Inventive

Pumpkin and red onion soup served with a squash, sweet potato and cauliflower rice ratatouille and garlicky herbed croutons.

This isn’t a weeknight meal. But it is insanely satisfying. Perfect for a Friday night cooking session where you just want to destress and enjoy yourself. But I have armed myself with a great time saver: the pressure cooker. 

When I cook lentil curries and soups, most of the hard work is done in a pressure cooker. By adding my ingredients and spices and pressure cooking them, I have food ready in 15 minutes. It’s a lifesaver and potentially the best invention to grace the kitchen. 

I finished my mid semester exams yesterday, and am now officially on break for about two weeks. And what better way than to cook dinner for the family?

I took what I knew how to make and reinvented it a little. It was a little experimental, but in the end, the flavours combined wonderfully together, to create the perfect comfort meal that’s definitely well earned. All of these elements were made with a family of four in mind!

PUMPKIN AND ONION SOUP:

  • 3/4 of a whole butternut pumpkin
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 a teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Skin and chop the pumpkin into 2cm cubes
  2. Finely dice the onion and garlic
  3. The secret weapon: in a pressure cooker, heat a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. When hot, add the oregano, chilli, tumeric and cumin seeds.
  4. Sautee in the onion and garlic, and cook on a medium hear=t until the onion is translucent.
  5. Add in the pumpkin and bay leaves, and pour in a cup of water.
  6. Pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, and then reduce to low pressure for 10 minutes.
  7. Wait until the pressure has fully been released
  8. Use a hand held grinder or transfer puree into a blender and blend until smooth
  9. Add black pepper, a generous squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander to serve.

You can also spoon on top fresh greek yoghurt. The creaminess of the yoghurt further enhances the caramel sweet undertones of the soup.

CAULIFLOWER RICE:

  • 1/2 a medium cauliflower
  • 2 onions
  • Tumeric
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin seeds
  1. finely grate the cauliflower
  2. finely chop onions
  3. in a pan, add 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, and when hot, add in spices
  4. Sautee onions until translucent, and toss in cauliflower.
  5. Season with salt and chilli to your liking, and continuously stir for 10 minutes on medium heat.

RATATOUILLE:

The sauce:

  • 5 medium truss tomatoes
  • 2 red capsicums
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • 1 large carrot
  • 200 grams of fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • Handful of fresh basil
  1. Roughly dice the vegetables
  2. In a pressure cooker, heat 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat
  3. Add in spices and garlic, sauteeing until the garlic releases a sweeter aroma
  4. add in all the vegetables and 1/4 a cup of water
  5. pressure cook on high for 5 minutes and low for 10 minutes.
  6. Once all the pressure has been released, grind or blend until smooth and set aside to cool.

RATATOUILLE 

  • 10 medium yellow squashes 
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes 
  • Cracked salt and pepper to season 
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds for added crunch 
  1. Preheat your oven to 200’C 
  2. Peel, wash and cut your sweet potatoes into thin rings 
  3. Semi boil the sweet potato rings to help them cook faster in the oven
  4. Remove the ends of each squash and cut into rings a similar thickness to the potato 
  5. Lightly grease a baking dish with extra Virgin olive oil and lay down one layer of sweet potato 
  6. Evenly spoon on the cooled pepper sauce 
  7. Evenly spoon on a layer of cauliflower rice 
  8. Layer on the remaining sweet potato 
  9. Add an even layer of sauce 
  10. Start laying out your squash rings 
  11. Add an even layer of sauce 
  12. Add the final layer of cauliflower rice 
  13. Layer on your squash rings on top in a fish scale pattern for even cooking 
  14. Brush lightly with olive oil and crack on Himalayan salt and ground chilli flakes 
  15. Add a generous sprinkle of pumpkin seeds if preferred 
  16. Bake for 40 minutes or until the edges of the squash start to blacken 


GARLICKY CROUTONS: 

  • 4 thick slices of wholemeal brown bread 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • Salt, black pepper and oregano 
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely grated (my garlic is pretty strong so one clove was sufficient) 
  1. Cut your bread into 2cm chunks 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil and seasoning 
  3. Squeeze out the juice from the grated garlic and add to the seasoning mixture 
  4. Pour the mixture over the bread and combine with your hands 
  5. Leave aside for 30 minutes so the bread can absorb the flavours 
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 200’C 

– 


Dinner was time consuming but so worth it. There’s nothing like blasting add Sheeran while you spend your evening cooking up a storm for your loved ones! 

xx Simran 

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