Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Pumpkin and Ginger/ Poitron et au Gingembre

 I have just come back into the kitchen after a good dig in the garden planting a whole heap of irises imported from my friend Geoff's garden in London. His garden is being overrun by these gorgeous purple beauties and mine needs a little more to fill a few gaps so home I came with a boot full of tubers! 
Funnily enough they do not unlike the root ginger I was about to write about.. 

Ginger seems to have been the stand out theme of my weekend in London and somehow is, for me, synonymic with the need, in the change of seasons, to supercharge your body with germ fighting, flu resisting foods. On Friday night Geoff, master of all things sweet, created a ginger pudding to die for. It was so startlingly gingery that it created a dramatic awakening of the palate...the perfect pudding for a cosy Friday night in!
 The recipe is one from Delia Smith's Winter collection...every form of ginger appears in this pudding so one must prepare the larder in advance but well worth the effort.
The next day we went to the Royal Ballet to watch some of our lovely guests who had stayed over the summer playing some serious piano! It was absolutely FANTASTIC and such a privilege to be able to share the talents of these fabulous musicians and dancers...

During the interval I snacked on Root Ginger Ice cream which was sublime! I am looking forward to experimenting with that one when the weather warms up!! If you have spare evening..go and see them play and dance at Royal Opera House.

I arrived home from London to a chilly barn and did a big 'SIGH'! Home alone with the prospect of chopping wood, scrunching paper, loading the wood basket with logs and lighting a fire in order to get the back boiler to throw out a bit of warmth into the vast space that is my house made my friends toasty warm centrally heated London house seem like a slice of heaven! I know that life and, to be honest, I never expected to live in an environment which was so physical. It was the dramatic difference between city and country living for me and one of the great bonus' of the change in lifestyle...but every now and then one has a taste from the 'other side' and creature comforts so easily satisfied looks like bliss...and then I throw on my big coat and go find the axe!!

The wood basket filled I set about making Roasted Pumpkin and Ginger Soup...
So simple and delicious and warming...
1. Preheat the oven to 200 deg and then set about chopping and de-seeding your pumpkin.
2. Roast the chunks of pumpkin that have been seasoned and oiled in the oven, skin side down, for 30 mins and leave to cool.
 3. Fry a chopped onion, 2 chopped cloves of garlic and a big chunk of root ginger, which you have grated, in a large soup pot with 50 gms of butter until soft.

 4. Strip the leaves off a few sprigs of thyme and add to the pot.
5. Add the bright orange chunks of pumpkin flesh, skin removed, to the pot.
6. Add around a 1,5 litres of stock and 1/2 a tsp of salt to the pot and boil for 20 mins.

 7. Add a few more thyme leaves and then blend the soup till smooth. Season to taste.
8. Serve with a swirl of cream and a few thyme leaves...and a few chunks of French bread...
The big 'MAIN EVENT' of our weekend in London was to gather a few friends together to celebrate my oldest son Oscar's birthday...Happy 21st Osc..

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