Thursday, 30 October 2014

Roast Pumpkin Soup

This rich, warming soup is perfect for an autumn night. Nutty roasted pumpkin and glorious melting cheese come together for the perfect supper to snuggle up with and keep the spooks at bay!



Ingredients 
Serves 6

Soup
1 small pumpkin (1.3 – 1.6kg)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
850ml vegetable stock
425ml whole milk
25g butter
Salt, pepper and ground nutmeg, to season
Croutons
2 thick slices crusty white bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

To serve
100g melting cheese, such as gruyere or mozzarella, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 240 °C. Start by cutting the pumpkin into quarters, scoop out the seeds, then cut each quarter in half. Brush the surface of each section with the oil and season with a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper. Pop into the oven to roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the flesh is soft when tested with a skewer.

While the pumpkin is roasting, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a high heat, add the onion and stir. After 5 minutes, turn the heat down low and leave the onion to cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Add the stock and the milk to the onion and turn the heat up to medium. Once the mixture is simmering, scoop out the pumpkin flesh and add to the pan along with the seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn the heat down to low and leave to gently simmer for a further 20 minutes.

This is the perfect time to make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the bread into cubes and toss in a bowl with the oil and salt and pepper seasoning, making sure each crouton gets an even coating. Place onto a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, until they are light and crispy.

Next, puree the soup using a hand blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. Season to taste, and when you’re ready to serve, slowly reheat the soup over a medium heat – keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t boil as this would compromise the taste. Ladle into warm bowls, top with a handful of croutons and a generous scattering of cheese. 

Snug up and enjoy!

By Millie Norton

Friday, 24 October 2014

When I Grow Up...

There's nothing better than uncovering a hidden gem, and you'll definitely be in for a treat if you take a trip to MoonKo in Sheffield. We caught up with Debbie to find out a little more about what makes them so unique... 


How did MoonKo come about? 
When I became a mum for the first time, I was torn between going back to work and doing something I was passionate about, whilst spending as much time as I could with my little one. Being an artist myself I know how hard it is commercially to make money and make an income, so I wanted to provide a platform in which I could support graduates, students still studying etc.  From there it just evolved and grew, from a small idea to something I am really proud of and love. 

Have you always had an interest in design?
I have always loved design, which probably comes from my background. My dad is an amazing garden designer, who has done the odd Chelsea Flower show. He has a passion for simplicity and likes being surrounded by beautiful objects and floral influences, which has definitely rubbed off on me! I love the unique quality and quirkiness that British design brings to creative sector. It’s inventive, intuitive, not afraid to be bold, ask questions and be controversial as well as incredibly commercial.


What do you think of the growing Arts scene in Sheffield?  How does the shop fit into this? Sheffield is an amazing place (although I am a Brightonian) and I’ve lived here for 15 years, it’s my home.  It’s wonderful. It feels more like a village then a city - with the peaks on your door step. It’s such a creative place and always has been, it’s just more folks are taking notice. It’s full of little hubs, in the old industrial quarters where artists, makers, musicians are creating, recording and getting noticed. The shop is based on a Division Street,where there are lots of wonderful independent shops. and sits in an old 1960s prefab building, with the remnants of Sheffield past round every corner. The folks of Sheffield have been so supportive of our shop; it showcases lots of up and coming design, textiles, ceramics, home-ware you name it, from Sheffield and around the British isles. We also have regular pop up shops and exhibitions. My passion is for MoonKo to showcase such amazing work, that folks take notice, that here in Sheffield, there are beautiful and commercial wares being made.

 How does MoonKo work together with emerging talent?
I do lots of things outside of the shop, working with great organisations and charities, such as Ghost of Gone Birds and The ONCA gallery.  I work with emerging talent , not just sales in a shop context, but exhibitions, commissions etc.


How do you see Moonko in 5 years’ time? 
Wow, MoonKo in five years… there is a thought. Well, I would love to see more MoonKo shops open. Hopefully MoonKo will grow, supporting more amazing makers, creating jobs and supporting charities.

What's next for Moonko?
Lots of lovely MoonKo products and collaborations... watch this Space!



Interview by Victoria Rodrigues O’Donnell