I am very pleased to have been invited to provide recipes for the Yarra Ranges Tourism, visitdandenongranges.com.au, weekly blog.
After living in the Dandenong Ranges for close to 20 years, I feel I can almost call myself a "local"! My late husband and I were part of the Yarra Ranges Regional Food Group and spent many Sundays at Yering Station Farmers' Market, where we sold a range of my pickles, chutneys, jams, jellies, vinegars - and became friends with our regulars.
After about 25 years as a food writer, stylist and consultant my involvement in studio work was replaced by becoming a visiting lecturer in Food & Living Skills, working with VCAL students at Morrison House,Mt Evelyn, which I loved. Now, in a move away from food, I have produced and presented a weekly program on radio 3MDR (97.1 FM, streaming on www.3mdr.com) for about 8 years. The Good Life goes live to air every Monday between 3.00 - 5.00 P.M.
Because we are so fortunate with our range of regional foods and also because of the accessibility of so many farmers' markets, I will offer, whenever possible, recipes including local seasonal ingredients.
Based on a friend's delight - and bewilderment! - at her harvest of 22 pumpkins (with more ripening!) I thought we might start with a recipe I picked up years ago from a leading Melbourne chef. Of course we are also able to find locally grown walnuts at some farmers' markets.
CREAMY PUMPKIN & WALNUT SOUP
INGREDIENTS1 small white onion peeled, OR 4 spring onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
350gr pumpkin, peeled and cubed
60gr walnuts, chopped
1 TB tomato puree
700ml rich chicken or vegetable stock
Generous pinch each of nutmeg and cayenne
300ml light cream
2 TB whipped cream
Little salt (if desired)
30gr toasted chopped walnuts (to garnish)
METHODChop onion or spring onions Melt about 30gr butter in a shallow saucepan.
Add onions and cook gently over low heat. (Do not allow to colour.)
Add garlic, pumpkin, chopped walnuts and tomato puree.
Sweat ingredient so for about 2 minutes, add stock. Bring to the boil and simmer over medium heat until pumpkin is soft.
Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. (May be passed through a sieve for a really velvety finish.) Pour into a saucepan and season with pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat, add cream and remainder of butter, constantly whisking. Adjust seasoning, adding a little salt if necessary.
Serve in heated bowls, topped with a swirl of whipped cream, chopped walnuts and chives.
Download & Print Recipe
Ann Creber (The Good Life on 3MDR)
Image from www.tastespotting.com