Cooks’ Own Ladles…

With storms and floods happening all around NSW, it is hardly surprising that we feel as though winter has already arrived at seventysevenacres, although we are lucky, and, apart from more rain damage to our long suffering track, we are doing all right at the moment.

track

The track washing away down the hill.

Will and I have been home for school holidays and have enjoyed being able to light up the wood fire stove in the family room, and, as Matt says, the aroma of wet earth, eucalypt, and wood smoke as he works around the block is a defining smell. Winter has arrived!

We’ve already enjoyed a bowl of spicy pumpkin soup or two, as well, to warm us up after some invigorating outdoor activity.

I make pumpkin soup simply by roasting some chunks of lightly seasoned pumpkin (often butternut) then blending it with some stock, or even just water if I want to use it as a base for something else.

Just lately I’ve been spicing it up with a mix of warmer herbs such as coriander and Thai basil, or a touch of chilli. Adding a bit of garlic and freshly ground black pepper is always a goer, too, and really brings out the flavour of the pumpkin.

I’ve always loved soups of all sorts, and one I miss these days is minestrone, but I really daren’t risk eating tomatoes. There is really no good that will come of that!

Instead, I have recently started using pumpkin soup as a base for creating a hearty veggie soup, using whatever I have in the fridge, and have even torn in some strips of roast chicken breast that were left over from an evening meal to add some extra richness into the mix.

No pasta or noodles allowed, as I am completely grain free, but some fabulous friends gave me a zucchini noodler for Christmas a couple of years ago, and spiral noodling a zucchini into the pot provides a suitable alternative.

Depending on what I have hanging around in the crisper drawer or how much I turn up the heat with spicy herbs, the taste can be quite varied.

My next challenge is to get some pumpkins of my own growing without the cheeky possum feasting on the young plants. I recently saw a great design for a growing bed with a lift off ‘lid’ that could be clear plastic, shade-cloth or just bird wire, although I might go for chicken wire which would be a bit trickier for the possum to munch through (and might provide a suitable home for a chicken or two when the bed is not being used for growing)… now to persuade Matt to get to work with his carpentry skills.

I’ll make him some soup.

...some scrumptious looking pumpkin soup (image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

…some scrumptious looking pumpkin soup
(image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

This week’s title quote is from Robert Browning’s Pied Piper of Hamlyn

Rats!
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks’ own ladles

Happily, we don’t have any trouble with these creatures… possums are far more agreeable!