We are either having beautiful Autumn weather of clear blue skies, sunshine and crisp cold air, or as I am writing this, heavy downpours of rain and dark grey skies.
What most of us want and look forward to are hearty stews or warming soups. Seasonal foods like pumpkins, swede, parsnips, squashes, cauliflower, cabbage, celeriac, beets, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, turnips and sweet potatoes to name but a few. Fruit wise we can look forward to apples, pears, cranberries, clementine’s, satsumas with a wonderful array of Autumn colours.
Side dishes of parsnips, sweet potatoes, and carrots put in the oven and roasted with thyme are delicious. Another really simple little dish is Brussels sprouts that are sautéed with bacon and onions.
Celeriac is a vegetable worth getting to know as it’s very versatile; you can mash it, fry it, bake it, roast it whole with olive oil and herbs or cut it up and make chips, make soup out of it, and even add it raw to salads. Give it a try and let it join your weekly menu.
Due to its colour, health benefits and warmth it gives, I go for coconut, pumpkin and ginger soup which I think is truly the best soup, it is my favourite. If you make it with a vegetable stock base its suitable for vegans or for meat eaters you can use a chicken stock base.
Ginger is a wonderful spice to add in as it has healing properties; its anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant and is used widely to help treat the common cold, indigestion or nausea.
Coconut Milk is one of the best sources of medium chain fatty acids and the body can easily digest these fats, these fatty acids are also supportive of neurological health. Coconut milk also contains MCTs (healthy types of saturated fatty acid) which the brain can easily convert to energy. Coconut milk also contains a number of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Vitamin E and calcium.
Pumpkin is a good source of beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant and the body is able to convert this into vitamin A. Pumpkin is also a great source of fibre, vitamin C and potassium which is good for the heart.
Pumpkin, ginger and coconut soup
- Pre-heat oven to 180oC
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 500ml of chicken or vegetable stock
- 250ml coconut milk
- 20-30g of fresh grated ginger (depends on taste, add more or less in)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper
Cut the pumpkin up and take out the seeds, put onto a roasting tin and pour on a little olive oil, roast the pumpkin until soft about 40-45 minutes.
Peel and grate ginger and add all other ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.
Mash pumpkin and add to the blended liquid and blend once more.
Put into a large saucepan and bring nearly to the boil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and crusty bread
Don’t forget the pumpkin seeds – these are fabulous once they have been dried and spiced. You can add them to soups or have them as a little snack.
Rinse seeds and then put onto a baking tray and place in the oven for a few minutes until dry.
Take out and cool. In a frying pan add in coconut oil or olive oil and the spices you like such as chilli, curry powder, paprika or ground cumin. Enjoy.