Pumpkin, ginger, and potato gratin

I’ve had this recipe for years and years. I think it is best with a firm squash or pumpkin, like butternut squash.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lb pumpkin or squash, cubed
  • 1 1/2 lb potatoes, boiled for 15 minutes and cubed
  • 1 oz grated ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 oz butter (omit for a vegan version)
  • 3 floz olive oil
  • 1 oz wholemeal breadcrumbs

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter and the olive oil together and add the ginger, cumin and cardamom, and start to fry, for around 30 seconds
  • Add the potato, pumpkin and fry for another 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is softening and the potatoes are starting to brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper, put into an oven-proof gratin dish, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  • Place under a hot grill for a few minutes, until the top is crips and the interior is bubbling.

Mashed potatoes and pears with ginger

This is an astonishingly good combination to serve with pork.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Enough potatoes for the number of people being served
  • About half that quantity of hard pears
  • Salt, pepper, butter
  • A tiny amount of finely chopped crystalised ginger

METHOD:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes as you would normally for mashed potatoes. Drain them, saving the boiling water
  • Peel and core the pears, and poach them in the potato water until they are soft
  • Mash the pears and potatoes together with salt, pepper, butter and the chopped ginger

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

This is a classic. I use a very old version from a book by Marguerite Patten; the book is priced 2/6! The jam is best with rhubarb cut late in the year. I have recently reviewed this alongside the ‘Maw Broon’s cookbook’ and updated it. As usual, most of the ingredients can be ethically sourced.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 800g-1kg Rhubarb, locally grown
  • 200g crystalised ginger
  • 1kg jam sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD:

  • Cut the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces, and cover with the sugar to stand overnight.
  • Chop the ginger finely and sprinkle into the sugar.
  • Cook slowly in a jam pan, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Heat quickly until the jam is thick, and boil for about 15 minutes.
  • Pour into clean warmed jars.

Ginger and Lettuce soup

Good for when you have bought the cheap veg in the co-op, and you don’t want a salad after all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 onions, chopped small
  • 2 carrots, chopped small
  • 25g butter
  • 1 iceberg lettuce (or similar)
  • 1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 litre of stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 50ml cream

METHOD:

  • Gently cook the onions and carrots in the butter until soft.
  • Turn up the heat and add the lettuce, ginger and parsley until they wilt, and then add the flour, stirring well.
  • Pour in the stock, and simmer for five minutes or so, until it starts to thicken.
  • Puree the soup, and then pour it through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reheat the soup, and serve with the cream swirled through, and with croutons.

Parsnip soup with ginger

A colleague was eating the most divine soup in the staffroom at work. I asked her what it was, and she replied that it was one of her stand-by recipes, parsnip and ginger. I have a recipe for parsnip soup, so I took that, mixed it with a recipe I already had and made this delicious spicy smooth soup.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3cm ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 500g bag of parsnips, (Misshapen parsnips v cheap in the shops at the moment)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (you can also use beef stock if you are not vegetarian)
  • 1 small tub low calorie sour cream
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter into the olive oil and slowly cook the chopped onions for ten minutes
  • Add the chopped ginger and garlic, continue cooking
  • Add the spices, and stir to incorporate
  • Dice the parsnips and add to the pan, stir and then add the stock, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Puree the soup, season to taste, and blend in the sour cream.

There are so many ways to make parsnip soup. You could serve with bacon croutons, or sprinkle with chives, or toasted seeds. You can swap the stock around, substitute some of the parsnip for potato etcetera. I will post the curried parsnip soup another time.