RECIPE: Thai Pumpkin Soup

I’ve never cooked with pumpkin before and was surprised to discover that you can’t really cook with the ones sold for carving.

The only reason I made the soup was because pumpkin was on offer in the supermarket and I thought that for £1 each it would make a tasty cheap soup.
The next task was to look up a recipe, some using spices, some using dairy to enrich it, some using Thai ingredients. Only one thing wrong I didn’t have any lemongrass, chillies or red Thai paste. However I did have coconut and a jar of chopped chillies. So I set to work on my version of the soup, here’s the result and recipe.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:  Enough for 4 to 6  portions.

  • 1 cooking pumpkin weighing about 1 Kilo
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • half block of creamed coconut
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped chillies (or 2 fresh red chillies chopped – up to you if you add seeds!)
  • 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven 180 degrees Gas Mark 4.
  • Quarter the pumpkin,  remove seeds and thready pith. Slice each quarter into 2 and place on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for approx 30 minutes or until soft.
  • Meanwhile, fry the onion in a little oil until transparent – do not let it brown.
  • Add the stock, chillies and coconut. ( break up into small chunks – it will melt into the liquid)
  • Bring to the boil and leave to simmer stirring to melt the coconut.
  • When the pumpkin is soft, scrape the flesh off the peel and chop into smaller pieces. Add the pumpkin to the stock base.
  • Simmer for 15 mins.

To Serve:

  • Blitz the soup with a hand whisk until smooth. Add more stock or hot water until it is the consistency you like.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve with toasted tortilla wraps cut into wedges / toast / prawn crackers

Alternatives:

  • Use canned coconut milk instead of the creamed coconut, reduce the amount of stock used to around 700ml
  • Add a stalk or two of lemongrass – bruise and cut in half – remove before blitzing.
  • Use a couple of teaspoons of red Thai paste instead of chillies and lemongrass.

If you’d like to see more recipes click RECIPES

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REVIEW: Red Hot World Buffet Cardiff September 2013

I was recently chosen to join the #RedHotTastemakers (you can read more here).

This was my first visit as a Red Hot Tastemaker. We booked for 4th September lunchtime. I took Hubby along as he was almost as keen as me to be part of it!

We arrived at 1:30pm and was warmly welcomed. We were shown to a table in the middle of the downstairs area. Hubby prefers to sit by a window or along a wall so I asked if we could have a table along the wall. No problem,  a table was set up and we were introduced to our waitress Marketa.
I explained that I was a Tastemaker and had to show her my email confirmation. She checked with the manager and came back with a big smile and confirmed that she was now aware of what the scheme is. Bless her!!

red hot buffet,

Oriental/Curry Station, Cakes, Sushi, Pasta Station

This is what we had and our opinions:

First Drink:

  • Cosmopolitan Cocktail and Cobra Beer – Cosmo was lovely – vodka and cranberry always a good mix. Cobra went well with the main course curry.

Starters:

  • Me – Sushi – very tasty and I was glad to see they had pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce available. I did try eating with chopsticks..but resorted to fingers and a fork.
  • Hubby – Soup – hot, tasty and quite spicy.

Salad Bar: Both of us picked bits and bobs from the selection.

  • Me – The Thai glass noodles and Tomato and mozzarella were my favourites.
  • Hubby – Liked the Tomato and mozzarella and the sprouting beans.
red hot buffet starters

Starters and Salads

Main:  There is so much to choose from, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Pasta, Pizza, Teppanyaki but we both decided to go for Curry and we ended up choosing the same. Lamb Rogan, Chicken Korma and Pilau Rice. We also picked up some Onion Bhaji and Nan Bread.

  • Me – I preferred the Rogan, although it had a bit too much clove for my liking. I also prefer to have some onion and peppers in my Rogan.  The Pilau rice was exceptional, slightly spiced and fluffy.
  • Hubby – he preferred the Korma but was disappointed that he had to fish around for some chicken despite the pan having just been replenished on the buffet.
  • We both liked the Onion Bhaji, they had a good flavour and good crunchy crust.

Dessert: The selection is amazing. Everything is in tiny portions so you can fill your plate with lots of samples. There is also a chocolate fountain with cake and marshmallows that you can dip in.

  • Me – I liked all my selection, strawberry mouse, mango baked yogurt, chocolate brownies, my favourite were the doughy balls..served warm in a syrup – they are really scrummy..I could have had more of them!!
  • Hubby – He had apple crumble first which he thought was yummy. He then went back up as I told him there was a coconut and cherry dessert up there..he loves cherries!! He came back with a plate full of goodies, the cherry dessert, some of the doughy balls, brownies, jelly, mousse and mango yogurt. He scoffed the lot and declared that the desserts were his favourite part of the meal!
red hot buffet, curry, dessert, drink

Curry, Dessert Selection, Mojito!

2nd Drink

  • Apple Mojito and Kingfisher beer. The Mojito was delicious and I’ll definitely have it again. Mint, apple and vodka in a BIG glass..

Overall we had a great time at Red Hot. The food is well presented with plenty of choice to suit all palates and appetites.  Marketa took good care of us and was very patient waiting whilst I decided which cocktail to have.

We were both a little disappointed with the curry (hubby actually said mine were better – Sorry..) so we’ll try something else next time.  The starters and desserts were the stars of our lunch – oh along with the Apple Mojito!

The only other thing I would like to comment on is the ladies toilets. The entrance is VERY dark and inside smelt a bit (stale wee and horrid disinfectant), paper was peeling off the walls.  Could do with an overhaul!!

*Disclaimer as part of the #RedHotTastemakers we received a meal and drinks in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts pictures and content is my own and cannot be reproduced without permission.

RECIPE: Chorizo and Bean Supper Soup (293/366)

I caught an episode of Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers and he made a Chorizo and Bean soup. I have a lot of time Nigel as he’s a home cook not a chef. Most of his recipes are easy and can easily be adapted to suit your own taste. The following recipe is based on his recipe, a lot of the ingredients are the same but I’ve adapted it for our family taste.

I left out celery as I’m not keen on it cooked so used a red pepper instead. I used tinned tomatoes rather than fresh. I also used mixed beans rather than cannelloni beans. The beans I used have been in the back of the cupboard for a while, mixed bean salad which I drained off. I would also have used mixed beans in chilli sauce that you can buy in any of the large supermarkets.

Oh and I cooked in the slow cooker!! You can cook it on the stove top for 1 to 2 hours.

For 4 big servings as a main course or supper.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions – peeled and diced
  • 150g  carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper – deseeded and diced
  • 1 tin mixed beans
  • 100g Chorizo cut into chunks
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 pint hot water
  • pepper to taste
  • few sprigs of fresh basil (optional)

Chorizo and Bean Supper Soup

Method

  • Really easy – sling everything except the basil into the slow cooker.
  • Turn onto high for about 4 hours or until the carrots are tender.
  • Adjust seasoning and add snipped up basil.
  • Serve with crusty bread.

If you’d like to see more recipes click RECIPES

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