It’s minus 4.3 degrees C and falling fast out there, so time for something warming. And what better than pumpkin soup! Regular readers will know of my love/hate relationship with pumpkins. Only veggies beginning with p seem to grow well at Les Fragnes so we end up with pommes de terre (potatoes), poireaux (leeks) and potirons (or citrouilles – pumpkins). And of that lot, the pumpkins always do best of all, meaning we have a lot of them to eat. The kids are not terribly partial to pumpkin, apart from when it’s served up in pumpkin pie form, so it’s Chris and I mainly who munch our way through many kilograms of them each year. The guinea pigs help us out when we can’t face any more.

Caiti bought this book of traditional French recipes, in French, for Chris a couple of Christmases ago to extend his culinary repertoire and also his linguistic abilities. It has entire sections of recipes featuring a particular winter staple – such as, you guessed it, pumpkin. But there are also recipes using endive (chicory), topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke), noix (nuts), poireaux (leeks, you’ll remember) and more lavishly dattes (dates), mangue (mango) and extremely extravagantly truffes (truffles).

Chris plumped for Soupe Auvergnate today and duly began the exciting task of peel pumpkins this morning. Ruadhri happened into the kitchen, and, as with the mince pies back in December, announced a desire to help. At lightning speed he found himself with a knife in his hand and a small pumpkin on a chopping board in front of him. He happily chopped away for ages and without inflicting any wounds on himself, I’m glad to say.

Chris's soupe Auvergnate

The great pumpkin soup cook-off ensued. Chris produced a large pan of his Auvergnate while Ruadhri, helped by his dad, plumped for ad hoc herby pumpkin soup. Both are very nice. No one can remember what Rors put into his, but here’s the recipe for Chris’s.

Soupe Auvergnate

1.5 kg of pumpkin flesh cut in cubes

3 small leeks

Veg oil

1.5 litres of chicken or veg stock

150 g of grated Cantal or Bleu d’Auvergne cheese

1/2 litre cream or fromage blanc

Sauté the pumpkin and leeks in the oil until soft, then pour on the stock. Simmer away for half an hour. Just before serving mix in the cream/fromage blanc (optional) and the cheese. (Now, I can’t eat blue cheeses since I’m allergic to penicillin, and that’s the only cheese we had in the fridge, so Chris sprinkled his over his bowl of soup rather than mix it in. It worked well like that.)

Ruadhri's herby pumpkin soup

We’ll be eating the soup for several more days but that’s OK. It’s all part of the winter experience chez les Dagg.

And a couple of unrelated snippets to finish. I’ve very kindly been given an award for my blog, the Leibster award, by awesome blogger and freelance writer Vanessa, for which I’m very grateful, and will blog properly about soon. Also, if you have a mo, do pop over here and read a guest post I’ve written for an upcoming fantasy author, Gary F Vanucci, whose short stories I recently had the pleasure to edit.

With that, I’ll shut up and go and eat soup!