Thursday, 28 March 2013

Mediterranean Potato Salad
Spring is HERE!
Finally I will get to participate in one of my favourite pastimes
The wonderful aroma of ribs, chicken or steak on the BBQ
The best thing about my pastime?
I just have to make the salads :D
This salad has taken me years to devise, really it comes from mixing many fresh ingredients so that I don't have to make too many sides.
As it is Mediterranean it uses heart healthy extra virgin olive oil instead of mayonnaise, making this side guilt free but, you still get your potatoes!
It's combination has so many varieties in each bite, soft potatoes, cruchy cruditees, a bit of sharpness from the pickle juice. I get alot of comments on it and the best part is, it can be changed with whatever you have in your fridge!
5 large white, russet or yellow potatoes, peeled, cubed
1/4 small onion, chopped
1/4 or a green bell pepper, diced
1/3 of an English cucumber, diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced (fresh or pickled can be used)
1 carrot, peeled, diced
2 pickles, diced
3 tbsp pickle juice (lemon or any vinegar can be used)
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced
4-5 tbsp EVOO
salt & pepper to taste
Bring a 3/4 filled pot of water to a boil. Tip in the potatoes. Do not salt the water
Bring the water back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a rolling simmer #4-6.
Meanwhile prepare all of the vegetables.  Place them into a large bowl.
When the potatoes are fork tender, drain well and place into the large bowl. 
While potatoes are hot add salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and parsley. 
Toss all of the ingredient together.
Serve warm or at room temperature. If you have leftovers it can be stored in the refrigerator covered.
Serves 5-8

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Susan's Paska Easter Breads

When Easter is here we know Spring is just around the corner.
Traditionally leavened breads are used to welcome the sign of renewal.
Many cultures twist and shape these delicate fluffy morsels into many shapes to signify the death and resurrection of Christ. If you are not religious you can shape this delicate dough into a shape you desire.
I "uh um" borrowed this recipe and the design from others. My "chicks" look more like seals or chubby Walrusus! But everyone who sees them cooes at how cute they are. They make me laugh and that's fun too!
This individual size is perfect for large get togethers.This is the best dough I have ever tasted as each home has their own recipe handed down throughout the generations.  This sweet bread rises beautifully and
uses whole pureed oranges and lemons, giving it a wonderful fragrance when baking and eating.
I have added a modern twist with the added dried fruits.
Use your imagination add whatever your family loves and make a new tradition!
The egg used in this twisted design signifies the renewal of life.
It is place uncooked into the dough, proofed and then baked.
You could use coloured eggs as well.
Make sure the colouring is food safe
It's long braid is the cross that Jesus had to bare and the circular top is a representation of his thorny crown.
1 each orange and lemon*,quartered, seeded *I used lime with this batch*
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
3/4 cup oil
pinch of salt
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 tbsp yeast (instant shortens the prep. time)
4cup flour + 4-5cups more
1 1/2 cup hot water
Dried Fruit
1/2 cup cranberries, raisins, candied orange peel or a mixture of your choice (for inside and chick eyes)
12 whole almonds sliced diagonally (for beaks)
1egg: whisked with a tbsp of water for an egg wash
2 cup icing sugar
2-3 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp almond, orange, vanilla extract or rum
In a stand mixer bowl, combine the yeast and water, add just a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast. Let the mixture sit for 10min until it foams.
*If you are using instant yeast, the above waiting time can be omitted*
Place orange and lemon into processor and blend to a fine pulp. Using a spatula, scrape the mixture out and place in stand mixer bowl.
Begin to mix using the dough hook, add eggs, oil, sugar and salt.
Slowly add 4 cups of flour, alternating with the hot (not boiling)water. Scrape sides down.
Continue to add the next 4-5 cups of flour.
Remove from mixer when dough is too thick and can no longer mix. Continue kneading by hand on a floured surface until dough is no longer sticky.
Place back into mixer bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Place in a draft free place ie: the oven with the pilot light on.
Allow to rise for approx. 1 hr until doubled in size.
Punch down and begin to shape. See pictures.
Add a small amount of flour onto your rolling surface, so the dough does not stick. Add the desired fruit when rolling into a long rope.
~Chickadees: 1/2" x 5" long rope, tied in a knot.
Flatten one end with your finger and slash to form tail. Head: pinch with two tiny pieces of dried fruit and insert sliver of almond to form beak.~
Round Circle: form 2"-3" x 16-20" rope, fold in half then braid along the length of the rope. Fold again forming a circle, pinch the ends together to seal and insert egg if you'd like or use a greased oven proof ramekin.
Long Braid: same as step above, do not join ends into circle. On folded end insert egg or greased oven proof dish, which can be removed.
Form into which ever design you choose. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  If you do not have either, place on a greased baking sheet.
Cover with a tea cloth and let rise 1/2hr-1hr in a no draft area. Brush with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown. Each size will have different times from 20min -40min. watch carefully.
Glaze: While sweet bread is baking, mix the glaze ingredients together. Set aside to allow lumps to melt.  Brush over cooled breads. Add sprinkles if desired.
Enjoy with love!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Asparagus & Mushroom Rigatoni
 My family loves pasta.
They would eat it everyday if possible!
I prefer to have it only once or twice a week, because of the carb load of course!
When I do, I want it to be special.
For me special means fragrant, light and guilt free!
This quick sauce is one of those, it uses fresh produce, sun dried tomatoes and my canned summer tomatoes which are stored in my cold cellar ready to use when needed.
Easy and available to make delicious meals that everyone enjoys.
You can create a pantry storage too in your cellar or any area where you can add some shelving space.  When pantry items are a great price, stock up and you will have ingredients "in stock" ready for you to "shop" in your own home!

1 700ml tomato puree
5-6 cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
5-6 asparagus stalks, dry end snapped, rinsed, cut
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, washed & minced
3 sun dried tomatoes, drained if in oil, chopped
1 small onion, peeled, diced small
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt & pepper to taste
500g rigatoni pasta
Prepare all of the vegetables.

Pour 2tbsp. oil into a preheated medium size pot. Add onions and saute on medium high heat until they become soft.  Do not brown. 
Add remaining vegetables and continue stirring to soften the vegetables, approximately 5-10min. Pour in the white wine and cook for another 2 min on medium heat to reduce the wine.
Add tomato puree, salt & pepper to taste. Then top with parsley and tomato paste. Add seasonings to taste. Stir to blend.


Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-3-min.
When the tomato sauce is simmering and almost ready. Bring a large pot 3/4 full of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta, stir to coat.  Cook for 8-10min until al dente (to the bite).  Drain.
Add tomato sauce to pasta and serve.
Servings: 4-6
Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Snow Pea Shoots
Are you familiar with this vegetable?
These are Pea Shoots only available for a short time once a year.
This is the edible vine of the plant that snow peas grow on.
They are here in spring at the Asian market or grocery stores as they are used shortly after the peas are picked.
Tender a flavourful they take seconds to make
Amaze your family with this unique addition to your repertoire.
2 lbs snow pea shoots, washed and drained
1-2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp tamari sauce (1 tbsp soy sauce can be substituted)
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
Pour oil into a preheated large size skillet.  Add mushrooms, garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds to soften.
Add 1/2 of the pea shoots and cook while turning vegetables over with tongs. 
When they begin to wilt add the remaining shoots.
Continue turning to distribute heat as they quickly soften. Sprinkle tamari sauce over greens.
Cook until fully wilted for 5-10 minutes.
Dress with sesame oil and seeds.
Enjoy with love!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Apple Cinnamon
Bread Pudding
Aaaaahhh you can just smell the aroma of apples and cinnamon baking.....
Creamy Bread Pudding an English peasant dish originated from the hardships of centuries passed.
 This dish has not only survived
it has flourished from it's humble beginnings, using leftover pieces of dry bread to make a divine dessert.
This dish is still popular in England and happens to be Prince Charles favourite dessert!
From it's meager dry beginnings to a fluffy custardy new life in North America.
This is my divine twist to an old dessert.

400g loaf of cinnamon & raisin swirl bread, crusts trimmed
3 egg yolks + 1 egg
500 ml half & half cream
1 orange, zested
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1 Macintosh apple, peeled, cored and diced 1/2" cubes
3 tbsp chocolate chips
1 can apple filling (540ml)
Cut the bread lengthwise into four finger size pieces, then crosswise into quarters, making approximately 16, 1/2" cubes.
Place on a baking sheet and dry bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 min. Do not brown. This dries the bread and allows it to soak up the liquids without tasting yeasty. Remove and cool. *You could leave the cubes out to air dry the night before*
Place in a greased casserole dish approx. 9"x 9", set aside.
Sprinkle diced apples & chocolate chips in and around bread, nestling some pieces.
With a tablespoon, spoon apple filling into, around and through the bread pudding, nestling the apple slices into the bread pudding

In a large bowl whisk eggs, yolks, cream, spices, sugar, vanilla, zest and butter. Gently and carefully pour over bread, covering everything.
Gently push the bread down with your hands. Allowing the liquids to absorb. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to soak refrigerated for 1 1/2 hrs. or overnight (overnight will produce a wetter batter).
Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 40min. The mixture will be fully and crisp on top.
Suggested serving: sprinkle with icing sugar.
Can be served hot, room temperature or cold.
Serves 8-10
Enjoy with love!


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Glazed Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake
What's your best flavour? 
I love Lemon, pucker up those lips!
There aren't many of us who would refuse a buttery, tender, tangy
Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake
Pound cake gets its' name from almost all of the ingredients measuring to a pound, easy to remember; a lb of eggs, a lb of butter and 1 lb of flour, the recipe has been around for centuries. Typically these ingredients were quite dense and the cake hardened after several days because of the flour content. Modern day cooks now rely on the addition of baking powder to help this rich and dense cake rise so it is not heavy.
 You can peak through the oven door to see the batter rise slightly.
Children love to watch this cake bake as they see the butter bubbling around the sides and top.
I purposefully pushed the blueberries under the dough so you wouldn't see them until you cut through this fragrant cake.
This gives everyone a little surprise when you cut a slice or two!
I couldn't stop eating it, the moistness from the lemon syrup, then the lemony glaze on top.
I had it hot from the oven because it was soooo
Truthfully it was better when it was completely cooled but, who could wait?
This dessert is comfort food 101...enjoy!
Cake Ingredients:
2 cup flour
5 eggs, separated
2  large lemons, zested and juiced, set aside
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4cup butter, room temp
1 1/2cup icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup frozen blueberries (fresh blueberries explode when baking)
In a mixer bowl, whisk egg whites to a soft but not dry peak. Set aside. 
In another mixer bowl with a paddle cream butter and icing sugar until fluffy & whipped 2-3minutes. Add yolks one at a time thoroughly blending and continue beating until lemony in colour.
Add zest of one lemon, vanilla, salt and 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp lemon juice.  Continue beating, mixture will look curdled.
Slowly add flour a little at a time beating on low speed.  If it gets too thick lift the beaters and continue mixing with a spatula. 
Add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and mix with a spatula to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the remainder. Just before there are no more white streaks add frozen blueberries.  Mix only to combine.
Scape into a greased and floured loaf pan, preferably light metal pan,(Glass browns too much and the cake would get quite crispy).
Bake in a 350F oven until the top is golden brown or until a skewer comes out dry, approximately 40-50min.
Cool cake for 10 minutes.  With a skewer, poke holes at 1/2" intervals all the way down to the boottom of the cake.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. 
Pour 1/2 cup* room temperature lemon syrup over cake, a little at a time, allowing it to absorb.  Allow the cake to completely cool. Remove tipping it upside down. Tapping the bottom gently to loosen.
Place right side up on a platter and drizzle with Lemon Drizzle and top with the remaining zest.
Lemon Syrup
1 lemon zest from above + the lemons that have been juiced
1/4cup + 2tbsp sugar
1 cup water
3 tbsp lemon juice
Place the juice, the shell of the lemons, sugar and water into a pot large enough to hold everything.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and let sit to cool.
Lemon Drizzle
1 cup icing sugar, sifted to remove lumps
3 tbsp lemon juice (you may need more or less depending on the consistency)
In a small bowl, mix together and let sit. Any lumps will dissipate.
*Too much syrup will make the cake soggy. You can use the remainder to pour over each individual slice or....use it to flavour your expresso!
Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

al Beef Ragu
There is something special about simmering pasta sauce!
Your mouth starts to salivate as you begin to imagine the wonderful taste that will be in your mouth...soon!
Slow cooking meat sauce that takes hours to stew is what Sunday lunches were all about in my home as I was growing up.
My mother in her apron, taking her time to make the Sunday sauce, which we could never wait for it to be ready, as we dipped our crusty bread into it while it cooked.
My mother still makes her sauce the same way but, I change mine weekly depending on what is in my fridge or what was on sale at the grocery store.
This gives me variety and I can incorporate a number of veggies into the sauce to make it more nutritional.

1-2lbs of cubed stewing beef
1 zucchini, washed and cut into large chunks
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 celery rib, washed, chopped
1/2 carrot peeled, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
3 tbsp basil, chopped or torn
2 750ml jars of pureed tomatoes
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup white or red wine
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
In a preheated large sauce pot add the oil and begin to brown the meat on all sides.

When all of the meat is browned remove with a slotted spoon to a plate/platter and cover.  Add vegetables to the pot.

Cook vegetables for approximately 5 minutes. Stirring every minute or so to prevent sticking.  Add a small amount of oil if needed.

Add the meat back to the pot and deglaze with the wine. Stirring to coat and scrape off any tasty bits on the bottom of the pot.
Allow the wine to cook for 2-3 min.  Pour in tomato puree, spices, salt and herbs.  *We can our own tomatoes in the summer for storage. If you have store bought tomatoes you will need to add some water. You will need from 1/2cup to 1 cup depending on the concentration of the tomato.  Bring to a boil, stirring regularly then add tomato paste.
Turn the heat to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hrs. or until meat is fork tender. The longer a meat sauce cooks the denser it becomes as the liquid begins to evaporate and reduce. A longer cooking time also becomes more caloric.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bacon & Veggie Spelt Penne

Although I am an extensive cook, there are days of the week that I simply want something fast with no fuss!
This nutritious pasta dish gave me just that. 
The kids were all out doing their own thing and it was just me and hubby.
This tasty delight came about with just a handful of veggies and bacon that I had in the house at the end of the week. 
This could easily translate into a dinner party favourite and it is inexpensive too.
I always make extra for lunch leftovers or for when the kids get the munchies later in the evening.
There is very little bacon in the dish imparting a great taste without all of the added fats.

3 strips bacon, sliced finely

100g snow peas, destring, chopped

1 onion, peeled, chopped

1/3  red pepper diced

1/2 cup chopped parsley

400g pkg spelt penne or any type pasta

2 tbsp EVOO

Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.

Place a large pot 3/4 full of water on high, bring to a boil.  Add 2-3 tsp salt to the water.

Tip the pasta into the boiling water, stir immediately to separate the pasta.  The water will stop boiling because the pasta will have cooled it off.  Allow it to come back to a boil, stirring. Reduce to #7 and continue cooking for another 7 minutes or until al dente (to the bite)*

Pour extra virgin olive oil into a preheated skillet.  Add the bacon, onion and cook on medium high heat stirring constantly, to crisp bacon.

Add remaining vegetables and continue cooking stirring regularly.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Cook until all vegetables are cooked approx. 5min.

Drain cooked pasta leaving 1/4cup of water in the pot.  Add the vegetables to the pot and stir.

Garnish with parmesan cheese.
*Spelt pasta is quite delicate and readily breaks before it becomes al dente....just be aware of that!
Serves 3-4
Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Cream of Tomato Soup
I have fond memories of making PB & J sandwiches and hot creamy Tomato Soup when I was a child when I went home for lunch.
Since my mom was a working mom, I had to make my own lunches when I walked home for lunch with my girlfriends.  When I think back, I lived about 20min walking distance from my school and I used to trek home and back just for lunch! Unheard of today and certainly not at the age of 10!
Campbell's soup and a sandwich were the fastest and easiest meals to make and off I went back to school warm, with a full tummy and just in time for the bell!
When I started having an interest in cooking, from an early age, this was one of the dishes I taught myself how to make after having mastered how to make a white sauce and roux. Known today as a bechamel.
It tastes so close to the canned version that when I serve this to guests they actually think I am serving them canned soup!
How about that for acclaim... 
2 tbsp EVOO
1 1/2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk or non dairy unsweetened beverage (soy, almond)
5 cups tomato juice or vegetable juice (which is tangier)
1 small onion, peeled chopped
salt & pepper to taste
In a large preheated pot add oil, onions and a sprinkling of salt and cook on medium heat to soften the onions for 3minutes.  Add the flour and stir into the mixture.  It will clump and look messy, continue to stir "cooking" the flour mixture for 1 minute or so. This is called a roux.
Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously to incorporate into the flour mixture.  It will begin to thicken immediately.  Stir vigorously so mixture doesn't get lumps.  *If it creates lumps don't worry about it as you can puree it in a blender later*
Season mildly with salt & pepper and continue cooking the white sauce for 4-5min.
Add the tomato juice, stir to combine and continue cooking for 30min until the tomato colour deepens.  Skim off any foam that forms on top while cooking.
Puree in a blender if you would like a creamier texture.
Otherwise I like a bit of contrast of texture with the pieces of onion.
Serves 6-8 people
Enjoy with love!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Rainbow Chive Risotto

Rainbow Chive Risotto
4 asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
500g cremini mushroom, sliced
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 each green, red, yellow peppers
2-3 tbsp EVOO
1/3cup white sweet wine (Zinfandel)
2cup arborio rice
1/2cup quinoa
1/2 cup brown rice (10min rice)
6 cup chicken broth
13/cup romano or parmesan cheese
3-4 tbsp chopped chives + chive flowers if you can find them
In a large heated sauce pot add oil. Saute all the vegetables for 4-5 min. to soften on medium heat .
Add  brown rice and quinoa stir to coat for 1 min. Add white wine, continue stirring.  When it has reduced by 1/2 begin to add broth approx 1cup at a time.  Continue stirring and adding stock as starch releases and rice expands and absorbs liquid.  Cook for approx 30-40min.
When rice still has a bite (al dente) turn off heat and stir in cheese & chives until it amalgamates.
Serves 6

Mexican Tortilla Cake

Mexican Tortilla Cake

5 lg yellow onions, chopped, finely
3tbsp olive oil
1pkg  cream cheese
10- 7" wheat flour tortilla or white flour tortilla
1 poblano pepper, skin charred, peeled and minced (red or green bell pepper can be substituted)
salt & pepper to taste
2tbsp white wine vinegar or any light coloured vinegar
1cup finely grated cheddar cheese (fine grate on side of box grater)

In a large skillet (I used cast iron) heat oil and saute onion on medium heat. Stirring constantly to not burn onions 5-10min.  If too much liquid releases just continue cooking until moisture is evaporated and onions slightly caramelize. Season with salt & pepper, add vinegar and cook for 1 more minute until it absorbs.  Set aside to cool
On BBQ or on broil, char the skin of the poblano pepper, when it has cooled to the touch, scrape off burned skin with a knife, remove seeds.  Core and dice finely.
In a mixer whip cream cheese, add cheddar , cooled onions, finely minced poblano, mix well.  Season to taste. (This can be stored for 2-3 days ahead of time)
Spread 3-4 heaping tablespoon of mixture on tortilla, as evenly as possible, stacking one tortilla on top(see picture) of another ending with a top.  Refrigerate for 1hr to firm up and cut in half then each half into 1/3's (see picture).
Grill on a BBQ for 1 min on each side to warm through and get grill marks or on a greased grill pan on stove top. Serve with dollop of sour cream.

Souvlaki Pastry

Souvlaki Pastry

1 pkg puff pastry
1/2 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2cup yellow & green pepper, chopped
1/3 of a zucchini, chopped
4 asparagus spears, chopped
1/2 carrot, peeled, chopped
3 cloves, garlic, chopped
2tbsp each chopped fresh dill, oregano & chives (1tsp of dried can be subbed)
1/4cup frozen spinach, defrosted and moisture squeezed out
8 pitted black olives
1 chicken breast, chopped
1/2 pkg of Philadelphia Cooking Creme  Savoury Garlic
salt & pepper to taste
4tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg for egg wash
2tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds
flour for rolling dough
In a large skillet, heat oil on med. high heat add onions and carrots, stir and cook for 1-2min to soften.
Tip in remaining vegetables.  Continue cooking for 5 min. Push over vegetables to make space and add chicken, cook until golden and caramelized on all sides.  Add seasoning and herbs, continue mixing and cooking for another 5min.  Turn off heat and stir in cooking creme until blended.  Allow to cool off burner.
On a floured surface roll out pastry dough, keeping it in a rectangle.  Cut out 4 squares.  Place  1 tbsp of bread crumbs vertically down each square. Dollop large tbsp of mixture over crumbs. Cut slashes approx. 1" apart and 2" into sides of the pastry(view picture).  Brush the surrounding dough with egg wash.  Begin to crisscross the dough on top of the mixture to enclose the filling (view picture).  Brush top of pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 35-40min until golden brown.

Spider Cookies
Spider Cookies
Sinful and easy to make Spider Cookies great for Halloween
1 pkg chocolate cake mix
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 licorice strings, cut into 2-3" lenghts
In a large bowl combine all ingredients.
Roll a teaspoon full into your hands to form the body of the spider and place on parchment paper.
Rise'n Shine Strawberry Surprise Shake 

This is a nutritious shake full of flavour, sure to wake you up and get you going. It is packed with fiber and protein.  Chia seeds give you Omega 3's which help reduce cholesterol, adds calcium and dietary fibre to your meal.

4 strawberries
1/2c blackberries
1/2c blueberries
1 1/2c almond or soy milk
3tbs vanilla yogurt
2tbsp bran
2tbsp peanut butter
1tbsp chia seeds
In a blender/processor blend all ingredients.
Serving: 2

Enjoy with Love!
From Alyse

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup
What a great way to get in some extra veggies without breaking the bank at the grocery store and a LOW CAL meal! Generally I make soup during the cold months once a week.  I prepare homemade chicken broth using all of the ends of veggies, like asparagus, stalks of broccoli, and the tips of fennel. These get repurposed and add flavour to my broth.  Omit the chicken and you could have veggie broth, ready to go for anything during the week! Making life and dinners easier. I had some pumpkin leftover from my Halloween decorations that I roasted and put in freezer bags, added a large sweet potato (yam) added my broth and in no time had a first course.
700ml chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups cooked pumpkin
1 large sweet potato (yam), peeled, cubed
1 small yellow onion, peeled, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed, peel removed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp EVOO
salt & pepper to taste
In a medium size pot, preheat the oil and tip in the onion & garlic.  Stir to coat add, a pinch of salt.  Cook for 3minutes to soften the onions. 
Add the sweet potatoes and continue cooking for another 3 min. Stirring occasionaly to prevent sticking.
Add pumpkin, bay leaf and broth. Turn up the heat to #8 and bring to a boil.

When the soup comes to a boil. Reduce heat to #5 or #6 and simmer for approx. 30min. until sweet potato is soft when pierced with a fork.
Taste for seasonings. Remove bay leaf. Ladle the mixture into a blender, do not add too much liquid as it may overflow.  Puree and pour back into pot.
Serving suggestion: swirl a tablespoon of original unsweetened yogourt on top for decoration.
Serves 4-5
Enjoy with love!