From a recipe inspired by Patience Gray in her heart warming book, Honey from the Weed, I decided to make pumpkin soup, and wait for it Jorge,the marmelade was missing in part 1 so here it is. I am not going to get into the controversy that these kind of books are currently fueling among UK food journalists, but this is a truly passionate autobiographical cookery book. Evocative of Mediterranean days of yore, Gray brings us, like her contemporary Elizabeth David a sort of Mediterranean odyssey that combines learning, wide reading, folklore and cookery. She gathered the recipes from Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades ( Naxos) and Apulia, where she settled in 1970 with her lover the sculptor Norman Mommens.
Zuppa Di Zucca Invernale - pumpkin soup
Gray uses a winter pumpkin that has a gnarled greenish yellow exterior and hour-glass form, much cultivated in Italy, Greece and Catalonia. The Portuguese winter pumpkin as you can see in picture,part 1 of this blog is more squat and segmented.The inside however is identical, a wonderful orange colour, fine grained and not fibrous, so I knew all was well before I started. But I still had kilos of pumpkin left. Gray resourcefully, (like it ) suggests two more uses for the rest, an unusual preserve and a winter pumpkin salad. I feel part 3 coming up!!!
1 kilo pumpkin
2 large potatoes
a branch of thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
300g cooked chickpeas
salt and pepper
large knob of butter
juice of a lemon
Peel the pumpkin with a sharp knife, cut it into segments about 2.5cm (1in thick ), and then into neat cubes. Discard the seeds and fibres. Put some olive oil in the bottom of a pot, slice up the onion and simmer without browning. Peel and dice the potatoes,slice the leek. Put all the vegetables into the pot with the onions and sweat for a few minutes, add the thyme and enough hot water to cover ( I used chicken stock ) Season with ginger and add the chickpeas and salt and pepper. In an hour the pumkin will have melted into a creamy mush. Add the butter and parsley and allow to cool slightly. Add the lemon juice
and blitz the soup in a processor. Enjoy the softer than satin orange velvety sensation.
Doce de abobora
( Pumpkin Jam)
This is an excellent jam, very useful for filling tarts and cakes or simply on its own as a dessert, with creme fraiche cut through it and topped with toasted almonds.
1lb (450g) cooked pumpkin
1lb (450g ) granulated sugar
(The Portuguese prefer their sweet things, very sweet, I used half this amount)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Peel and clean the pumpkin and cook in water until tender, adding just a pinch of salt. Place it in a sieve to drain it as much as possible while pressing it lightly to extract the liquid trapped inside.Blitz in processor until you have a very smooth puree. Mix with the sugar and boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon. Pour into a sterilized jar and keep in the fridge.I am looking forward to spreading this on some toast tomorrow morning for breakfast.