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Chris' Pumpkin Soup

Some dishes take you by surprise. In the middle of a quiet dinner, they grab you and force you to sit up and take notice. It's even more surprising when that dish happens to be soup. It happened so at a dinner with my friend Chris. We started off with his lovely homemade bread and salad and then he brought this soup in. A soup with punchy flavours that also freezes well. I eventually got the recipe off Chris and I now make this often, leaving bowlfuls in the freezer for a rainy day. You should too!

Ingredients
250 grams yellow pumpkin, cut into chunky cubes
250 grams potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
1 leek stem, washed, cleaned and roughly chopped
1-2 celery stalks, washed, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
10-12 peppercorns
Roasted pumpkin seeds and dill to garnish

Find the largest saucepan you own and heat the olive oil in it. Add peppercorn…
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The Last Hurrah

May and June are my favourite months of year food-wise. It's when all the best fruits are in season at the same time. For about a month, I go crazy eating my fill of fresh peaches, plums, cherries, litchis and apricots. Then monsoons kick in and all the fruits vanish at about the same time. This is the last dessert I made this year with my fruit bounty. A plate full of plums, peaches and cherries, the flavours bound together with the easiest pudding you can make. And a sprinkle of almonds to bring in a much needed crunch.

Posset is a pudding that sounds impossible. But it's far less fussy than your typical mousses et al that require scary combinations of hot liquids and egg yolks. There are no eggs in this funky British dessert. Instead, your purposefully curdle cream with lime juice. It all feels like it shouldn't work but it really does end with a creamy, delicious dessert.

This recipe from Food52 was made with heavy cream, but I made it with the light 25% cream found i…

Nori Granola

The first time I heard of nori granola, I was instantly impressed by how brilliant the idea is. The recipe by Heidi Swanson, one of my favourite bloggers, combines the salty seaweed with a whole lot of complementing and contrasting flavours. There are oats, obviously. But there are also less obvious additions like cashews, fennel and sesame seeds. All bound together by a tiny amount of honey and olive oil.

This isn't breakfast cereal. This is a grown up granola that's perfect for snacking. I'm yet to try it with yogurt but I've already scattered it all over a bowl of pumpkin soup and it was delicious there too.

Heidi says to use up the granola in a week so what follows is half her recipe.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cup oats
3/4 cups coarsely chopped raw cashews
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
3 six-inch nori sheets, crumbled
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 150C…

A River Flows Through It

Olive Oil Cake

The other day, Food52 published a story on their most popular genius dessert ever. And it turned out not to be something faffy or chocolate-y or fruity. Instead, it was the plain and humble olive oil cake. I've never baked with olive oil though I have used the more neutral oils in cakes before. This one does let the olive oil shine with all its personality. This is also one of the simplest cakes you will ever bake, so maybe that accounts for the popularity.

The original recipe is for a full cake but I reduced it to a third and baked 6 cupcakes instead. Mine's also a pale vanilla colour whereas the one on food52 is a rich brown so there is a chance I underbaked it. It's quite soft and nice and tasty all the same.

Ingredients
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp baking powder
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
100 ml whole milk
1 egg
1/2 tbsp orange zest
45 ml fresh orange juice

Line 6 muffin tins and set on a tray. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix f…

Black Bean Soup

I first saw this black bean soup on David Lebovitz's blog about a month back. I made it almost immediately and loved it. Then I made it again and then I made it a third time. I have been tinkering with the recipe and while I think the soup is now perfect and one of the best I've ever made, it no longer bears any resemblance to what David made. Which is why it seems right to share this recipe here before I forget it.

The key difference is that I use canned ancho chillies and other pantry goodies whereas David uses a lot of fresh vegetables. They are both great so pick the recipe depending on what you have in the pantry or fridge. Here's my version.

Ingredients
1/2 cup dried black beans
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 ancho chilli (I have a jar of ancho in oil)
2 tbsp pitted green olives
1 tbsp capers
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
To garnish
sour cream
dried mint
crushed nachos

Wash and soak the black beans overnigh…

Easy Peasy Chocolate Mousse

Valentine's Day is just a day away which means that right now, you are in one of the two categories. You either planned ahead and have dinner reservations at a trendy restaurant and a box of chocolates tucked away to bring out at the right moment. Or you are looking for excuses on why celebrating love just once a year makes no sense, driven largely by the fact that everything is too cheesy and too crowded and too sold out at the moment.

I personally remain a fan of staying at home not just for Valentine's but also for other crowd attracting festivals and new year's eves etc. This usually translates to ordering in pizza. But one thing I never order in is dessert. This particular year, food52 came up with an idea so genius and so easy just in time, I haven't even had to research cake recipes. For what they have is a super simple, super easy and completely fuss free chocolate mousse.

Now yogurt and orange marmalade aren't the first things to come to mind when you think …