Pumpkin soup – trick or treat?

Lately, few friends asked me for a good pumpkin soup recipe. I tried various pumpkin soup recipes before, but I was never thrilled about the result. Usually I love coconut, but not that much in my pumpkin soup, so that version was out of the picture. I tried some more savoury versions, but I was never fully happy with the result.
This was until I tried this version of Alain Ducasse. Guess when you gathered so many Michelin stars you ought to know how to make a good pumpkin soup…. and I can testify here that he does. The addition of leek gives the soup extra body and sweetness, while the rest of the ingredients make it simply delicious.The recipe is pretty simple, as it includes fresh, good quality ingredients and goes perfectly with this time of the year – Halloween.

cream of pumpkin soup

from Ducasse made simple by Sophie

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced,

1 leek (white part only), thinly slices,

1 pound sugar pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks (I had one small pumpkin and I used it all)

6 cups chicken broth

3/4 cups ricotta cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and leek, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until they soften and begin to look translucent. Stir in the pumpkin and a dash of salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, add the ricotta cheese, and stir to combine – I skipped this step, I just added the ricotta before serving

Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste. While the soup is cooking, heat a medium skillet over high heat. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream with a pinch of salt until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Ladle the pumpkin soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with the diced bacon – again skipped this, didn”t feel like having any meat component in my soup

Add a generous spoonful of whipped cream in the center of each bowl, some chopped chives, a dash of chilli pepper and serve immediately.

Cauliflower soup – getting ready for the cold days

At the market, last weekend, I was looking for some veggies to make some soup. In the summer, I like the soups where you can still detect the original ingredients, the types of soups that we have in South-Eastern Europe, however autumn time is a different story. Then, I really love a hearty, creamy, rich soup. 

And this time the cauliflower draw my attention…together with some celeriac since was laying all alone next to the cauliflower. Since both are very earthy, thought they will marry perfectly in a soup. To bring in some extra flavour, I just added some watercress and crispy bacon on top.

cauliflower and celeriac soup with crispy bacon and watercress

2 tablespoons olive oil

one large onion or 2 shallots

3 garlic cloves

thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg

3 cups vegetable broth

1 head of cauliflower

1/2 celeriac root


few slices of bacon


Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened. Add chopped garlic and the thyme, cook until the garlic softens, add the cauliflower florets and the cubed celeriac. Sautee them and the add the broth, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cover the pot and bring to
a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer, keep covered, and let cook until the cauliflower and the celeriac are tender. 

Puree with an immersion blender. Serve warm topped with crispy bacon, watercress or shredded cheese.

It’s all about balance

Thai food is indeed all about balance. The flavours – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, hot… all encompassed usually in one complete dish. It makes you sweat, it makes your tongue and your lips tingle, it makes you want to eat more. One of my favorite Thai dishes is Dtom Yum  Gung  – boiled mixture (approximate translation) or the hot and sour prawn soup.

 It is very easy to make and I guess is one of the most popular Thai dishes. According to David Thompson, the famous Australian chef, expert in Thai cuisine, the best way to prepare it is to mix the soup with the lime juice and the coriander in the serving bowl, so the flavours are still vibrant and rich.


My recipe is a bit of a hybrid, it is mainly based on David Thompson’s recipe, however I like to add some chilli paste in oil (I loooooooooooooooooove spicy food) and to replace sometimes the mushrooms with tofu.


Hot and sour prawn soup

dtom yum gung

10-15 uncooked prawns

1 liter chicken or prawn stock

2 stalks of lemongrass pounded

50 grams galangal or ginger

4 kaffir lime leaves shredded

mushrooms or diced tofu

5 tablespoons of thai fish sauce

3-4 tablespoons of chilli paste in oil

4 tablespoons of lime juice

3-4 crushed fresh bird eye’s chilli

Garnish with fresh coriander, some red pepper and lime slices.

Wash and devein the prawns. Meanwhile bring the stock to a boil in a large pan. Add lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and bring everything to a boil. Add the mushrooms or the tofu, the fish sauce, the chilli paste. Add the prawns and the fresh chilli as well. When the prawns turn pink (after around 3 minutes) the soup is ready. Add lime juice and coriander.