Pumpkin and carrot soup

As I sit here typing, the rain is falling steadily outside. It was, of course, raining most heavily right at the school drop off – where I am sure my attempts to wrangle 3 kids, 3 bags and 3 umbrellas was met with more than a few laughs.

But I have well and truly warmed up after tucking into a big bowl of soup that I had stashed away in the freezer. A perfect go-to lunch on days such as this, when the day is dreary and the temperatures have lowered.

I actually made this pumpkin and carrot soup a while back, but realised I never shared it on the blog. And what a shame that would be – for what a soup it is!

Simply – onion, garlic, carrots and pumpkin, simmered with stock and given a golden hue by the addition of turmeric. Finished with a dollop of natural yoghurt, and a sprinkle of pepitas and parsley.

And, as is always a plus with dishes such as these, the recipe yields enough to store some away in the freezer for easy re-heatable lunches on days such as this!

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Pumpkin and carrot soup
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  1. Heat oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and stir until starting to soften.
  2. Add the pumpkin, carrots and turmeric, stirring to coat in the spice mixture. Add the stock and 500ml water, and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Puree the soup using a stick blender until smooth. Divide among bowls, and top with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of pepitas and parsley.
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Miso Pumpkin Soup

It’s minus 4 outside as I type this post, with an expected top of 10 (which we will reach after midday, if we are lucky).  There is a heavy layer of frost on the grass, and ice on the cars in the street, although the sky is clear and there is no fog to be seen.

If I’m to be honest, the chilly winter is not all that surprising, really. We had a pretty awesome summer… and it always seems that the hotter the summer =  the colder the winter. In Canberra, at least.

So while I am 100% a summer girl, after 18 years in Canberra (???) I am slowly becoming acclimatised to the joys of the Canberra winter.  I’ve got a decent collection of beanies and gloves, along with some great warm jackets, and have even mastered the art of layering. Our hydronic in-slab heating goes a long way in helping me forget just how cold it is outside too.

But then there is the food. Winter inevitably means that my slow cooker comes out at least a few times a week, bringing with it hearty stews and casseroles. Homemade soups also make a frequent appearance – the aim being to warm oneself up from the inside out.

On this particular occasion I went with a pumpkin soup. But not just any pumpkin soup. This one was jazzed up with miso paste and ginger (inspired by a recipe I found in a recent Taste magazine edition). It also had a lovely creamy texture owing to the addition of coconut milk, and a little zing from fresh lime juice. 

We served the soup with some loaded toasties. From recollection – there was avocado and tomato on one, and a swiss cheese, mustard and ham combination on the other.

But the soup.

Oh the soup.

Delicious, easy, and definitely a winter warmer!! With the added bonus that we now have a few serves in the freezer too.

Miso Pumpkin Soup (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2tbs minced ginger
  • 1tbs  minced garlic
  • 1 butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 120g white miso paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or water
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • coriander leaves to serve
  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic  and ginger and cook for a minute – stirring.
  2. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes and miso paste – stirring to coat well.
  3. Add the coconut milk / stock, and simmer – covered – for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add the lime juice and zest, and season to taste.
  5. Serve in bowls, and top with coriander.

5 things Friday

I know, I know. Two posts in one week! That has to be some kinda record for me right?!  But I’m working on improving my blogging routine, so here goes! Perhaps the colder weather has got something to do with it? For even the cat is picking the warmth of home over her usual daily adventures outside…


1. While my two girls definitely enjoy playing outside, they are seemingly happy to take little adventures inside too. Particularly when they can transform our dining room into a cubby house…

IMG_46572. Also on the cards? Lots of baking and creating in the kitchen. With a side kick who is more than happy to help when she realises there is chocolate involved…
IMG_46343. I *finally* finished J’s “first year” album, and I could not be more pleased. I did one for C too – and they have been such a great trip down memory lane (and great gifts for the grandparents!)


4. Currently loving? These lunchboxes from “Yum Box”.

IMG_8406They are definitely not the cheapest, but they are sturdy and easy to clean (win for me!). C also loves the novelty of the compartments and always directs, with great precision, what must feature and in what compartment.

5. We have a rather ‘free’ weekend coming up, which is pretty damn awesome. A parents’ night out and a degustation dinner just *might* be on the cards too…Can’t wait!

What about you? What are you up to on the weekend?

A cosy night in

While my true love will always be Summer – of long days at the beach, and balmy evenings spent outdoors by the BBQ – I am slowly learning to appreciate the appeal of the cooler months. The great sporting games on the telly, the delicious full bodied wines warming the soul, and the aromas of slow cooked meals lingering about the house. Of warmth. Of fun. Of family.  Yep that has certainly been our Winter this year. Lots of time spent with family, and lots of slow cooked meals warming the house (and our bellies!) from the inside out. And this last weekend was no exception. IMG_3550 With the Bledisloe Cup on the telly, and family coming over to cheer on the Wallabies, I went in search of a rich, hearty meal. Something that I could put in the oven during the day, and that would be ready come dinner time with minimal fuss and attention. And this Middle Eastern spiced lamb pot roast ended up fitting the bill just perfectly (the recipe for which you can find online here). I started by marinating the lovely piece of lamb shoulder in a spice rub mixture for 4 hours or so… IMG_3554IMG_3556 Before placing it atop a bed of sliced red onions, along with some white wine and chicken stock. IMG_3559 Covered, and baked for 5 hours (turning half way through). Yup. That’s it. And although the dish required minimum effort, we were well and truly rewarded after the long cooking time with lamb that was literally falling apart and, quite simply, melt in your mouth perfect! IMG_3567 As for the sides – I wanted to keep with the Middle Eastern theme – but also wanted to make sure that the lamb remained the star of the show. IMG_3564 So, rather than get too carried away, we served the lamb with steamed honey carrots, tabouli and eggplant dip. IMG_3566 Oh and don’t forget the bread. Chewy afghan bread that we warmed for 10 minutes in the oven, then let our guests tear apart! IMG_3551 All together now… IMG_3572 This meal represented everything I am learning to appreciate about Winter. Simple ingredients, hearty rich meals, great company, and lots of laughs. IMG_3568 Even when the temperatures are near to freezing outside! What about you? What do you love most about Winter?

My first homemade apple pie

IMG_2643 When I was growing up, apple pie was a regular in our household. My parents not being the baking type, however, meant that it usually came in a box and in frozen form. IMG_2630 Despite its processed origins, the memory of steaming hot spiced fruit in sweet pastry, coupled with lashings of cream or icecream (or both!) lingers in my mind. Particularly when it is cold, and dark and dreary outside….as it often was in Melbourne where I grew up. IMG_2638 It was with this memory in mind, that I found myself with an apple pie craving this past weekend. But rather than reach for a box, I decided to create one from scratch. IMG_2634IMG_2636IMG_2637 And what a lovely little day of baking it turned out to be. IMG_2644 I followed the Australian Women’s Weekly recipe (link here), and I must say, the pastry was delightful. It was co-operative and rolled out wonderfully – even for a pastry-rookie like me. IMG_2645 The apple filling was well spiced, although perhaps a little too lemony? For my tastes at least. But they combined to create a rather impressive pie nonetheless – that sat with pride on my counter-top once baked. IMG_2639 I served the pie as a sweet conclusion to our family dinner over the weekend, with lashings of cream and vanilla icecream. IMG_2797 So warm, so comforting. Just the perfect end to a winter evening really! IMG_2799 Apple Pie (serves 8) – recipe from here

  • 10 medium (1.5kg) apples
  • ½ cup (125ml) water
  • ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar, extra


  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • ½ cup (75g) self-raising flour
  • ¼ cup (35g) cornflour
  • ¼ cup (30g) custard powder
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 100g cold butter, chopped coarsely
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup (60ml) iced water (*I needed to use a tad more than this….)
  1. Pastry: Process the dry ingredients with the butter until crumbly. Add the egg yolk and the water; process until just combined. Knead lightly on a floured surface until smooth. Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples thickly. Place the apples and the water in a large saucepan; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the apples soften. Drain; stir sugar, rind and cinnamon into the apples. Cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 25cm pie dish.
  4. Divide pastry in half. Roll one half between two sheets of baking paper until large enough to line the dish. Lift pastry into the dish; press into base and sides. Spoon cooled apple mixture into the pastry case; brush the edge with egg white.
  5. Roll the remaining pastry large enough to cover the filling; lift onto the filling. Press the edges together; trim away excess pastry. Brush the pastry with egg white; sprinkle with extra sugar. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (160°C fan-forced); bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

What about you? What is your favourite Winter dessert? I am thinking that Sticky Date pudding will have to be the next wintery dessert making an appearance in our household!

Chicken and Vegetable Shepherds Pie

Training: Body Balance I realised tonight that it has been waaaaay too long since I last made pie. My Chicken and Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie to be exact.  IMG_9734 Healthy, comforting and delicious….ticking all the boxes for a mid week winter warmer. Oh and did I mention easy? Just vegetables… IMG_9712 (Carrots, leek and celery) Dried herbs, GF worcestershire sauce and tomato paste… IMG_9714 Simmered with minced chicken. IMG_9715 Followed by mushrooms… IMG_9716 A sprinkle of nutritional yeast.. IMG_9717 And voila! IMG_9720 A tasty…. IMG_9723 And healthy pie filling! IMG_9725 But, of course, no Shepherd’s pie would be complete without a potato crust. IMG_9727 Which in tonight’s case was a mixture of potatoes and sweet potatoes… IMG_9728 Mashed until smooth, then spooned over the pie filling… IMG_9729 Until completely covered. IMG_9730  Roughed up with a fork… IMG_9734 Sprinkled with paprika…. IMG_9733 And baked until brown and bubbly. IMG_9739 A rustic pie… IMG_9743 Packed with vegetables… IMG_9744 And packed with flavour…. IMG_9746 It may not be the prettiest of dishes, but I am more than happy that there are plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow! What about you? Do you have a favourite pie variety?