Celebration Pumpkin soup

What am I celebrating? 

My last head cold was in February 2020. I’ve been boastfully rejoicing that the pandemic has proven that if we as a community, if we as a society, observe some simple hygiene principles, we can reduce the number of circulating respiratory infections.

There is so much evidence now for the truth behind the importance of physical distance, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and staying home if unwell.

As a society, as a community, we must encourage business owners and leaders to begin the next task, which is changing infrastructure to be safer. By that, I mean increasing the number of no-touch approaches to our everyday lives, such as using sensors for doors, taps, toilets, and lifts, making better use of smartphone apps to avoid touching things.

Anyway, as we’ve opened up more and people are relaxing their observance of the mechanisms for reducing communicable respiratory infections, we see more upper respiratory tract infections. I’ve been trying to maintain my observance of physical distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette as much as possible. But success relies on everyone doing the right thing.

This week I was infected with a respiratory viral infection. I developed nasal congestion and rhinorrhoea, and then a cough. I didn’t have any fever or headache. Given the advice I freely share with everyone, I went to the local drive-through collection centre to have specimens collected by sampling my throat and nasal mucosa for SARS-COV-2 RNA RT-PCR in ACT Pathology. 

I received my result by text message within 12 hours of the collection time, which is excellent.

COVID-19 SARS-COV-2 RNA RT-PCR result

Ingredients

  • Butternut pumpkin (1 diced)
  • Potato (1 diced)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (a good number of glugs)
  • Clive of India Curry powder (1 tablespoon)
  • Mapuche spice Chilean spice blend (1 tablespoon)
  • Cream (1 cup)
  • Sour cream (1 tablespoon)
  • Onion (chopped)
  • Bacon (diced)
  • Rye sourdough bread (1 slice)

Instructions

  1. Turn on your oven to about 180 °C.
  2. Smear some oil on the inside surfaces of a large baking tray.
  3. Lay the pumpkin pieces into the baking tray.
  4. Add a few good glugs of EVOO over the pumpkin.
  5. Sprinkle the curry powder and spice blend over the oiled pumpkin.
  6. Mix everything with a wooden spoon or if you like scratching your baking tray, use a metal spoon.
  7. Put the baking tray into the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the baking tray and pray to the Lord that the pumpkin has started to colour without sticking to the baking tray.
  9. Move everything around with the spoon of your choice.
  10. Put the baking tray back into the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  11. Remove the baking tray and again pray. This time, add in the diced potato and mix everything around. By now, the pumpkin will be soft, and the spoon you choose will deform the pumpkin.
  12. Put the baking tray back into the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  13. While the pumpkin and potato are in the oven, sautée the onion and bacon pieces in a large saucepan on low heat.
  14. When the baking tray has completed a total of 1 hour in the oven, remove it and mix everything up. By now, the pumpkin will be mushy, and the potato will be soft. The beauty of this method is there is no excess water in the soup; this means the soup is rich and unctuous.
  15. Add the mashed up pumpkin and potato into the saucepan with the onion and bacon.
  16. Mix everything around and process with a stick blender.
  17. When the mixture is smooth, put the saucepan back on the hob and add the cream and sour cream. Stir until the soup begins to simmer.
  18. Toast the rye sourdough bread.
  19. Plate up the soup with some chopped chives, garnish with basil and serve with the toast.
  20. Sit down with your plate, give thanks to the Lord for all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Then enjoy your soup.

Final thoughts

I think this soup would have been nice with some anchovies stirred through during the oven phase.

Sous vide flaked salmon red cabbage curry

It’s Monday so that means salmon. I cooked it sous vide again too. 

Sous vide flaked salmon with curry red cabbage

Ingredients

  • Salmon
  • Iodised salt
  • Black whole peppercorns
  • Red cabbage
  • Curry paste
  • Coconut cream
  • Fish sauce
  • Lime juice

Instructions

  • Brine the salmon with ice-cold water and salt for a few hours.
  • Dry the salmon and season with salt and pepper.
  • Vacuum bag the salmon.
  • Cook in a water bath for 40 minutes at 50 °C.
  • Remove the salmon from the bag and pat the salmon dry.
  • Peel the skin off and put it into the oven for 15 minutes at 200 °C.
  • Flake the salmon.
  • Shred the red cabbage.
  • Heat some oil in a skillet and then sauté the red cabbage.
  • Pour in a small tin of coconut cream and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Add in a tablespoon of curry paste and stir it through the coconut cream and red cabbage with some fish sauce too.
  • Once the coconut cream has thickened turn off the heat and add in the flaked salmon and some lime juice.
  • Garnish with something green and maybe add a cherry tomato.
Sous vide flaked salmon with curry red cabbage

Pressure cooker pork belly with cabbage curry

I indulged in a tuck shop lunch today of hot chips. To balance that indulgence I went with a meal in my fast slow cooker. Pork belly with some sliced cabbage is quick easy and tasty.

Pressure cooker pork belly with cabbage curry
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Oven-baked salmon with coconut creamed spinach and coriander

It’s Monday so that means salmon. Tonight I did something a little different and a little fancy 🤪

Oven-baked salmon with coconut creamed spinach and coriander

Ingredients

  • Queensland nut oil
  • Small onion, finely chopped
  • Crushed garlic
  • Crushed ginger
  • Curry powder
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Strawberry jam
  • Coconut cream
  • Salmon
  • Coriander leaves, stems and roots

Instructions

  • Heat a toaster oven to about 200 °C.
  • Pat the skin of the salmon dry and season it with iodised salt.
  • Put the salmon on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • In a skillet add some Queensland nut oil and heat the skillet.
  • Add the onion and then the garlic and ginger.
  • Add the curry powder and stir until the onion is soft and the garlic and ginger become fragrant.
  • Add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts.
  • Add a teaspoon of strawberry jam for some sweetness.
  • Add the coconut cream and increase the heat to boil the coconut cream.
  • Simmer on a lower heat for 2 minutes while the flavours blend.
  • Serve everything on a plate and garnish with coriander.
Oven-baked salmon with coconut creamed spinach and coriander

Pressure cooker curry chicken wings and vegetables

There’s nothing pretty about this meal, in fact, it’s pretty ugly. Ugly but delicious. 

Pressure cooker curry chicken wings
Pressure cooker curry chicken wings

This is a meal for microbiologists. I bought a packet of chicken wings two weeks ago and split them into two lots and vacuum-packed each lot. I ate the first batch a couple of days after the purchase date. Tonight’s lot found its way to the back of the refrigerator and I forgot about them. While the refrigeration and vacuum packing assists in inhibiting bacterial growth, it was probably a bit too long. I didn’t want to waste them so I basically sterilised them in an autoclave, also known as a pressure cooker. Rather than a 15-minute cook I went belt and braces and added an extra 5 minutes for a 20-minute cook.

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Oven-cooked salmon with leftover sous vide duck and curry red cabbage

It’s Easter Monday and I worked from home today.

Oven-cooked salmon with leftover sous vide duck and curry red cabbage.
Oven-cooked salmon with leftover sous vide duck and curry red cabbage.
Continue reading “Oven-cooked salmon with leftover sous vide duck and curry red cabbage”

Curry red cabbage with sous vide duck breast

Easter 2020 has seen a bit of weight gain with all the carbs in the form of hot cross buns and chocolate.

Easter Sunday Weight chart.
Easter Sunday Weight chart.

Ingredients

  • Duck breast
  • Iodised salt
  • Red cabbage
  • Chicken stock
  • Coconut cream
  • Curry powder
  • Lime juice
  • Whole black peppercorns

Instructions

  • Remove two breasts from the packaging.
  • Rub some iodised salt over the skin of your breasts.
  • Place your breasts into plastic bags and vacuum seal them.
  • Put one of your breasts in the freezer to enjoy on another day.
  • Heat up your water bath to 55 °C and then insert your breast for 1 hour.
  • At the end of 1 hour remove your breast from the water bath and put it into the refrigerator to cool down.
  • Chop up a red cabbage.
  • Put the red cabbage into a large saucepan and add a litre of chicken stock and bring the cabbage and stock to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the cabbage and put into a frying pan and cook to evaporate much of the moisture.
  • Add a can of coconut cream and a couple of tablespoons of curry powder.
  • Bring the cabbage and coconut cream to a simmer.
  • Remove your cooled breast from the refrigerator and remove your breast from the vacuum bag.
  • With a really sharp knife (I use my Dick-brand butchers knife) slice your breast thinly and add to the frying pan with the red cabbage and coconut cream which is reducing.
  • Add the juice of one lemon to the curry red cabbage and duck and stir through.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer the curry cabbage and duck to a bowl and season with whole black peppercorns which has been ground in a mortar with a pestle.
  • Eat with chopsticks.

Breakfast

Happy Easter. Steamed egg and wilted spinach.
Happy Easter. Steamed egg and wilted spinach.

Morning tea Darrell Lea Rocklea Road Easter Bunny and a coffee

Lunch

Tinned Mackeral and tinned smoked oysters with smoked cheddar and triple cream brie.
Tinned Mackerel and tinned smoked oysters with smoked cheddar and triple cream brie.

Afternoon tea

Earl Grey Tea and Zero teapot. National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre teacup.
Earl Grey Tea and Zero teapot. National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre teacup.

Curry pork sausages with coconut cream mushroom peas corn cherry tomatoes and an avocado

TGIF. ManFlu continues and I feel like I’m living in a snot pit.

I stayed home again and worked from home.

Curry pork sausages with coconut cream mushroom peas corn cherry tomatoes and an avocado. Gary Lum.
Curry pork sausages with coconut cream mushroom peas corn cherry tomatoes and avocado.
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Curry pork sausage and duck breast

I’ve got a few pork sausages left in a packet I bought on the weekend as well as a couple of duck breasts which I cooked on Saturday evening.

I like a curry with coconut cream and this meal was pretty simple to make with a can of coconut cream. I always keep a can in the shelf of shame.

Curry pork sausage and duck breast. Gary Lum.
Curry pork sausage and duck breast.
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