I was a little confused when I arrived home in Australia in September and found Autumn veggies from the Northern hemisphere in season. I mean, it’s Spring in Australia so what’s with all the squash, kale and cabbages? I’m definitely not complaining, Autumn is my favourite season in Europe for fresh seasonal produce and I’m pleased I didn’t completely miss out on it this year. Sadly there’s no replacing the flavourful and juicy apples from our local German Farmer’s Market, but I do adore seasonal squash (all of which are called pumpkin here in Australia?) and kale is something that after a few years of healthy eating I began craving like a crazy person (like my body is SCREAMING for a bit of kale on my plate some days, eek!).
We’re now living in regional Queensland and we’ve been doing most of our weekly grocery shopping at the weekend markets in our nearest town. Many of the stalls at the market are small scale local growers and often by the end of the day they’re keen to offload whatever veggies they have left. Always keen on a bargain that’s when we arrive ready and willing to take the dregs off their hands. Lately that has meant A LOT of pumpkins and cabbages (and last time a whole lotta kale…woohoo!).
My favourite way to cook and eat pumpkins is to roast them in the oven. I rinse my pumpkin, chop it down the middle, scoop out the seeds, chop into large chunks, throw the chunks onto a lined baking tray and bake at 200 degrees celsius (390 Farenheit) for 30 to 40 minutes.
We love to make pumpkin bread and other baked goods out of roasted pumpkin, if you’re baking with it it’s best to err on the side of caution and pull these out before they begin to brown. If using baked pumpkin for baked goods I just scoop out the flesh from the skin and place in a sieve/sifter over a pot, letting the water drip out (this makes for less watery pumpkin puree!). If you’re in Australia I’ve found the Jap (or Kent) pumpkins to be really good for baking. They have a decent amount of flesh versus water content.
Another favourite at the moment for us is this Creamy Pumpkin Soup, cooked in the slow cooker. It’s not really soup weather here in Australia right now, but I do love putting this into the Slow Cooker and then heading out to the beach or the bay for the day. We work up an appetite and then have something ready to eat when we get home.
Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup
1 whole Pumpkin, roasted (or 1 tin of Pumpkin Puree)
2 medium sized Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, minced or chopped
4 cups of Stock/Broth (I just use Water and season with extra salt and pepper at the end)
1 can of Full Fat Coconut Milk
2 cans of White Beans (I used navy beans, cooked from dry in my pressure cooker – and measured out 2 mugs full of cooked beans)
Kale, chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp of Cumin
2 tsp of ground Coriander
1/2 tsp of ground Cardamom
1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground Cloves
*(I have limited Spices at the moment so I just used 2 teaspoons of Mixed Spice in lieu of all these spices )*
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/ In coconut oil (or oil of your choice) fry your chopped onions and carrots until softened
2/ Add in the minced or chopped garlic and the spices and stir, stir, stir for 30 seconds
3/ Transfer to your Slow Cooker
4/ Add in the stock (or in my case water), the pumpkin (either canned or scooped out of your roasted pumpkin), the kale (if using – mine was from the freezer, I just bag up fresh kale into freezer bags and throw into soups and stews during cooking), the coconut milk and your white beans
5/ Cook in your slow cooker on LOW for 8 to 10 hours, on HIGH for 3 to 5 hours, in an Electric Pressure Cooker on Manual for 15 minutes, or in a pot on the stove simmering for 40 minutes to an hour
6/ Once done, serve either chunky as is or you can blend till smooth. We serve ours with rice but you could serve with bread if you prefer
Notes: When serving this for guests we’ve added pre-cooked chicken to the slow cooker (along with the beans but you could reduce the amount of beans and replace with the chicken). I’ve also reduced the water/stock to 3 cups and had this as more of a stew than a soup. I’ve added chopped cabbage and zucchini to this soup and it turned out great.
Recipe adapted from Cafe Johnsonia’s Blog post.