At the weekend, we went to Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton, a workers' co-operative selling gorgeous produce, deli items and vegan foods. As well as a massive haul of tofu and faux meat treats, we picked up some lovely fresh vegetables including a big slice of bright orange pumpkin. The produce section is well stocked with seasonal fruits and vegetables, and they grow many items themselves including the squash, cabbages and some fantastic looking Romanesco cauliflowers that Fibonacci would be proud of.
I made this recipe up when we got home, and it was so easy and tasty I thought I would share it with you. This creamy, slightly smoky soup feeds four as a starter, or two as a hearty supper.
1 tbsp. sunflower or light olive oil
1 medium-sized onion
2 large shallots (or another onion)
3 cloves of garlic
2 medium-sized carrots
600g deseeded Pumpkin
Hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano and dill)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. Tofutti vegan cream cheese, or regular cream cheese if you eat dairy.
1 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
A small amount of soya milk
Crusty bread or sliced pittas
Cut the onion, shallot and carrot into small dice and sauté gently in a large pan with the oil until the onions become translucent. Meanwhile, crush the garlic, and peel and cut the pumpkin into one inch cubes. Add these to the pan and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
Add the smoked paprika and enough hot stock to cover the vegetables, and simmer until a sharp knife can pass easily through the pumpkin cubes. Keep topping up the stock if the vegetables are above the surface, and stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
Let it cool for a few minutes, then add in batches to a blender. Pulse a few times, the soup should still have some texture and shouldn't be totally smooth (unless you prefer it that way).
Pour back into the pan, stir in the fresh herbs and taste the soup before seasoning with salt and pepper if you think it needs it. If you think the soup is a little thick, you can add a little more stock, but mine didn't need it.
To make the creamy herb drizzle, place your cream cheese into a small bowl and mix in the lemon or lime juice. Add the soya milk a little at a time so no lumps are left, until you reach a pourable consistency. Stir in the fresh herbs with a pinch of salt, and add a little more liquid if necessary. Drizzle over your soup, or use as a dip for your bread! Add Some croutons if you like, and enjoy!
We also got some lovely olives from the deli counter... mmm, tasty olives.