Mexican Pumpkin Soup


On a hot Spanish evening. chilled Gazpacho is delicious but if we were still at home I’d probably be enjoying roast pumpkin soup.

When I had repeated trips to Dunedin Hospital with my sons in the late 80s and early 90s my favourite spot for lunch was a wee cafe called Partners which was owned by Judith Cullen.

One day Mexican Pumpkin Soup was on the menu. I asked what made it Mexican and was told tomato. I ordered it, enjoyed it and subsequently tried to make my own. This is what I came up with:

1 or 2 pumpkins                                  Lots of onions                      

olive oil                                                4 – 6 cans of tomatoes                               

 4 – 6 pottles (150g each) tomato paste                 Tomato juice or water.

salt and pepper to taste                                smoked paprika and/or worcester sauce (optional).

Chop pumpkin into pieces the size you’d use if serving it as a vegetable, place in roasting dish, drizzle with a little olive oil.

Roast until tender.

While that’s cooking, chop or slice onions (depending on whether you like chunks or slices in your soup) and either saute in a little oil until golden or drizzle with oil and roast.

When pumpkin is cooked take out of oven and when cool enough to handle scrape the flesh from the skin. Puree.

(If you’re using orange skinned pumpkin you could puree the skin too but if it’s green skin it alters the colour).

If you want to disguise the onions you can puree them too, I prefer to have the slices or chunks left in the soup.

Put pumpkin and onions into a large pot.

Puree tomatoes and add then add paste.

If mixture is too think add water or tomato juice until it reaches the consistency you like.

Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for at least 15 minutes stirring frequently so it doesn’t catch on the bottom.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

If it seems a bit bland a little worsester sauce and/or smoked paprika can enhance the flavour.

If you’re not going to eat it in a few days it can be frozen or bottled.

09 various 073

Saturday’s smiles


The Department of Labour had heard a rumour that a farmer wasn’t paying his staff the minimum wage.

The agent who was sent out to interview him asked for a list of his employees and how much he paid them.

The farmer replied, “Well, there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $550.00 a week plus a free house and meat. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her as much as she wants, plus free room and board.

“Then there’s the half-wit. He works about 16 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10.00 per week, pays his own room and board, and I shout him a beer or two every Saturday night.”

“That’s the guy I want to talk to…..the half-wit”, the agent said.

 That would be me”, replied the farmer.

Another rural petrol station closes


The cost of replacing fuel tanks has forced the owner of Clinton’s only service station to close his business.

Yet another reminder to check your fuel tank before leaving bigger towns because there are very few small towns which still have service stations.

Kingston Flyer to be grounded?


KiwiRail has been asked to save the Kingston Flyer  but it has declined because the operation isn’t commercially viable.

The company has enough problems with modern trains and tracks without saddling itself with an historic tourist attraction.

It would be sad to lose the Flyer, but if there’s a case for supporting it, it’s not the role of an SOE to be its saviour.

Chocolate wars


When the wind was in the right direction the smell from the near by chocolate factory wafted over the Otago University campus.

That memory provided a foundation for my preference for Cadbury’s chocolate.

But now my suspicion that adding palm oil to their recipe has resulted in an inferior product has been affirmed by an expert I’ll be changing brands.

Deciding which brand I shift my affections to will require some stringent taste testing, but if I was basing my choice on advertisements I’d be tempted by this David vs Goliath effort from Whittakers:

The ODT covers the issue here.

GPS vs map and mind


A GPS makes navigation much easier, but sometimes the old fashioned way is better.

On the way back from picking up friends from Malaga late last night we decided that instead of taking the coastal road from Algercirus to Vejer de la Frontera we’d head inland. That route was a little longer in distance but had more motorway which we figured would take a similar or shorter amount of time.

It might have, but a few kilometres after we’d started our detour the GPS told us to turn off the motorway. I knew the name of the town we were heading for and it wasn’t on the sign at the approaching intersection but I decided not to argue with technology.

I should have because the road we turned on to was narrow and winding. It was probably quite a bit shorter in distance but much longer in time because we could go at only half the speed we could have on the motorway.

Next time the GPS tells me to do something I’m not sure of I’ll remember that good as technology is, sometimes it’s no match for old fashioned paper map and a mind that’s worked out the route.

July 11 in history


On July 11:

1274 Robert the Bruce King of Scotland was born.



1776 Captain James Cook  began his third, and final, voyage.

James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

1877 Kate Edgar became the first woman in New Zealand to graduate from university and the first woman in the British Commonwealth to gain a BA.

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