Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The fun of new

New toys have that fantastic ability to be irresistable for short periods of time, to then be relegated to the collection with all the others. What is the appeal of the new in this sense that doesn't translate, for some, to other areas? For example, a new job. Surely it's the same motivations: new games, new abilities, new possibilities. I know life and jobs aren't exactly equitable to toys but I think the appeal of the new should be the same.

My new toy has been a curiously noisy stick blender. At this point we're only playing one new game together and that is pumpkin soup. To be honest I'm not entirely sure what other purpose the stick blender has other than vegetable-based soups. I'm keen to try out a cauliflower soup recipe that looks pretty simple (cauliflower, milk and some flavourings, from memory) but in the meantime I'm still playing around and attempting to perfect the pumpkin soup.

My first attempt came out quite well, except for the excessively hot and spicy pepper kick in it resulting from my overeager addition of peppercorns. It was probably most likened to an orange-coloured pepper soup, but of perfect consistency and even pumpkin sweetness. I've learnt my lesson or so it would appear to my hapless taste testers.

I've used the remainder of a butternut pumpkin this time, which is generally recommeded as less appropriate as Jap pumpkins. The latter tend to be more flavoursome and so better suited to soup. But I persist and chop up onions, celery, potato, a bit of left over sweet potato and ginger and throw it all into a frying pan. Actually, the onion first as I'm trying to get a caramelisation effect happening to limited success.

Pumpkin and other vegies in the frypan

Once there's some browning happening and just before the onions turn black, I plop it all into a stock pot with loads of water. Stock is the other option for a deeper flavoured soup but I haven't any handy and am not keen to use packaged stuff or cubes - never really liked them. I've counted about 10 peppercorns versus last time's random shake, and added cumin and salt so it's all ready for a good boil.

Ingredients steaming in pot

I like that I don't really have to keep a close eye on this because the vegies can boil for as long as they like really. As long as everything is soft and verging on mushy and not boiled dry of water. And then comes the fun, new toy part. It's actually not as easy as one would expect, what with finding power outlets and extension cords, but a good few loud minutes' whizz with the blender, plus the addition of some milk, and voila - we have a smooth pumpkin soup. If only everything new were so fun and simple.

Pumpkin soup

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