Pumpkins - not just for carving!

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Pumpkin Roll

I love Hallow'een — and I loved carving pumpkins when my children were smaller....but until recently I haven't felt the urge to do anything with the flesh — and now having tried pumpkin soup, it seems like such a waste!

PUMPKIN SOUP

This is a classic, easy pumpkin soup that is very fast to make. Thick and full of flavour, this is THE pumpkin soup you will make over and over again. Don't forget the hot buttered crusty bread for dunking! Especially in winter, there's nothing better than dunking crusty bread into a big bowl of creamy pumpkin soup. And there are millions and millions of recipes "out there", so why would you consider using this one?

Well, here's the thing. There are many fancied up versions of pumpkin soup "out there". Gourmet ingredients, spices, exotic spins.

But you don't need all those frills to make a truly great classic pumpkin soup. And that's what this recipe is — a great EASY Pumpkin Soup recipe, a classic version that has everything it needs and nothing it doesn't to be can't-stop-eating-it delicious.

It's incredible easy — just plonk pumpkin, onion, garlic, broth and water into a pot, and boil rapidly for 15 minutes, then blitz smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste then add either milk OR cream — whichever you prefer.

Ingredients

1.2 kg / 2.4 lb pumpkin (any) , unpeeled weight
1 onion, sliced (white, brown, yellow)
2 garlic cloves , peeled whole
3 cups / 750ml vegetable or chicken broth , low sodium
1 cup / 250 ml water
Salt and pepper
Finishes:
1/2 — 3/4 cup / 125 — 185 ml cream, or half and half (Note 2) or 3/4 cup / 185 ml milk (any type, I use low fat)
Instructions

Cut the pumpkin into 3cm / 2.25" slices. Cut the skin off and scrape seeds out. Cut into chunks.

Place the pumpkin, onion, garlic, broth and water in a pot — liquid won't cover all the pumpkin. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat and let simmer rapidly until pumpkin is tender.

Remove from heat and use a stick blender to blend until smooth. If you don't have a stick blender, use a blender — see notes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir through cream (never boil soup after adding soup, cream will split).

Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle over a bit of cream, sprinkle with pepper and parsley if desired. Serve with crusty bread!

If you don't have a stick blender, you can use a blender BUT you must make sure that the soup is cooled slightly before blending it, otherwise you will find out the hard way that hot soup + blender = soup explosion (literally, the lid will blow off the blender when you start blending it).

The idea with this recipe is that the pumpkin is boiled uncovered so you're left with the right amount of liquid at the end such that once pureed, the soup is lovely and thick. You don't need the liquid to cover the pumpkin, the steam and bubbling will cook all the pumpkin through. I don't think using onion + garlic is common in other recipes but I promise you, it adds that extra savoury flavour that really makes this a truly great pumpkin soup, despite being so crazy easy.

.....and for dessert

PUMPKIN ROLL

Ingredients
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup icing sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.

2. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined.

3. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

4. Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner' sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.

5. With an electric mixer, combine the icing sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you're ready to slice and serve. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.