Spicy pumpkin soup and romanesco broccoli

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The perfect antidote for this wintery weather is staying indoors cooking – soup was on the menu today (spicy pumpkin and a ham hock and vegetable soup). I had a lovely time singing along to some rather loud music (Ben Harper) cooking to my hearts content. If you decide to try my spicy pumpkin soup recipe I strongly recommend you put on some of your favourite sing along music too.

Spicy pumpkin soup
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
A spicy vegetable soup to warm you up on a cold winter's day
  • 3 sticks of celery sliced
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 40g lemon grass stalks
  • 100g red bull pepper or capsicum (optional) chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 25g ginger chopped
  • 4 red hot chillies chopped (optional)
  • 4 carrots chopped into slices
  • 50g peanut butter or peanuts chopped
  • 600g pumpkin cut up into chunks
  • ½ swede chopped
  • 300g potatoes or sweet potatoes chopped
  • 2 dessertspoons curry powder
  • 2 tsp massel vegetable stock powder or cubes
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • salt/pepper
  • ¼ cream
  • 1 tablespoon of saharan spice mix (from Wildings in St Leonards)
  1. In a large saucepan place all the ingredients except the cream and spice mix
  2. Saute gently for at least 10 minutes before adding enough water to cover the vegetables and a bit more (I like thin soup rather thick)
  3. Cook on moderate heat until the vegetables are soft
  4. Remove the kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and curry leaves
  5. Cool for a while and then puree with a stick blender, in a food processor or in a blender
  6. Place back on the stove and add the cream, spice mix and season to taste
  7. Cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer

We dug up the horseradish patch today and replanted some in a new sunny position, I now have some lovely horseradish roots to freeze, use fresh and maybe put some in oil. Pasta man cooked a beef rib roast in the Webber and I experienced freshly grated horseradish on my steak for the first time ever (it was a lovely accompaniment).

I picked the first of our romanesco broccoli plants today and Pasta man thinned out some baby carrots and golden beets- what a lovely combination to have with the beef  for dinner.

horseradish root

horseradish root


Grilled vegetable & chestnut salad

Some chestnut growers were spruiking and cooking up their produce at the East Geelong fruit shop the other day, the chestnuts were so delicious I decided to buy some to add to the grilled vegetable salad I planned on making for Sunday lunch (feeding my vegetarian son). It feels a bit strange to be buying fruit and vegetables again after living on our own produce for months, that being said I just love shopping for fruit and vegetables, they are so inspiring – much more than meat. I also purchased some lovely looking asparagus and fennel (my latest favourite vegetable) and the idea for this recipe started to take shape…


Grilled vegetable & chestnut salad
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
You could use this as a side dish or a complete meal on its own. Don't forget to put a cut into each side of the chestnut before cooking or they will explode
  • 2 bunches of asparagus (trimmed)
  • 1 bulb of fennel (cut into 0.5cm thick slices)
  • 2 prepared artichokes (in oil) with stalks attached and cut into quarters lengthways
  • 15 prepared chestnuts (roasted and peeled)
  • verjuice
  • olive oil
  • pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
  • pepper and salt for seasoning
  • spice mix of your choice
  • salad greens (I used spinach, rocket and herbs)
  • goat cheese
  • beetroot chutney (recipe on my blog)
  1. Lightly oil the fennel and asparagus and grill on a grill plate or on a barbecue until just cooked
  2. At the same time fry or grill the chestnuts in a little oil until starting to change colour (add some spice mix to the chestnuts for additional flavour)
  3. Place all ingredients together and add a splash of verjuice and pomegranate molasses, cook for another minute or two
  4. Place the prepared greens on a plate and arrange vegetables and chestnuts on top
  5. Break up some goat cheese into small pieces and distribute over the salad
  6. Add some beetroot chutney and season with salt, pepper, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar
  7. Eat immediately with warm crusty bread