Pumpkin soup never fails to make me think of my mum. She was very particular about the fact that it only be made with pumpkin. No potatoes or kūmara (sweet potato) were allowed, just pumpkin along with onion and plenty garlic of course. One year, when mum was out of work I remember pumpkin soup being on ‘the menu’ almost everyday. We had a massive collection of pumpkins which were all saved and stored from the pumpkin patch she had created at the end of the garden; a mound of compost which the vines sprawled over and their large round fruit inhabited. The two are forever linked in my brain I think.
Even after that year of pumpkins I still loved them, as most kiwis do. I never realized though , until moving to Ireland, that New Zealand has its own wee love affair with the humble pumpkin that the rest of the world doesn’t really share. In New Zealand pumpkin is just standard savoury vegetable fare; none of the this sweet pumpkin pie stuff. We like to roast it, steam it, mash it, make it into soup and even add it into our scones at times. It has to be said though that the pumpkins found in New Zealand (namely Crown) have a lot more flavour than those I have encountered and eaten overseas, lending themselves to being eaten more readily.
With Halloween looming pumpkins can be spotted on the shelves again. Although now (Spring in NZ) isn’t really the time for pumpkins, the supermarket has obviously realized the potential of more revenue by having them in the stores as more and more people are celebrating Halloween in New Zealand which invariably entails good old pumpkin carving. We too celebrate with a bit of Jack-o’-Lantern making (again after my education in Ireland that Halloween is actually an Irish tradition and not an American one) but Pumpkin Soup is the first thing I think of when I see a pumpkin anywhere.
So of course when I got a wee pumpkin the other day, into soup it became. It is such a simple recipe; chop onion and garlic then saute in some butter or oil depending on your dietary preference, chop the pumpkin into smallish pieces and add to the pot with water to cover. Add some stock/salt/pepper/herbs/seasoning to get the taste you like. Then boil until everything is soft. Themselves and I like to blend our soup smooth whereas himself likes it chunky so I’ll let you take your pick there. Soup by itself can be a little unfulfilling it has to be said. This is where the second part of my memory of mum comes in ….. scones.
Scones (like biscuits in USA) are a great accompaniment especially when they are warm from the oven which mum would often do when we had visitors coming. The best thing is that while your soup is ‘brewing’ you have the perfect amount of time to rustle up a batch of scones. Traditionally they have butter in them however to keep the vegans in the family happy I have adapted the recipe a little. This recipe is best consumed warm or least within the day, unless of course to like little rocks to dip in your soup! These scones are also great for a morning or afternoon tea with loads of jam on top. So without anymore ado I’ll let you get on making your soup and scones.
- 200 gm flour (GF or plain, white or wholemeal or a mixture of both as in original)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 30 gms coconut oil (cold from the container)
- 1 flax-seed egg (1 TB ground linseed/flaxseed and 2.5 TB cold water)
- 100-150 ml non-diary milk (I used soy milk this time but also use rice for a sweeter scone)
– Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the coconut oil so that it is fully blended with the flour.
– Add in the flaxseed egg and milk (start with 100ml and add some more if the mixture seems too dry) then ‘cut’ the liquid into the dry ingredients with a knife until a ‘dough’ is formed. It will still be sticky so some extra flour will help you get it into a tidy ball. I often just combine it as much as a can in the bowl with my spoon and then dump it onto a well floured baking tray. Then sprinkle some more flour on top and gently form it into the rectangle shape mentioned below.
– Flour a baking tray and flatten dough into a flat rectangle shape. Cut this into 12 or 16 pieces depending on the size of scone you desire.
– Separate the scones a little on the floured tray and then bake at 200 Celsius of 10 mins or until golden on top.
– Spread with jam (and butter or cream for the non-vegan among you) and enjoy
Hope this finds you enjoying the fruits of life whichever season you are in.