Slow Cooker Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup

There’s something comforting about a bowl of hot soup in the middle of Winter. Even more so, knowing it is a bowl of homemade soup.

Last weekend was a typical ‘four seasons in one day’ kind of weekend. New Zealand’s weather can be a little unpredictable sometimes. Saturday was brilliant – sunny, and even pretty warm! For the people that aren’t local, everybody in Wellington has a little smile on their face and a little extra spring in their step when Wellington is given a stunner of a day.  Trust me, we don’t get them often! There’s a saying here: ‘You can’t beat Wellington on a good day!’

But………..Sunday, like after every not-a-cloud-in-the-sky day, we got a little payback. Sunday was rotten, the air was bitterly cold and it actually consistently rained alllllllll day. Not long into the day, I decided it was going to be a soup day! Despite not being able to exit the house in the event I returned a drowned rat, I got the slow cooker out and a whole lot of vegetables and made a delicious, spicy soup. It warms your insides and makes you feel a little bit happier about being tucked up inside while it rains cats and dogs, outside.

Here it is, enjoy.

Slow Cooker Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Soup
Serves 6

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 4 cups pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pinch ground chilli
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pepper, ground
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup additional water
  • fresh mint, chopped (optional)

In a large pan heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened. Add the prepared vegetables and the flour and mix as well as you can, allowing the flour to absorb the oil.

Put the whole lot into the slow cooker. Add the spices, salt, pepper, stock and water and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. When the vegetables are tender, purée or process the soup until smooth and return to the slow cooker to keep warm.

Adjust the consistency to suit your personal taste and add some chopped mint. Served with a slice of hot toast and butter on a rainy, cold evening! Thanks to Healthy Food Guide for the recipe!

Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Pasta

Carbs: I  love ’em and I bet you do too.

Pasta, rice and potatoes seem to be a regular staple in our diets. Too much of them of course isn’t necessarily a good thing but eaten in moderation, they are sooooo good. I am  such a fan of a good pasta dish because pasta is a great ingredient for putting together quick and delicious meals.

The following recipe comes from the dynamic duo, Alison and Simon Holst. Although it includes a few pricier ingredients (hello, pesto!), I found overall it was quite good value for money and the flavours were pretty incredible! Of course you can mix it up a bit and add all sorts of different  roasted vegetables to the mix.

I found it was wonderful hot for dinner, and equally as delicious cold for lunch the next day. The roasted vegetables add so much flavour, you don’t really need to use too much cheese. Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Pasta
4 servings 

  • 400 grams pumpkin
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 large portobello mushrooms
  • 300 grams short pasta
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream
  • 5 tsp basil pesto
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 225 degrees. While the oven heats, peel the pumpkin then cut into small pieces. Cut the red onion into about 12 thin wedges. Halve the yellow pepper, remove the seeds and then cut into 1cm strips.

Place the prepared vegetables into a large bowl. Add the garlic and two tablespoons of oil and toss gently until the vegetables are coated with oil. Spread the vegetables in a single layer over a baking paper-lined roasting dish, then place in the oven. After 10 minutes gently turn the vegetables, add the mushrooms and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Depending on your oven, the vegetables may need a little more time roasting so they don’t go mushy when added to the pasta.

While the vegetables roast, cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted, rapidly boiling water. Drain the cooked pasta, return it to the cooking pot and toss with the remaining oil. Add the evaporated milk or cream, pesto and salt and stir to combine.

Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and cut the mushrooms into strips about 1cm wide. Gently stir the vegetables and the feta into the pasta. Season to taste with pepper and garnish with the remaining feta.

Serve with a simple mescalin salad.