Recipe: Pumpkin soup with cinnamon and ginger

Pumpkin soup with cinnamon and ginger

Pumpkin soup with cinnamon and ginger

Pumpkin soup makes for a great warming autumn supper, along with some crusty bread and good cheese. If you can’t find pumpkins, you could use any type of large squash instead.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.2kg pumpkin
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 leek, white part only
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 75cl chicken stock or water
  • 10cl crème fraîche
  • salt

To serve

  • 20g butter
  • 1 pinch powdered cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 3 sprigs chervil

1. Peel and seed the pumpkin, then cut it into large chunks. Peel the onion and garlic, clean and wash the leek. Finely dice leek and onion, chop garlic.
2. In a saucepan, fry the onions, garlic, leek and ginger in butter without colouring.
3. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon and thyme. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water or stock, add salt to taste, and boil gently for 30 minutes without covering.
4. Remove cinnamon and thyme. Add crème fraîche and mix well. Pour pumpkin soup into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth purée. Add a little water if necessary, correct seasoning.
5. Hand-blend the pumpkin cream with the butter to emulsify it. Pour it into soup bowls and sprinkle with powdered cinnamon, pumpkin seeds and small sprigs of chervil.

If you want to make your own bread to go with the soup, check out our delicious curry flavoured peanut and cashew bread rolls.

 

 

How to: buy and cook beef

We’re launching a new series of ‘how to’ guides so we can share our best culinary tips with you all.

Bruno Le Gac

Bruno Le Gac

If there’s anything you want to know to make your cooking more enjoyable, send us your comments and ideas.

You can contact us via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

This week, our Corporate Chef Bruno Le Gac shares his expertise on what to look for when you’re buying beef. He’s also got plenty of tips on how to cook the meat you’ve chosen.

Find a good butcher

Before going to your butcher to buy beef there are a few basic questions to ask yourself:

  • How do I want to cook the meat?
  • How much do I want to spend?
  • How much time do I have?

What you want to prepare will determine the cut you need to buy. The most important thing to me is to find the right butcher. Meat in general is a very specific produce, and you need to trust the person who is selling it to you.

Roast beef

Roast beef

A good butcher knows where his meat is coming from, how long it has been resting in the cold room, what he should serve you according to the circumstances and the answers to your three questions listed above.

Summer BBQ

Looking for something to serve at a summer BBQ with friends? Go for a nice, thick prime rib. Nicely marbled with thin layers of white fat and aged to perfection. Important: once cooked, the meat has to rest for at least 10 minutes before being sliced and served.

Children helping cook in the kitchen

Children love helping to cook

Cooking for the kids

Preparing a quick lunch with the kids at home? Flank steak is a great option. Thin and easy to prepare – use a cast iron grill-pan - it’s a delicious and juicy cut. Great with sliced shallots just sautéed in butter and sprinkled with freshly ground pepper.

Romantic dinner for two

Planning a romantic dinner with a nice bottle of Bordeaux? A thick cut of a good quality tenderloin is your best bet. Real meat lovers will prefer rib-eye, a slightly less tender but more tasty cut, although arguably less romantic). It doesn’t come cheap but it’s pleasure guaranteed.

Portion sizes – 180g per portion is nice. 200g is for big appetites. 250g is for rugby players…

Prime category red meat is always best served medium rare. If you prefer your tenderloin well done, I would recommend you open it ‘butterfly’ style for a quicker cooking time.

Le Creuset casserole pot

Le Creuset casserole pot

Family gathering

Got a family gathering to cook for? A nicely roasted sirloin, sliced in the dining room with a beautiful professional knife is an elegant dish that will please everyone. It cooks ‘by itself’ which gives you time to take care of your guests.

For a less costly option, but not less pleasurable, go for gelatinous cuts such as cheeks or even shortribs.

They are at their best when braised in the oven in a rich sauce with red wine, baby onions and mushrooms. It takes time to make, and it’s more of a winter dish, but the reward is worth it. Serve it with your homemade mashed potato, and sprinkle with fresh thinly chopped chives.

More recipes…

Want to create some more of our chefs’ amazing dishes yourself at home? Every Friday, we post some of the most amazing, delicious and popular recipes in our culinary section.

Top 5 natural wonders of the Seychelles

Beach at Constance Lemuria

Beach at Constance Lemuria

One of the most alluring features of the Seychelles as a holiday destination is its geographical isolation.

Perched in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 1000 miles off the east coast of Africa, this archipelago of 155 islands has managed to maintain its ecological credibility - protecting the rich endemic flora and fauna that its famous for.

Here’s a run-down of our top 5 must-see natural wonders of the Seychelles.

1. The atoll of Aldabra

Giant land tortoise

Giant land tortoise

The Aldabra atoll is situated in the most remote part of the Seychelles. Made up of 4 main islands, it’s here that you’ll find the largest raised coral atoll in the world – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With a pristine coral reef and over 100,000 giant land tortoises, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in ecology. Other wildlife on the islands include frigate birds, giant crabs and the white throated rail, the only flightless bird left in the Indian Ocean.

Find out more from the UNESCO website.

2. Sainte Anne Marine National Park

An easily accessible boat-ride away from Victoria Harbour, this marine park is made up of 6 islands. Being close to Victoria, Ste Anne is well within the tourist trail but still worth a visit.

The marine park offers superb snorkelling conditions in clear waters. Here, you’ll see many of the 900 species of fish found in the Seychelles.

Hawskbill Turtles are another big draw for visitors to these islands.

3. Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island

Coco de Mer

Coco de Mer

Lying in the heart of Praslin Island, Seychelles, is Vallée de Mai  –  a national park, UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the highly revered Coco de Mer seed.

Vallée de Mai is the only place in the world where you’ll find Coco de Mer. Visitors can wander through the national park, beneath giant palm trees. And keep your eyes open for the rare Seychelles Black Parrot. Read our article about the Coco de Mer.

4. Bird Island

Bird Island is situated some 60 miles north of Mahé.  It’s a tiny flat coralline island where over 400,000 pairs of sooty terns breed every year between May – November.

There are viewing platforms where keen ornithologists can enjoy the sight of the terns incubating their eggs and caring for newborn chicks. Other birds found on the island include curlew sandpipers, fairy terns and turnstones.

5. Beaches, beaches, beaches

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

North Beach at Constance Ephelia

Across the Seychelles, you’ll find stunning beaches complete with huge granite boulders, soft white sand and breathtaking views across the calm turquoise waters.

These islands look like paradise on earth, and you’ll feel you’ve been whisked far away from the mêlée and humdrum of daily life.

Find out more about our 2 resorts in the Seychelles:

 

Best and worst book awards

Stack of books

Book awards around the world

Guardian newspaper writer Claire Armistead offers up her longlist of the best and worst book awards in the UK and overseas.

The most pampering luxurious prize goes to the annual Le Prince Maurice prize for romantic literature, held at Constance Le Prince Maurice.

Read what else Claire Armistead had to say about this prize, and many other literary awards – The world of book awards, a longlist.

Constance Belle Mare Plage – one child stays free

Constance Belle Mare Plage is an ideal family resort - offering plenty of space, 4 swimming pools, a paddle friendly beach and a great choice of family-friendly dining.

Kakoo Club, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Kakoo Club, Constance Belle Mare Plage

With our special offer, one child under the age of 12 years goes free when sharing with adults in single or double Prestige Room, Junior or Deluxe Suite.

The offer is valid until 19 October 2011, with a minimum of 2 nights stay.

Package includes:

  • Daily breakfast and dinner for adults and children

Find out more about this special deal for one child to stay free of charge at Constance Belle Mare Plage, including terms and conditions.

Last Night of the Proms 2011

Last night of the proms - in the arena

Last night of the proms - in the arena

Some 6000 people packed into the Royal Albert Hall, London on Saturday 10 September for the annual rousing finale of the Proms season.

BBC – proms

If you missed it, fear not. You can watch or listen to the last night of the proms, and much more, on the BBC website.

Blog from Phil Hall

Get the inside story from Phil Hall, the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s sub-principal viola player.

Guardian critic’s review

Find out what the critics thought of the night – Erica Jeal from the Guardian gives a detailed account of the night.