Basic Pumpkin Soup and garlic parmesan toasts

soup, Uncategorized

Soups generally take a while to prepare, but this one is really quick. You could have it on the table in under 45 minutes from starting the preparation. While I prefer my pumpkin soup to have some spice to it, this one is milder and child friendly. Feel free to add some sweet thai chilli sauce to the adults’ if you want a bit of kick.

The toasts were a big hit with my girls and are really quick to make. Similar “garlic bread” in the supermarket is really expensive – much cheaper to make your own!


Pumpkin Soup

1 T butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 kg pumpkin or squash, peeled and de-seeded, and shopped into 2 – 3 cm cubes

5 c chicken or vegetable stock

1 t finely chopped fresh thyme

Cracked pepper and chopped chives or parsley to serve (adults)

Garlic Parmesan Toasts

1 french stick

3 T butter

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 T chopped parsley

Grated parmesan cheese to top

1. Melt butter in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft.

2. Add the pumpkin, stock and thyme. Put the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. While the soup is simmering prepare the garlic butter for the toasts. Mash the softened butter with garlic and parsley.

4. Slice the french stick into 4 chunks, and slice each of these in half horizontally to make 8 big slices of bread. Spread these liberally with the butter and place on an oven tray. Top with the grated parmesan.

5.  Once cooked, place the soup in the food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy.

6. Grill the bread until butter and cheese is melted and golden.

7. Serve the soup topped with pepper and chives, with garlic toasts on the side.

Hint: One of the most time consuming things in making this soup is preparing and chopping the pumpkin. You could do this the night before, or in the morning, or even in the weekend if you wanted to speed things up on the night you were going to cook this. Just place the pumpkin in an airtight bag and it will be fine for a few days.


Tomato and Lentil soup with food processor cheese scones

baking, budget, soup, Vegetarian, weekend

I have shared this recipe with a lot of people before, but it is still our favourite soup. Both girls like it, although Miss 6’s version of “like” is to eat two helpings of it, while Miss 4’s version is to dip her scone in it! It is cheap, can be vegetarian, full of protein and great for winter lunches and dinners. It takes a little bit longer than 45 minutes to make, so may not be suitable for busy week days.

I always make scones in the food processor – much easier than rubbing butter in and getting covered in dough! These go really well with the soup, and make instant dessert with jam or marmalade on them.



2 T oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 t crushed garlic

2 t smoked paprika (one of my favourite spices!)

2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes

6 c stock (beef or vegetable)

1 1/2 c red lentils

1/3 c tomato paste

1 T brown sugar

Coriander and/or sour cream to serve for adults


3 c flour

6 t baking powder

100g butter, cubed

3/4 c grated tasty cheese

1 1/2 c milk

grated cheese to sprinkle on top


1. Heat oil in a lot on low heat. Add onion and garlic and saute stirring until onion is soft.

2. Add the paprika and cook for a few seconds.

3. Add all other ingredients except for the coriander/sour cream and simmer for around 45 mins until lentils and mushy and cooked. Stir occasionally to avoid lentils sticking to the bottom.

4. For the kids I put theirs in the fridge for 5 minutes to cool down more quickly. For the adults serve with cracked black pepper and sour cream and/or coriander. I used coriander pesto in the picture as I had some in the freezer I had made.


1.Turn oven to 200 C fanbake and grease an oven tray.

2. Add the flour and baking powder to the food processor and pulse to mix.

3. Add the butter and cheese and pulse to combine.

4.  Add the milk and pulse to mix. Your dough should be a bit sticky but not runny.

5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Turn to coat both sides in flour and then roll out to 2 – 3 cm thickness.

6. Cut into squares and place on the greased tray. Top with grated cheese.

7. Cook for around 10 mins. They should be golden and cooked through.

8. Serve scones on the side of the soup – great for dipping!

Corn and Potato Pizza with quick spinach salad


While I was on my OE in my 20s I visited my cousin who was an exchange student in Italy. We spent the evening with her host family, who served us up a variety of pizzas. If I had not eaten corn and potato pizza in Italy, I would not have thought it was authentic! Miss 6 gobbled this up and it must have been tasty because she insisted it had bacon on it, but it is entirely vegetarian. I have no idea if this is an authentic version, the original eating experience was 12 years ago now, but my family enjoyed it!


Pizza Base

You could use bought bases, but this recipe is sooo easy and quick!

3/4 c warm water

2 T sugar

2 t yeast

1 T oil

2 c flour

1/2 t baking powder

Pizza toppings

1 cob of corn, kernels cut off the cob (you could use tinned or frozen corn)

1/2 red onion, sliced

4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and very thinly sliced

1 1/2 c grated cheese (I was flash and used mozarella – but any will do)

3 T chopped rosemary

Sea salt to sprinkle on top


1 big handful baby spinach leaves

1 big handful rocket or watercress leaves

2 T raisins

2 T sliced almonds

1 T olive oil

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

  1. Mix the water, sugar, yeast and oil together and stand, covered until frothy, about 10 mins. Grease an oven tray. Turn oven to 200 C fan bake.
  2. While this is happening prepare the pizza toppings. Slice the potato VERY thinly (if it is too thick you will have crunchy raw potato as it isn’t in the oven long). Cut the kernels off the corn, grate the cheese, slice the onion thinly and chop the rosemary.
  3. Once the water and yeast is frothy pour it into a large bowl (if it isn’t in one already) and mix in flour and baking powder. Pour onto a floured bench or board and knead briefly to make into a dough.
  4. Roll out the dough thinly on a floured surface to fit the oven tray – it should cover most of the tray if rolled thinly.
  5. Top with the potato by making a circle of slices on the edge of the pizza and working your way inwards. Overlap each circle very slightly. Top with corn, then onion, then cheese, then rosemary and salt.
  6. Bake in the oven for 12 mins. I would check after 10 mins as each oven is slightly different and you don’t want dark brown edges! You want the top to be golden, the whole base to be cooked through and the potato to not be raw.
  7. While the pizza is cooking toss all the salad ingredients together. Lemon hint:
    Drain the juice through your slightly opened fingers to avoid getting the pips in it – like a built in sieve.
  8. Serve pizza with salad on the side (see note on kids and veges below).

Note on veges and kids and corn in the microwave: There is no way my girls would eat this salad. One of the challenges of cooking for kids is that there are often limited vegetable options they will eat and they get pretty boring after a while! Miss 6 will eat most veges including lettuce salad, Miss 4 has a more limited list. I can generally get her to try things, but not eat copious amounts of new vegetables, and all raw veges except for cucumber get spat out after she has chewed them for a while! I served my girls up half a a cob of corn with the pizza. If you remove tassels off a cob of corn (but keep the husk on) and put it in the microwave for 3 mins on high it will cook perfectly (you may need to experiment with the length of time if your microwave is less or more powerful than ours).