On a personal note, now that I am taking a break from French lessons, it's been weeks since I last hung out in Bangsar Village. JL and I had been spending Saturday mornings in Bangsar Shopping Centre: get the weekend paper, have early lunch followed by some piccolo latte over a book or two, leaving groceries to the last. I think the husband really deserves whatever he fancies during weekends. He works too hard.
Once of the books I read last weekend was Antonio Carluccio's Simple Cooking. Now if I ever, ever, have the chance to have my own cookbook published - and have a say in its design and layout - it will be about the same size as Antonio's book. Home kitchens in big cities are getting smaller, so if that's my target audience, why the need for a large coffee-table-book size? While at it, I will also insist on full-page full-colour pictures of every dish facing its recipe.
It's no crime to dream.
(Inspired by Antonio Carluccio's recipe in Simple Cooking)
Serves 6-8 as entrée
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, stringed and diced
600g pumpkin, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 litre vegetable stock
(Optional) Whole cream
(Optional) Fresh parsley, chopped
1. Heat the oil in a heavy-base large pot on medium. Sweat the onion for five minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the onion from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to let the onion turn brown.
2. Add the celery, mixing well with the onion, before adding the pumpkin.
3. Pour in the stock, put the lid on and bring it to a boil. When the stock is boiling, give it one last stir and reduce the heat. Simmer for at least 30 minutes before turning off the heat. Allow the soup to rest for at least 5 minutes with the lid off.
4. Blend the soup in short pulses, ensuring the blades of the blender are fully immersed when you blend. If the blender is held up too close to the surface of the soup, the blending may cause the soup to splatter all over. Save yourself the trouble.
5. The soup can be served immediately or reheated closer to serving time. Let your guests have the options of chopped fresh parsley and/or cream, which will certainly add another dimension to the soup.
Note that if you're making this for yourself, it is best to consume by the third evening.