced garlic. It works and tastes a treat. Far better than with your everyday tinfoil method.

Note – If you find that you run out of butter before all the slices of bread are covered then keep making more and continue to smear it onto the bread until done.

Ingredients –
2 baguettes from a reputable French bakery. Avoid ones made in your supermarket.
About 1/4 of a pack of butter, softened
6 cloves of garlic, diced, or to taste.

Method –
Get a bread knife and diagonally slice the baguettes into thin rounds, about three quarters of an inch thick. Dice your garlic and put it into a bowl with the softened butter. Thoroughly squish up with a fork until well combined. Generously smear the onto the slices of bread and then layer them on an oven tray lined with parchment paper. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit on bake, using the middle shelf. Cook till the bread is golden brown and the butter melted. Serve warm and enjoy.

Above recipe from the about sean’s food blog

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