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Pumpkin Soup


2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp oil
2 leeks, white part only, sliced and washed
600g buttercup, peeled and diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
3 rashers bacon, rind removed,and chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 slices toast bread, crust on
1 Tbsp butter, melted
130g bunch fresh spinach, washed and stems removed, or 75g chopped frozen spinach
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chives, sliced


Heat a large saucepan, add butter and oil. Add the leek and sweat until soft. Add buttercup, potato and bacon and cover with stock. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, cut the toast bread into small cubes and place on an oven tray, drizzle with the melted butter and toss with your fingers. Bake in an oven preheated to 200°C for 8-10 minutes, or until the bread is crisp. Remove and put aside.

To check if the vegetables are tender, pierce a piece of potato with the end of a sharp knife. When soft, add the spinach, return to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Purée vegetables in a blender or food processor and add salt and pepper. Return to the saucepan and thin with a little extra stock or water, if needed. Reheat gently and check seasonings.

Serve in warmed bowls. Top with croutons, a dash of sour cream and sprinkle of chives.

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Cooking Tips:

  • Basil, rose petals, mint, rosemary, nasturtium flowers or pods and other edible flowers are great as a garnish for your fine dining and are a pleasant alternative to parsley.
  • Finely chopped fresh herbs will produce a stronger flavor.
  • Dried herbs are almost 4 times stronger than Fresh. If you are cooking with dried herbs and your recipe calls for fresh herbs you can reduce the amount accordingly.
  • When cooking with garlic or onions, rub your hands under your stainless steel faucet with the water running to get rid of the smell. For some reason the stainless steel works it’s magic and eliminates the odour completely.
  • Never soak diced vegetables in water before preparing them or they will lose all their nutrients.
  • Run wilted lettuce under cold water, shake it dry, wrap it in paper towels and place in your refrigerator over night. The next day it will have perked right up.
  • If you plan on doing any canning you can use vinegar to clean and deodorize any old jars you want to reuse and to remove fruit stains from your hands.