Sunday, 17 October 2010

A soupcon of something

At this time of year, as the temperature starts to drop along with the leaves on the trees, soup becomes the perfect lunch. It's warming, and generally a healthy option. It's quick to heat up, and even if you don't have access to a microwave or cooker, you can take it in a flask.

I have a serious soup habit and am quite fussy. Only fresh soups will do for me these days. They are expensive, so I often make my own to save money. Making soup is the easiest thing in the world if you have a blender. A hand blender is best as you can blend in the pan, making less mess.

I do, however, get in a bit of a soup rut. I often end up just making soup from the leftover veg at the end of the week. This means that most end up tasting quite similar and looking distinctly orange from all the carrots and swedes that dominate this time of year.

So, I'm starting another meme. A soup recipe meme. The idea is we all share a recipe for a soup. It can be anything - a new recipe you've discovered or designed yourself, your ultimate recipe for a particular soup, an unusual soup or just an old favourite. It just has to be soup. I've designed a badge and everything. And yes, I know that soupcon has a fancy cedilla thingy under the c, but the application I used to make the badge wouldn't allow me to enter fancy schmancy characters. I'm hoping we've all got different favourites and we'll be able to discover new soups to keep us warm in the colder months.

So, the guidelines for this meme are as follows:

1. Write your post including recipe and add my spectacular badge.
2. Mention this post so your readers can find other blogger recipes for some fab soups.
3. Tag some other bloggers to join in and share their favourite soup recipes.
4. Once you have published, come back and add a link to your recipe below. The Linky tool is set up to stay open all Winter so there is no rush, but please let me know if it's not working properly.

My soup is an unusual one.  In the mid 90s, I went to work for a company that ran a chain of American themed diners and nightclub, looking after their IT. I would visit venues who had problems I couldn't solve over the phone, or to install new equipment and software. One day, I was called to Basingstoke to fix a major problem. Whenever you turned up to fix the computers at a venue, nothing would be too much trouble. The staff would offer you drinks or food if the kitchen was open and bring it up to the office. On this occasion, they offered to get me some lunch. I asked what their soup was and was intrigued by the answer. It sounded odd but I decided to try it.

The soup was peanut butter and pumpkin. You're probably pulling faces right but trust me. It was so good that I remember that soup to this day and wanted to recreate it. After a quick Google , I found a few recipes and decided to have a go. All the recipes give measurements in cups so I've adapted it for UK foodies with the help of the good folk of Twitter pointing me at great resource like this. This soup is easiest if you can get canned pumpkin, but it's not widely available in the UK. It's not that hard to cook the puree, it just takes a bit longer. Use peanut butter that doesn't have added sugar.

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Soup
Serves 6

25g butter, unsalted best
900g canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin (not a carving one), peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
400g sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
250g smooth peanut butter
1.4l chicken or vegetable stock
Ground black pepper
Snipped chives
Sour cream or low fat natural greek yogurt, to garnish

1. First, make your puree. Put the pumpkin (if you don't have canned) and sweet potato cubes into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the cubes are soft. Drain, then whizz to a puree with a hand blender or place in a blender.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the puree, the canned pumpkin if using, and the peanut butter. Add the stock, and season with pepper. It should not need salt! Stir well until smooth. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

3. Serve, garnished with the sour cream or yogurt and the chives.

This soup tastes better the day after it's made so it's worth making in advance. When I made it, I had to use butternut squash as Asda didn't have any pumpkins - a shocking state of affairs for mid-October! It was pretty much as I remember it and unless you really hate one of the ingredients, I recommend you give it a try. And yes, I realise it is another orange soup - but it is definitely not run of the mill.

So, now I must tag some lovely bloggers to carry forward my newly birthed meme. They are:

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family
Kerry at And Then All I Thought About Was You
Nic at Nic's Notebook
Kirsty at Imperfect Pages

If you're not tagged, either ask one of these lovely ladies to tag you, or just blog and add your own link here. All contributions are more than welcome.

Don't forget to check back here for links to other great recipes here soon!

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