Roast Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkins and squash are in season. They make delicious soup are very easy to make and you can add any vegetables that are going over. They will still add nutrition and flavour.

1 Tbsp oil
400 g butternut squash, washed and cut into chunks
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 celery stick, washed and chopped
1 carrot, trimmed and chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 sprigs thyme plus 2 sprigs for decoration
salt and pepper to taste
600 ml vegetable stock
preheat the oven to 200C, 400 F, Gas Mark 6.
Put the ingredients, (including any vegetables that will roast ie. turnips, peppers etc. chopped) except the stock, in a bowl and add the oil. Toss to cover all.
Put the vegetables into a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove the garlic skin and discard. Pull off the thyme leaves and add to the vegetables.
Place all (including any wilting leaf vegetables ie. spinach) in a food processor. Add half the vegetable stock and process until smooth.
Place in a saucepan with the remainder of the stock and allow to simmer.
Serve in warm bowls with afew thyme leaves to decorate. Serve with warm bread baps.
Serves 4 people.

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Cherry Lemonade

A cool refreshing drink for around the pool.
100g pitted fresh cherries
125 ml orange juice
50g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 whole cloves
2 litres chilled lemonade
mint leaves
slices of orange
ice cubes
Stir the cherries, orange juice, sugar,cinnamon, star anise and cloves in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the cherries are soft.
Allow to cool
Strain the mixture through a sieve. Press the back of a spoon into the cherries. Discard all the solids.
Pour into a large serving jug. Stir in the lemonade.
Decorate with the mint leaves, ice cubes and slices of orange.
Serves 6 people.

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Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

A colourful dish.
half a butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
400g can chickpeas, drained
1 red onion, sliced
1 pkt baby spinach
35g pistachio nuts, toasted
35g cashew nuts, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic
zest of a lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 200C.
Combine the pumpkin and oil in a roasting pan.
Roast for 20 minutes until tender. Turn occasionally.
Allow to cool.
Place all the ingredients in a screw top jar and shake well to combine.
Place the pumpkin, chickpeas, onion, spinach leaves and vinaigrette in a large serving dish. Toss to combine.
Sprinkle top of dish with nuts to serve.
Serves 6 people.

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Melon Seeds as Snacks

We are eating a variety of melons as they are in season and usually the seeds are discarded. Here is a way of making a healthy snack.
Seeds from Rockmelons, Honeydew and the so called seedless Watermelons which contain soft white edible seeds.
Heat oven to 180C.
Remove the seeds from the flesh.
Place seeds on a baking tray.
Cook for 10 minutes.
Allow to cool and serve in a bowl.
Crack the seeds with your teeth and remove the kernels .

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Halloween Sweet Potato Crisps

I made these crisps for our local Halloween party last week end. The recipe idea came from the free Woolworths magazine. I only had a knife, no cutters, so I found it very labour and time intense but it was therapeutic exercise for my shoulder.
4 large long sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 can rice bran oil spray
rosemary sprigs to garnish
Preheat the oven to 210C.
Cover baking trays with baking paper
Mix the turmeric, paprika and salt in a bowl.
If you are going to use the sweet potatoes with the skin on clean them thoroughly. Otherwise peel them and put the slices into water to stop them browning while you cut the faces out. I made both and the ones with the skins on kept their shape better.
Slice the sweet potato into thin slices. Using a small pointed sharp knife, cut the eyes and mouth and if possible a nose in the centre of the potato slices.
Place the potato faces onto the baking trays. Spray with the oil. Sprinkle with the spice mix.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the crisps over. Spray with the oil and bake for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they burn quickly!
At this stage I turned the oven off. Allowed it to cool down and left the crisps to dry and crisp up.
Serve on a plate sprinkled with rosemary for garnish.
Makes about 50 crisps.

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Beetroot and Lentil Salad

This recipe is for Andrea who loves beetroot!
4 raw beetroots, scrub and cut into wedges
1 tin brown lentils
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 punnet of cherry tomatoes
4 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Horseradish sauce
50 g parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas Mark 6.
Place the beetroot on a baking tray and toss with half the olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes.
Drain the lentils and wash in cold water.
Add the cherry tomatoes to the beetroot and roast for 10 minutes.
Add the cooked beetroot and tomatoes to the lentils.
Whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, horseradish sauce and parsley.
Toss with the salad until well mixed.
Season to taste.
Place in a serving bowl or in 4 individual plates.

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Blackberry Balls

A healthy snack or for afternoon tea.
200g porridge oats
50g blackberries
10 dates, depipped
50g desiccated coconut
1 vanilla pod, scraped
1 tsp cinnamon
25g desiccated coconut for rolling the balls in.
In a blender blend the oats until they are the consistency of flour. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to combine.
Roll the mixture into 16 balls. Roll each ball in the desiccated coconut to coat.
Place in the freezer for half an hour. Remove and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
They will keep for two weeks in a container in the fridge.

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