Pumpkin Soup – Old and New

Who knows where a conversation about food will take you?

For those that know me,  I’m a foodie who likes to talk a lot. So inevitably a conversation will turn to food. This week at lunchtime I asked my work colleagues, “What shall I cook for my guests on Saturday night?”. I said one of my friends is a foodie, so I need to cook something nice. George, whom I often have interesting conversations with, told me, that he has just the book for my foodie friend. (I did not tell him that I have food blog!). George began to describe the nature of the book and said it contained Recipes for everything. The book belonged to his grandparents, and was published in 1897.

When George brought the book into work I was overwhelmed. Talking about something and then seeing the book is completely different.20130719-153239.jpg The book is called “Cyclopedia of Valuable Receipts”. It has 5 parts to the book, including Health and Chemistry, Domestic Life, Farm Interests, Mechanical Arts, and Recreations. The illustrations are sketches and are amazing. George has kindly lent the book to me over the weekend, and I am going to handle it carefully.  Reading the book you feel like you are taken back into another time, and while I may not try the recipes it makes fascinating reading. I am curious as to why the title includes “receipts” and not “recipes”.  Now that is something for me to research, when I get the chance. Thank you to George for sharing this very special book with me.

Naturally the first section I was drawn to was Domestic Life.  Included in this section, are lots of recipes for soups, including eel and celery, and calf’s head!  It just so happened that I was cooking pumpkin soup for dinner, and lo and behold this “Treasury of Recipes” has instructions on how to cook pumpkin soup. While I have not tried the 1897 recipe, I thought I would include it as a reference to the past.

Happy Cooking!

PUMPKIN SOUP – OLD

(from a 1897 publication called “Cyclopedia of Valuable Receipts”)
For 6 persons use 3lbs. of pumpkin; take off the rind; cut it in pieces and put it in a saucepan with a little salt and cover with water; let it boil until it is soft; pass through a colander; it must have no water in it; put about 3 pts of milk in a casserole; add the strained pumpkin and let it come to a boil; add a very little white sugar, salt and pepper.

PUMPKIN SOUP – “NEW”

(Recipe modified from Australian Women’s Weekly Microwave 2 Cookbook)

500g pumpkin, chopped, skin removed

30g butter

1 medium onion

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 tsp cumin

parmesan cheese

Microwave Method

  1. Combine pumpkin, butter, onion and garlic in a large bowl, cover and cook on HIGH in for 7 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock, tomato paste, and cumin. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender
  3. Blend or process in several batches until smooth. Reheat and serve with parmesan cheese.

Stove Top Method

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan on a medium to high heat.  Sauté onion and garlic until onion is soft.
  2. Add pumpkin and cumin and stir fry for 1 – 2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock and tomato paste. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender.
  4. Blend the soup until smooth. Reheat and serve with parmesan cheese.

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