Happy New Year! Have you all had fun over the festive season? Survived the gargantuan meals? It’s still not over for us yet. With Epiphany on Sunday 8th January, the traditional Galette des Rois are now in all the French pâtisseries and so it’s time to taste all the different variations: plain, chocolate, candied fruits… Admittedly, I prefer to make my own – just to ensure there’s the maximum amount of my favourite frangipane inside, sneak in some fancy trinkets, and change fillings such as this recipe for Praline and Pear Galette des Rois. But I’ve already talked about Epiphany on le blog.
It was good to be back in Scotland over the holidays with the family. Feeling the proudest auntie in the universe, I was introduced to another gorgeously smiling baby niece. Isn’t it amazing how you can easily forget how small they are? Especially when it seems like yesterday when my two girls were born, who are now wee ‘giants’! It’s great to see the wee ones enjoying their food so much, too. No wonder, as Grandpa was serving up his amazing warm homemade bread and Arbroath Smokie Pâté just for starters…
On our return to France, I was listening to a French doctor on the radio, concerned for us all after over-indulging in rich, festive foods. His suggestion? Eat plenty of leeks. Apparently they help to clean out the gut. Trust the French to sound so poetic. With that, I headed straight to our local market and loaded up on leeks.
Are you ready for a tasty clean-out? Then this is the ideal soup to follow the Christmas – New Year extravaganza meals. The hardest part of making this soup is cutting up the pumpkin, but it’s worth the effort since it’s full of iron, zinc, fibre and carotene. Carotene is what we all need at this time of year to bring the glow back to our cheeks, and the ginger gives a great kick-start to 2012, as it’s great for digestion, keeping colds at bay and virility (I keep meaning to ask hubby on that one.)
Leek, Pumpkin and Ginger Soup
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
4 leeks, sliced
800g pumpkin, roughly cut into cubes
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
800ml chicken stock
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1. Melt the butter in a large pot then soften the leeks, ginger and pumpkin together. Sweat gently for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the stock (just enough to cover the vegetables), cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
3. Blend with a hand mixer, add the nutmeg and season to taste.
To garnish you could swirl in some naughty cream and sprinkle on smoked crispy bacon, or guess what? For macaronivores, why not serve with a couple of mini curry tikka mac’sala macarons (See page 100 of the book.)
In between sane bowls of soup and greedy galettes, it’s just the right timing to prepare loads of macarons today for this weekend’s party. Hm. Too many choices of flavours – what favourites would you prefer to see on the table: classic or wacky? Dress is also ‘back to the 80s’. What on earth did we wear then? Do you remember? Shoulder pads? Jumpsuits? Disco gear? What would you wear?
Happy, Healthy New Year!
Bonne Année – Bonne santé 2012!