Back again, for one more October post, the cream of pumpkin spicy soup, another post that signals Autumn and the early days of winter, the first rains, the golden harvest, the change of the colour of the sky, the smell of earth, the month of Halloween. I do love Autumn, and winter too and I do love Halloween – not as such but as the opportunities given for cooking, styling and decorating – I also love, like many of us, those pumpkins and the ingredients we use for harvest food, their colours and smells and the creation and recreation of Halloween inspired recipes. And the more the cooler the weather gets, and as we change our wardrobes from summer to winter, with the same way we change the ingredients in our kitchen too, the smells and colours of our food and we find new challenges and opportunities to create exciting and new plates with the new harvest including a parade of pumpkins and squashes. And among arranging our wardrobes many of us we will also arrange and rearrange our kitchens and what’s in there, from casseroles to roasting racks, from the ingredients to the plates and EVEN some more – like me – we rebuild part or the whole kitchen for the feeling of the “new” in the house and the place we love the most. Somewhere I read, that in Istanbul they believe that the kitchen is the heart and soul of the house, and to be honest I couldn’t agree more!
This is a post I wrote a few days ago because I knew I was going to cook this soup, but today when I was creating this wonderful recipe in my new kitchen with all the work I have done these last few days, I realised that no post can be written from before.!!
First was the backdrop. I already knew, a few days ago, what backdrop I wanted and it was impossible to get it ready-made, so I had to create it!! And I did, starting from scratch, to find an old dumped door to a village, two pieces to be precise, bring them home, go to a DIY store for 3 consecutive days, rubbed the pieces with sandpaper, remove the old nails, join them into one piece and finally paint them with 3 types of varnish in order to look as close as, to the effect I wanted.
Then was the pumpkins. Weird, crazy, unique pumpkins in a country that Halloween does not exist even to the minimum. So I had to order them and import them and arrive on time.
And finally was the props. Props, props, props. I surfed eBay and Easy for hours and although I have found what I was looking for, time and money was a huge obstacle to achieve my dream post. So I had to run to the old town for some antiques but all what I got was nothing but filthiness and 35º degrees of heat on my head, a headache and a swollen ankle. So it was when I got really disappointed and was already tired of the whole process that I have discovered on my way home, a day before the post, a little store with old – maybe antique – things. Lots of them, from spoons to plates, to casseroles and cups. Everything I could dream of or even anticipated a day before the post!
I know that already we all see hundreds of pumpkin soup the last years, from Pinterest to Instagram, various food blogs, magazines and the TV. Even I, that i try to watch literally everything around food, and I got to realise that there is pumpkin soup under every stone you pick up but could that be enough from stopping me creating my own pumpkin soup? I guess not, since you are reading this post and I guess I might not differ from other pumpkin soups, but still for me, I believe this one, although is easy and simple, remains one of the most delicious ones. Pumpkins or squashes, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg even red onion are the key ingredients for this soup. The spices are not intense instead they infused the soup with aromatic flavours.
1 ½ kg red pumpkin clean and deseeded, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 big potato cut into ½ cm cubes
1 big onion finely chopped
2 liter of vegetable and or chicken stock boiling water
100g of butter
2 soupspoons of cinnamon powder
6 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon of ground gloves
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
4 star anise spices
A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
A good pinch of kosher salt
Greek Yogurt or Coconut milk to decorate
4 slices of Ciabatta bread – toasted to serve with
In a large – iron cast – casserole bring the water to the boil and add the stocks.
Cut the pumpkin into pieces and place them in the boiling until they get very soft. (about 20 minutes)
In the meantime in a medium pan add the butter and when hot add the onions and potato and cook for 10-12 minutes until soft. Leave to stand aside until the pumpkin is really soft and ready.
Pinch the pumpkins with a fork and when they are extremely soft add the onions and potatoes in them.
Add all your ground spices and cook for further 10 minutes.
Remove the soup and leave it to stand for a few minutes.
Use an electric masher – mine is Moulinex – and mash all the ingredients into a creamy velvet mixture.
Use a large colander and sieve the mixture by adding a little bit at a time with a soupspoon server, to get rid the excess liquid from the soup.
The creamy mixture thats left in the colander is your cream of pumpkin soup.
Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds, 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, a splash of Greek yogurt and grilled ciabatta slices.