Thursday, 26 April 2012

Weather for soup...and cookies

It has been soup weather lately. Melbournish, with the sun out here and there, a lot of rain, and wind that is bitingly, slap-in-the-face cold. All good for huddling inside and putting whatever is in the fridge in a giant pot full of stock to make a delicious soup.


We have been doing just that in our new house, which I am affectionately calling “The Treehouse,” watching the deck from inside get soaked and stewn with leaves from the ancient gums all around us.


I have made my version of a pumpkin soup twice in as many weeks, so thought I might share (recipe at the end). It’s an obvious one, but it’s a favourite with many and this one has loads of added vegies for flavour and goodness. I hope you like it! I usually serve mine with fresh sourdough.



My lovely new kitchen is now complete and running smoothly after a couple of early glitches. Like moving in and realising I had only three drawers and a row of cupboards 9ft high that I can barely reach with a step-ladder.

Of course, I knew this – I had seen the house three whole times before signing up to a gigantic mortgage (this still blows my mind when I compare it to the amount of consideration and energy I put into, say, buying a pair of shoes).

I spent a lot of time at IKEA in those first two weeks. I now have a decent butcher’s block/island thingy with drawers and a cool-looking, slightly haphazard wall unit with lots of shelves.

I also have a new Smeg oven after a crisis of monumental proportions hit last weekend on the morning I was to bake 80 cupcakes for a wedding. I was baking the first batch when the oven handle came off in my hand and the safety glass shattered all over the kitchen. Freaking awesome. I guess I won’t be recommending Whirlpool ovens to anyone in the near future.


We packed up pronto and headed to my Mum’s house to commandeer her kitchen. And we got it done. And the lovely Marilyn from Thelma & Louise tells me they went down a treat. Which makes it all worthwhile.


Midweek, it was ANZAC Day so I pulled out my favourite Bill Granger cookbook “Sydney Food” for his no-fuss but brilliant ANZAC biscuit recipe and put the new Smeg to work.


Twenty-month-old Master N was particularly keen to help. “Nummy, nummy, nice!” This is what he says now every time he sees me reach for a wooden spoon or spatula.

I like to add to my ANZACs (or violate them, depending on how sensitive you are when it comes to these traditions) with some chopped raisins for extra texture and sweetness, and this year I also added a couple of handfuls of dark chocolate chips. Outrageous!




The house smelled incredible while they were baking and they were just as good when they came out. I like mine to be a bit chewy.

I just ate three in a row typing this post. Oops!

What is your take on traditional recipes? Should they be played with or are you a stickler for the rules??

Larissa x

Pumpkin Soup

1 leek, sliced
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
Small handful of fresh sage and thyme leaves, finely chopped
½ butternut pumpkin, chopped into large chunks
1 large sweet potato, chopped into large chunks
1L chicken stock
To serve: sour cream, black pepper and chopped chives.

Heat a couple of generous glugs of olive oil in a large soup pot.
Add the leek, onions, carrots, celery and herbs and cook slowly over a medium heat for about 20 mins until caramelised and soft.
Add the pumpkin and sweet potato and cover the whole lot in the stock.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 mins until vegies are cooked and soft.
Cool the vegies and then ladle into a food processor or blender and blitz until pureed.
Pour back into a large pot and heat through.
Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of chopped chives and black pepper.
Don’t forget the crusty bread!


Bill’s ANZAC biscuits with my optional extras
(From Bill Granger’s “Sydney Food”)

1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
150g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 tablespoons boiling water
Optional extras: 100g raisins, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of dark choc chips (add at the end, not before or they'll melt through)

Preheat oven to 160C.
Place flour, coconut, sugar and oats in a bowl and mix well.
Place butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat and melt.
Place bicarbonate of soda in a small bowl and add boiling water. Stir to combine.
Add bicarbonate of soda mixture to saucepan and stir. Pour over oat mixture and stir all ingredients together. Add optional extras, if you're game, and stir through.
Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on lined baking trays, leaving room for spreading.
Flatten each ball gently with a fork.
Bake biscuits for 15-20 mins or until golden brown at the edges. Allow to cool slightly on trays before transferring to wire racks. Makes about 20.