Monday, July 28, 2014

Spicy Pumpkin Soup (with a secret ingredient)

I love a bit of magic in cooking, a bit of the unexpected that completes a dish and makes it amazing without alerting you to it's presence - a bit like the anchovies in the Lamb Chop recipe. I was playing around with different ingredients to make this soup, and although it was rich in colour and taste, it lacked a certain unctuousness, a particular richness of comforting umami. So I added a secret ingredient. I bet you are as surprised as everyone else when you find out what it is.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup


  • 2 onions, chopped roughly.
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • A large wodge of pumpkin, cut into pieces and pre roasted if you can.
  • 4 large very ripe tomatoes (or two tins of chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • a knob of ginger as big as your thumb, peeled and chopped 
  • half a teaspoon of chili paste, or as much as you like.
  • leaves from a large spring of rosemary 
  • teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • about 1 to 1.5 litres of stock, made from stock powder is perfectly fine.
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • The Secret Ingredient: A large tablespoon of smooth peanut butter. (Are you shocked?)

  • Put everything except for the secret ingredient into the slow cooker or a large saucepan, and simmer all day. Jokes! 5 hours in the slow cooker, about 1 hour on the stove top. The heat should be low.
  • Just before you are ready to serve, puree the soup with a stab blender. 
  • Taste the soup. It's delicious but a bit thin, yes? Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir through the peanut butter and let it rest for 10 minutes, to give the flavours a chance to kiss and co-mingle.
  • Taste again. Has the peanut butter elevated it to the next level of savoury richness? Most excellent!

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and try to keep everyone guessing as long as you can.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Low Carb Mushroom Risotto

So, one of the things I miss most in this Diabetic Adventure is risotto. Once upon a time it was on high rotation in the BC House, but sadly these days it has lost favour, as it sends my BSA through the roof. I miss it very much but know that our love must be unrequited. Regular readers know that I try and eat low carb when I can, not because I don't love carbs (oh my gosh I really do!) but because I have diabetes type 2, and carbohydrates, especially high GI carbs from bread, rice and pasta are the best way to lose control of your blood sugar. Which is bad, yo! So I have embraced the magical cauliflower and many Paleo style recipes as a substitute. And gosh, I am loving it. I was super happy that this idea worked out, and although it is certainly not low fat, it's definitely low carb; and I will be cooking it again.

Low Carb Mushroom Risotto


  • half a head of cauliflower, pulsed in a food processor until it resembles rice.
  • about 2 cups of mushrooms, peeled and sliced
  • 60g butter
  • salt and white pepper, to taste.
  • half a cup of cream
  • nice parmesan cheese

  • In a saucepan, saute the mushrooms in butter until soft. Don't add any other liquid.
  • add the cauliflower all at once, and stir for about 5 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and not mushy. You want all the liquid to evaporate out, so keep stirring over highish heat until this happens.
  • Stir through the salt and pepper and the cream.
  • Plate into a serving dish, and top with the parmesan, and maybe some parsley or spring onions.

The cream is needed to replace the natural creaminess of risotto made with rice, which I think is the part that is so ruinous to my blood sugar! This 'risotto' needs to be eaten immediately, and although you can reheat it it won't be as nice. I ate the leftovers the next day on a bed of fresh spinach and topped with a fried egg and more parmesan, and it was very nice, but not perfect. As far as low carb options though, it was pretty spectacular!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A giveaway to warm the heart of your cockles

How cold is this winter? Super cold. Here in the Sunshine State it is all gorgeous sunny days that are actually a bit arctic. People are walking around in 3 jumpers because no one actually owns an overcoat in a subtropical climate. It is strange and lovely to smell everyones wood fires going, I'm sure those fireplaces have only ever seen decorative candles before. I do not have a wood burning fire place, or even a heater, so it has been a bit of a rude shock to me. OK, I have a fireplace in the garden, but that won't keep me warm.

Do you know what will keep me warm?

A heated throw rug! Like a heated blanket but specifically to snuggle in on the couch!  Not only will they warm up in ten minutes, and keep you warm with 9 heat settings; they are perfectly safe in the washing machine and drier! Genius!! Also, it is much more energy efficient than a fireplace.

Thanks to the lovely people at Origin I have three of these wonderful things to give away. Just leave a comment telling me your favourite way to keep warm this winter and the winner will be drawn on July 31st. Australian residents only, sorry.


EDIT: Thank you to those that entered, the winners of this giveaway are;
Redcliffe Style, because keeping warm with dogs is certainly something I do,
Tracey Weller, for her innovative use of hormones and reverse cycle air con, 
and Jessie Hay, because doing the school run in my PJ's is something I aspire to.
Congratulations, winners! Please email me your mailing addresses asap!
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