It can’t always be a party. My body calls this all the time, but because I’m deaf I can’t hear it. The whole month of November was a party: as a cookbook author you fall head over heels in love with cookbook butter, because mid-November is cookbook week. The road to that week is already very festive. I celebrated nominations and wins, we celebrated our craft with the publisher, the readers, the booksellers and all the home chefs. I met many other cookbook creators, we exchanged recipes, toasted each other and turned off the lights last. We celebrated these November weeks by cooking together, talking about food and how to prepare it and sharing recipes.
November was a beautiful month, it was already a party for us before it erupted worldwide in December.
But I already said it: it can’t always be a party, you also had to work every day. A cold was lurking and flattened me for a while. He pushed me onto the sofa, turned off my phone and poured hot tea.
I held the mug between my hands. “What do you want to eat?” asked the flu, which came into view. Soup, I shivered, blowing my party nose.
Well, said the flu, if you want to experience everything from head to tail, you also have to swallow the less pleasant things. Griep sighed, raised her eyes to the sky and pulled out a pumpkin. She preheated the oven and began chopping. The whole pumpkin went into the soup.
When she was done, she scooped her healing concoction into a deep plate, sprinkled it with crunchy magic stuff, and pressed it onto my lap. It can’t always be a party, but if life goes wrong for a while, that dish is still there.
I scooped my plate, took a nap, and soon felt much better. Apparently it is not served that hot, a nice thought.
Wholesome pumpkin soup, from head to tail, with savory granola
for the granola
2 handfuls of seeds: black and white quinoa, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sesame seeds, poppy seeds, linseeds, etc.
3 tbsp. white tahini
2 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp. Red wine vinegar
generous pinch of salt
for the soup
1 whole butternut pumpkin (approx. 1 kg)
2 x 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. paprika powder
1 tbsp. szechuan pepper, from the mortar
½ tbsp. coriander seed, from the mortar
2 large shallots, in rings
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (à 400 grams) datterini or cherry tomato
the fine zest of 1 lemon, plus juice
3 tbsp. tahini, plus extra
splash of pumpkin seed oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into pieces, it does not need to be peeled, but do remove the seeds and threads. Spread the pieces on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, half of the spices and a pinch of salt.
Roast for about 35 minutes (depending on the size of the pumpkin pieces) until the edges turn dark and the pumpkin flesh is cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the crunchy granola by mixing everything together and spreading it out in an oven dish or small baking tin. Slide it into the oven with the pumpkin for the last 15 minutes and stir it halfway through the baking time so that it doesn’t burn. Let it cool completely.
Saute the shallot with the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy pan until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the rest of the spices for the last minute. Pour in the canned tomatoes, pour water into the cans and pour their contents into the pan as well. Bring to boil. Add the roasted pumpkin and let the soup simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Then turn it completely smooth in a blender. Takes a while, just let it run for a nice smooth result.
Then stir in almost all the lemon zest and a good squeeze of juice. Season the soup with salt and possibly some (Szechuan) pepper to taste.
Make it creamy by stirring in tahini and serve in deep plates, sprinkled with crunchy granola, the rest of the lemon zest, a curl of extra tahini and a drop of pumpkin seed oil, or olive oil if you don’t have it.
The crunchy seed granola is also very tasty on salads, on a bowl of hummus or on toast with mashed soft-boiled eggs.