Give the staid pumpkin a soupy texture and turn the everyday bread into a toasted mushroom cup with these savoury recipes from Simran Dhanju.
Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Soup
- 4 cups pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
- 1 pod whole garlic/ 10-12 garlic cloves
- 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
- 1 cup bell pepper chunks (red & green)
- 1 cube vegetable stock
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp oil
- Parsley leaves, for garnishing
- 2-3 tsp brown sugar
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, for seasoning
- Dash of cream, for garnishing (optional)
- Heat oil on a very low flame, put parsley leaves and fry for a minute or until just crisp, but still green in colour. Remove on absorbent paper.
- Pour the oil left in pan to the baking tray, put all vegetables (pumpkin, bell peppers, onions and whole garlic) in it, season well with salt and pepper and toss to coat well with oil and seasoning.
- Bake in pre-heated oven at 220˚C for 25-30 minutes. Remove the garlic separate from vegetables and peel them off.
- In a large saucepan, add all roasted vegetables and half the quantity of roasted garlic, add stock cube and roast on low flame until stock is mixed.
- Add tomato paste, sugar and lemon, roast for further 2 minutes, add 3 ¼ cup of hot water, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper if required. Add little more water if soup is too thick and adjust seasoning.
- Blend them together in a blender, crush few parsley leaves with fingertips and add to soup.
- To serve, pour soup in deep dish, garnish with crispy parsley leaves, garlic cloves and cream.
Cheese Egg and Mushroom Toast cups
- 8 large bread slices (white/brown)
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup cooking cream
- 4 tbsp milk
- 1 ½ cups button mushroom (brown and white), sliced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3-4 tbsp oil
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 large muffin tray
- Pre-heat oven to 180˚C.
- Generously, grease muffin tray with oil, place bread slices in it; gently press down to give cup shape and make a well to pour the filling in. Brush oil on the corners of bread hanging out.
- In a large pan, heat oil on low, add garlic, toss for few seconds and add mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms on high flame until well roasted; season it with salt and pepper and remove from fire.
- In a pouring jug, mix eggs, cream, milk and cheese, season with salt and pepper.
- Now put mushroom and spinach leaves in bread cups, distributing equally, pour eggs and cheese mixture on top to cover mushrooms and spinach.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until eggs are cooked and bread is golden brown.
- Let the cups rest for 3-4 minutes in muffin tray, run a bread knife around the edges to loosen it; remove gently. Serve hot with ketchup or any sauce of your choice or just like that.
Simran is a celebrated chef and a winner of multi cooking competitions; she creates visual delights artfully by merging traditional flavours.