Let Pumpkin Season Commence

I haven’t given up on this blog, nor stopped cooking, but I had ‘pooter problems during that big Mercury retrograde just gone and I travelled, first to Skye and then to Austria. I did some hearty cooking on Skye – including a vegan Shepherds’ pie that’s an ongoing project – and some refined eating in Austria, where Oktoberfest was going on and pumpkins kept cropping up.

We stayed a couple of nights at this fabulous hotel, Muhtalhof, where chef Helmut served a lip-smacking pumpkin soup, foamy and inflected with a hint of ginger & lemongrass, with dark roasted pumpkin soups. So souper was it that we had it again the next night as a little extra between courses (which included a clever ravioli made out of a thin slice of celeriac stuffed with truffled potato puree, salad with a poached egg in the middle – I do like a poached egg; I know it’s not right – and three rough purees: red & green cabbages, plus carrot, with a crispy potato rosti. Not to mention the pumpkin ice cream that came with a souffle thingy at the end.) It was not exactly the hardest work I’ve ever done.

So, anyway, ’tis the season of pumpkin & suchlike. Plus, risotti. Questions this blog will be asking over Autumnal weeks include, what’s the difference between a risotto and a pilaff? And, arborio vs. carnaroli: who really cares? I reckon one can use any short grain rice and, last week, I made a mightily bosky mushroom risotto with plain old pudding rice, finished with mascarpone.

For now, to use up the mascarpone, I made a soup out of this nondescript squash what I got. Started with half a mild onion and a couple of celery sticks, sweated with paprika. Added cubed squash & turned up the heat to saute. Then transferred to a soup pan, with a lid, and boiled the squash in Marigold bouillon. Blended and passed it through a seive, returned to pan and reheated, finished by beating in the mascarpone. It wasn’t good! Way too muddy in the flavour department. I think it needed apples. Or lime juice? As it was, I give thanks to Brother Bru-Bru.

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