Spicy Pumpkin Soup and Sassy Almonds

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Winter is coming. 

Anyone who lives in Melbourne can feel that chill that heralds the beginning of our long, miserable winters. You’re likely to find me at home. Bed. Laptop. Binge watching. If I’m unlucky, I’m in the city. When this happens, the pain is lessened by hot soup. This one is on the rotation at the moment.

I have a soup theory. It’s all about texture. Something with some crunch, some bite, a little character. It turns my ‘what’s left in the fridge special’ into a sassy little number. Wards off the cold and doesn’t smack of the student poverty diet.

In this instance, it’s spicy, sticky almonds. Toasted and thrown on top.

 

For the soup you’ll need:

1 brown onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 stick of celery, chopped finely

1 carrot, diced

A quarter of a Japanese pumpkin, chopped

Half a teaspoon of garam masala

Half a teaspoon of ground cumin

Chilli flakes to taste

Salt and pepper

1.2 litres vegetable stock

 

Fry your onion, garlic, celery and carrot over medium heat in a little olive oil for 10-15 minutes. You want a little colour on them so be patient. Colour is flavour.

Add your spices and stir until fragrant.

Throw in your pumpkin and stir to coat in the spices.

Add stock and cook for 30 minutes or until your vegetables are tender. Blend with an immersion blender and season to taste.

 

For those sassy almonds:

A good handful of natural almonds, roughly chopped.

1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

Salt and pepper

Chilli flakes to taste (be brave)

Half a teaspoon of brown sugar

 

In a dry pan over medium heat, get your almonds started. After 2-3 minutes you should start to smell them toasting. Add your sugar and allow it to dissolve and caramelise. This will be the glue that binds your almonds and spices.

When almonds are coated and glossy, add your cumin seeds and chilli. You’re aiming for a little heat so be brave with the chilli. It will make all the difference. Season with salt an pepper.

To serve, top hot soup with a little greek yogurt and the sticky almonds. Some toasted sourdough on the side and you’re ready to brave some revolting Melbourne weather.

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