Saturday Market; Pumpkin Soup

Summer stretched to the end of September this year, but I’ve gone from sandals to boots in about a fortnight. It’s suddenly autumn. Today was chilly and a little rainy. Time for soup.

Pumpkin soup. This is a hearty version perfect for this time of year, it uses just four ingredients; butternut pumpkin, red onions, olive oil and sage. Butternut pumpkin works best for a rich creamy soup. I found the pumpkin in the market for a euro each.

butternut pumpkin
I have sage growing on my terrace, the wonderfully pungent purple sage.

purple sageI chopped and de-seeded the pumpkin, peeled and halved two red onions, put them in a roasting dish, and then roughly chopped a handful of sage and sprinkled it over the vegetables. Drizzled the olive oil over.

vegetables ready for roasting to make pumpkin soup
Roast the whole lot at about 150C (in a fan oven) for about 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Remove from the oven.

Roast vegetables for pumpkin soupAllow to cool, then peel the skin off the pumpkin and put all vegetables into a pot, add about two cups of hot stock and blend. Adjust seasoning.

Warm through and serve – you can add sour cream, croutons, grated cheese – whatever pleases you. A big bowl with thick slabs of toasted bread is a warming, soothing lunch.

Pumpkin soupIt will keep in the fridge for around five days, and freezes well.

Amsterdam’s Airport; 100 Years of Schiphol

This year Schiphol Airport celebrates 100 years. Here’s a bird’s eye view of how it developed over that time created by the Stadsarchief (City Archive). It starts back in 1852 when the area was still a polder.

Fig it!

At Saturday’s market figs were on offer, 10 figs for 3 euro. Best price all year. I love the dusky rich colour of figs, their distinctive flavour that can go either sweet or savoury. One of my favourite holiday memories is of standing under an ancient, spreading fig tree in Molise (south Italy) and eating fresh ripe figs warmed by the sun. Every summer I want to recreate that flavour memory so I couldn’t resist. 2016-09-17-15-14-34One of my favourite ways to eat figs is fresh in a salad with a creamy goat’s cheese. The rich sweetness of the figs is a perfect foil for the sharpness of the cheese. But this time I wanted to go sweet, so I poached them in a sweet wine with some spices and honey. I’ve also used a solution of honey, water and a few drops of orange water for a non-alcoholic version.

My mix this time was 200 ml of “half sweet” wine, about two teaspoons of honey, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and one or two star anise thrown in. I heated the poaching mix and dropped in the semi-quartered the figs. I cooked them until soft – be careful, they disintegrate easily so don’t stir and do watch them. Spoon the poaching mix over the figs as they cook.

2016-09-23-21-40-53I served them still warm with good thick Greek yoghurt.


Banksy is in Town

There are currently two exhibitions of Banksy’s work in Amsterdam. I went to the one at Beurs van Berlage, which has just been extended to the 7 January. It was great to see some of his most famous works collected together. His works always contain a juxtaposition that is thought provoking; there were one or two I could live with.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The second exhibition is on at the Moco Museum on Museumplein and is on until the end of the year.

Amsterdam is so Cool

Keeping cool at Museumplein thanks to the fire brigade who turned the pond outside the Rijksmuseum into a water feature.  Only one word for it… “superleuk”.

Pimp my Bike #29

Summer floral edition; spotted on Haarlemmerdijk yesterday.


I love this city

On Thursday I went to the movies at Pathe Munt and wanted to park my bike at the floating bike park opposite the flower market. But it stank, literally. Lots of rubbish, and crows feeding. So I tweeted this;

My tweet was acknowledged and my concerns reported. 4 minutes ago I got another tweet from the City Council’s webcare team.

Love this city.