Easy Pumpkin Soup

Easy Pumpkin Soup with Sweetcorn and Thyme

This Easy Pumpkin Soup brings together the natural sweetness of pumpkins, squash or sweet potatoes with sweetcorn. I have flavoured it with fresh thyme, which combines well with all the main ingredients, and have resisted the urge to add chilli. When I first made it, I thought that maybe it would be too sweet and might a bit of chilli heat. However, I tasted it before I added any chilli and decided that it was pretty good as it was. It has a thick, rich sweetness – a culinary equivalent of being wrapped in a warm blanked – which I think is perfect in autumn when the days are getting colder.

Choose your squash!

This soup can be made either with pumpkins, when they are in season, but is just as good using other squashes (such as butternut squash) or with sweet potatoes. What you need is a main ingredient that has a natural, starchy sweetness which is enhanced by slow cooking. As you will see from the recipe, I also add a regular potato to the soup. I tend to do this with most of my soups as it adds a natural thickness and body to the soup.

How to separate corn kernels from the cob – a guide for the terrified..

I also use fresh sweetcorn in this soup. The first time I came across a recipe that involved taking the kernels off the corn cob I thought it would be hard to do. However, it is really straightforward if you stick to the following process. 1) Get a sharp knife 2) Cut off the thicker end of the cob so that you have a flat base 3) Stand the cob vertically on its flat base and cut downwards with your knife to separate the kernels from the cob 4) Work around the cob until all the kernels have been removed.

The wonderful world of home-made soups..

I think making soup is an absolute no-brainer. Not only is it tastier than anything you can buy in a store, you also know exactly what goes into it and can adjust it to suit your own tastes. Making soup is also really easy and you can make it in advance and keep in the fridge or freeze it. If you like this Easy Pumpkin Soup recipe, you might like some of my other soup recipes such as Mushroom and Chestnut Soup, Fennel Soup, Celeriac and Apple Soup, Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Soup. All are vegetarian and most can easily be made vegan by swapping out butter for vegetable fat.

Easy Pumpkin Soup with Sweetcorn and Thyme

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Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup

Easy Pumpkin Soup with Sweetcorn and Thyme

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 pints of soup 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Pumpkin Soup with Sweetcorn and Thyme is thick, savoury and warming – the culinary equivalent of a hug!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 1 small pumpkin or squash or 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 sweetcorn cobs
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 pints of vegetable stock
  • 1 large sprig of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup


Instructions

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onions.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the pumpkin, squash or sweet potatoes.
  3. Peel and roughly chop the potato.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped vegetables.   Cook gently over a low heat for around 10 minutes until the vegetables are starting to caramelise.
  5. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels from the cobs.  
  6. Add the corn kernels and the crushed garlic cloves to the pan together with the paprika.
  7. Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to simmering point.   Cook gently for 20 minutes.
  8. Separate the fresh thyme leaves from their stalk and add them to the soup.
  9. Blend the soup in a food processor or by using a hand blender.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup


Keywords: pumpkin, sweetcorn, soup

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare at Lost in Food and on #Fiesta Friday at Fiesta Friday

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Thyme Biscuits with Pinenuts

Thyme biscuits with pinenuts
Thyme biscuits

Thyme Biscuits with Pinenuts

These Thyme Biscuits are very loosely inspired by the Italian pinolate biscuits, which are often lemon flavoured and contain ground pinenuts in addition to a topping of whole ones.    When I was putting together a recipe for thyme-flavoured biscuits, I thought that a topping of pinenuts would make them look attractive and go well with the herby flavour.  The pinenuts become golden and toasted while the biscuits are cooking in the oven and this makes them crunchy and also enhances their flavour.

Although thyme is mostly used in savoury dishes, it is also a good flavouring with sweeter ones such as these biscuits and also my Thyme ice-cream with honey and mascarpone.

The fresh  thyme that you buy in the supermarket will generally be common thyme which does make a good flavouring for these biscuits.  However, I used lemon thyme when making these biscuits, as I grow it in my garden and particularly like its lemony-herby flavour.    If you have space for a few pots and want to grow your own thyme, there are many different types, a number of which have distinctive citrus notes such as lemon, orange or lime.   Herbal Haven has a very large variety of thyme and other herbs which can be bought online.

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Thyme biscuits with pinenuts

Thyme Biscuits with Pinenuts

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 biscuits 1x
  • Category: Biscuits
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These biscuits are flavoured with fresh thyme and topped with crunchy, toasted pinenuts.  They are great as an accompaniment to ice-cream or sorbet.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 115g butter (softened)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 large egg
  • 175g plain flour
  • 35g pinenuts

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas Mark 3
  2. Combine all ingredients,  except the pinenuts, in your food processor until they form a soft dough.  (NB:  If you do not have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the chopped thyme.  Gradually add the egg and then the flour.)
  3. Roll the dough out to approximately 1 cm thickness.
  4. Cut into circles or other shapes if you wish.
  5. Place the circles on a baking tray lined with baking parchment or grease-proof paper.
  6. Press pinenuts into the top of each circle of dough.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes until golden.

Keywords: biscuits, thyme, pinenuts

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Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone

Thyme icecream
Thyme Ice-cream

Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone

My Thyme Ice-cream, flavoured with honey and mascarpone, is rich and sweet.  Although many of the ingredients that I use are local to where I now live in south-west England – fresh thyme from my garden, honey from the man down the road who keeps bees – the flavours take me back to many happy summers in Italy.

I think my Thyme Ice-cream makes an excellent dessert after a summer meal – cooling and  creamy  but with a herby twist!  The taste of thyme is quite subtle in this recipe and is balanced by the other flavours, so this a good introduction to herb ice-cream for those who may be a little unsure about it.   If I am serving this at a dinner party,  I will usually serve it paired with another ice-cream with a less unusual flavour and let people choose which one they want!

I love herb-flavoured ice-creams.  I think the cream or custard base provides the perfect vehicle for many herbs and allows their flavours to sing out.  Herbs are the stars of the show and not just a supporting act!    Many herbs, which may be considered mainly of use in savoury dishes, make excellent ice-cream.   In addition to thyme, I think basil, bay, sorrel all make excellent ice-creams.  There are also, of course, other herbs such as lavender and lemon verbena, which are used in many sweet dishes and make fantastic flavourings for ice-cream.

 

Thyme icecream
Thyme Ice-cream

Equipment

Whisk and bowl.  This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions under point 12 of Method)

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Thyme icecream

Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Try a sweet twist on thyme with this creamy Thyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 200 ml double cream
  • A large bunch of fresh thyme
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 ml honey
  • 250 g mascarpone

Instructions

  1. Wash your thyme and crush it gently using the back of a spoon to release its flavour.  There is no need to remove the leaves from the woody stalks.
  2. Put the thyme into a saucepan with the cream.  At this stage, if you have time (as well as thyme..) you can leave the mixture overnight to allow the flavour to infuse.
  3. Next, heat the cream and thyme mixture gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
  4. Strain the cream through a sieve to remove the thyme.
  5. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  6. Pour the thyme-flavoured cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks.
  7. Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
  8. The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is).  Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
  9. Add the honey to the custard.
  10. Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  11. Add the mascarpone to the chilled custard.
  12. When you are ready to make the ice-cream, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.

Notes

There are many varieties of thyme and any are fine in this ice-cream.  I used lemon thyme as I particularly love its flavour.

Keywords: thyme, ice-cream, honey, mascarpone

Thyme Ice-cream

Thyme Ice-cream

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Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart

Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

This Shallot Tart is very quick and easy to make.   The flavours are a good balance with sweet, caramelised shallots, salty anchovies, pungent thyme and creamy mascarpone on a base of crispy, buttery puff pastry.     If you are a vegetarian, you could replace the anchovies with olives or capers which both have a strong, salty taste.

I love shallots, partly because they generally have a milder, sweeter flavour than most onions.   It is easy to remove the skins using boiling water, as described below, and I like that they can be eaten whole (or halved) rather than needing to be chopped or sliced like regular onions.

When I have been working all day and need to make a quick supper to feed my family, I often make a tart based on ready-made puff pastry.   If you use a brand that uses butter (check the label!) it will taste delicious and, although I usually make shortcrust pastry from scratch as it is very straightforward, in my view, ready-made is the way to go for puff pastry!

Generally, the toppings on these puff pastry tarts are determined by what I have to hand in my kitchen but they usually include something cheesy or creamy and also something oniony plus a few stronger flavours to pep things up!    My recipe for Asparagus and Herb Cheese Tart, another variation on the theme,  is also included in this blog.

Equipment

Oven tray

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart

Pastry and mascarpone – ready for tart

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Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart

Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy makes an easy and very tasty lunch or supper.  The combination of crisp buttery pastry, sweet shallots, fragrant thyme and salty anchovy is superb!


Scale

Ingredients

500 g pack of ready-made puff pastry (get one made with butter if you can)
A little plain flour
A few sprigs of thyme
1 tin of anchovies
400 g of shallots
150 g of mascarpone


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Lightly dust your oven tray with flour.
  3. Roll out the puff pasty into a large rectangle and place on your oven tray.
  4. Remove the skins from your shallots.  The easiest way of doing this is to put them in a small saucepan, cover with boiling water and leave for 3 minutes.  Then drain off the water and the skins will be easy to remove.
  5. Cut each peeled shallot in half.  Place shallots in a small frying pan with a little butter and cook very gently until golden and softened.  This should take around 10 minutes.
  6. Spread the mascarpone over the puff pastry.
  7. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and small pieces of anchovy.  Then add the cooked shallots.
  8. Place the tart in the oven and cook for 20 minutes until the pastry is crispy and golden.
  9. The tart can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.   I like it best hot.

Keywords: shallot tart, thyme, anchovy

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Shallots

 

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Pastry, thyme and anchovies – ready for tart

Shallot, Thyme and Anchovy Tart
Shallot Tart with Thyme and Anchovy – ready for the oven

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Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme and Dauphinoise Potatoes

Garlic butter with thyme and lemon
Ingredients for garlic, thyme and lemon butter

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme and Dauphinoise Potatoes

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme, together with my healthier version of Dauphinoise Potatoes, make a fantastic and easy Sunday lunch.

The chicken will be very garlicky, with the flavour enhanced by the lemon and thyme.  I have toned down the garlic in the Dauphinoise potatotes but feel free to increase it if you are feeding lots of garlic lovers!     Dauphinoise Potatoes make a great accompaniment to roast meat but also are popular with vegetarians.  Soft potatoes, flavoured with thyme and garlic, with a crispy top – who wouldn’t want this with their Sunday lunch?

My version is a lighter, and healthier, version of the traditional recipe for Dauphinoise potatoes which uses cream (or a mix of milk and cream).  I just use milk as I find the traditional version is too rich and heavy.  The milk gets absorbed by the potatoes, along with the flavours of the garlic and thyme.  When people eat this dish, they often think that there is cheese included, although there isn’t, because of the way the milk reduces.   This is also a very accommodating dish as it is made in advance and it is happy sitting in a warm oven if more time is needed for other elements of your meal.

Oven-ready chicken..
Chicken smothered in garlic, lemon and thyme butter and ready for the oven

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme

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Garlic, thyme, lemon butter makes your chicken delicious

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Crispy-skinned roast chicken, flavoured with garlic, lemon and thyme – who wouldn’t want this for Sunday lunch?


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 125 g butter (softened)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Remove the thyme leaves from the woody stems (keep the stems) and put them in a small bowl. Add the grated zest of your lemon along with the crushed garlic. Put your softened butter into the bowl and mash to combine with the other ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Loosen the skin on your chicken’s breast by gently pushing your fingers under it. Push half of the flavoured butter under the skin.  Smear the other half of the butter all over the chicken.
  4. Quarter your zested lemon and put this in the chicken’s cavity along with the thyme stems.
  5. Place your chicken in the roasting pan and cover with foil.
  6. Place your chicken in the oven. The time that it will take to roast will depend on its size but will probably be between one and a half and two hours.   Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  7. When it is done, remove the chicken from the roasting pan and put it on a warm plate, covered with foil, to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. If you want gravy, you can use the following method. Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a measuring jug or similar container.  The juices will settle within a minute or so with the fat rising to the surface.  Take two tablespoons of the fat and return them to the roasting pan.  Add two tablespoons of plain flour.  Stir together and cook over a low heat for a few minutes.  Add the rest of the chicken juices to the roasting pan together with some hot water (either from the kettle or water used to cook vegetables is great).  Allow to bubble for a few minutes and then pour into a gravy boat or jug to serve.

Keywords: chicken with garlic and thyme

Ingredients for Dauphinoise potatoes
Potatoes, garlic and thyme

Dauphinoise Potatoes

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Dauphinoise potatoes

Dauphinoise Potatoes

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Potatoes
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Crisp on the top, soft and creamy underneath, and flavoured with garlic and thyme, these potatoes are fantastic with roast meat or grilled fish.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo potatoes
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 500 ml milk
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Butter the oven-proof dish
  3. Peel and slice the potatoes thinly into disks
  4. Put a layer of potato disks in the dish. Dot with knobs of butter. Season with salt and pepper – it is really important to season every layer. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves and a little crushed garlic.  I prefer this dish to have a whisper of garlic so only use one clove throughout but feel free to increase the amount of garlic if you like!
  5. Repeat step 3 until the dish is filled.
  6. Pour the milk into the dish.
  7. Put the dish into your oven and cook for around 1 hour. At the end of this time, the potatoes should be soft, and most of the milk should have been absorbed, and the top should be crisp and golden.

Keywords: dauphinoise potatoes, garlic potatoes

Dauphinoise potatoes
Potato slices
Potatoes, thyme, garlic
Dauphinoise potatoes – ready for the oven


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