About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Bendigo Gold
We went to visit some friends last weekend. They live in Bendigo, a large provincial city that was founded by the incredible wealth of the surrounding goldfields. Even though the gold never ran out, mining ceased for a while, as the surface and near surface gold that could be easily extracted was exhausted, but the deeper leads could not be properly exploited due to flooding concerns, as the pumps of the gold rush era were not able to keep up with the water flows. Now with modern pumps Bendigo is once more a gold mining town.

My friends M and A live here with their two children. M is from that tropical paradise the Seychelles and is suffering through an extra cold winter this year, as temperatures in Bendigo have gone sub zero on several occasions. The day we were there was very sunny, but as soon as late afternoon came, one could feel the chill in the air, by five o'clock it was six degrees (42f).

We had a lovely time there, checking out Bendigo Pottery, along with some of the local sites. We had a fabulous lunch thanks to A. The previous day I had been to the Good Food Show and had bought a jar of Mango Mescut for M to try. On the first taste of it, we were instantly transported to the Seychelles, where I had first tried green mango chutney and fallen in love with it. Over there it is not sweet at all and the character derives from green mango and chile heat. I recall the day I went to the open air market to buy a jar and after some hard bargaining, haggled the price from 20 rupees to twelve. When I took it back home and proudly told them of my bargaining skills they gently told me that they paid no more than 3 rupees! Ah, island life.

The first course of our lunch was an intriguing soup. At first glance it looked like a golden, pumpkin soup, but on tasting there were some beguiling other flavours. I asked A what was in it and she told me that she wouldn't give me the recipe. What, did she think I have a food blog and would publish her recipe for the world to see? Me!!!

After a bit A relented slightly and told me that the soup contained pumpkin, sweet potato and parsnip. Well that last one was a surprise. I detest parsnip and have never been able to eat it, but the soup was lovely. At last, a use for parsnips that doesn't involve compost. What follows is MY recipe for this soup, recreated from that lunch.


1 large onion, chopped
25 g (1 oz) butter
1 kg (2.5 lb) pumpkin, skinned, cut in chunks
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut in chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled, cut in chunks
2 or 3 litres (3.5 to 5.5 p) chicken stock (I used powder)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper
100 ml (1/2 cup) single cream

In a large pot sweat the onion in the butter until soft but not coloured. Add the pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnip, enough chicken stock to cover and the curry powder. Cook until the vegetables collapse, about 30 minutes. Puree in batches in the blender, return to the cleaned out pot, add cream, salt and pepper. Reheat and serve.

Note: If you don't like cream, thin as necessary with chicken stock or water.
  posted at 8:09 am


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