I don't mean to offend anyone, but I would seriously hate to have a nut allergy. I mean I get there are some serious issues in this world but I really don't think there is anything worse than not being able to eat peanut butter. I'm not ashamed to admit to you all that I have a peanut butter binge at least once a week, just me, the jar, a spoon and a dark corner in my kitchen.
Peanut butter is one of those glorious spreads that needs little improvement or tweaking. Mmm, perfect smeared on thick slices of warm toast or smothered on crunchy vita weat crackers. It's a magical ingredient in cookies, cakes and slices, and if rippled through icecream becomes the best dessert in the world. I even used to love dolloping spoonfuls of Kraft creamy in the hollows of a celery stick...until one day when I choked severly on the snack and I've been scarred ever since, but I won't elaborate on that one.
I remember when I was in primary school and there was a total recall on all Kraft peanut butter jars because some little kid out there got sick from a batch of it (how dare he/she). The hiatus went on for months and I remember pleading with my mum to please, please let me have some peanut butter but no, instead I was forced to settle for Vegemite (which don't get me wrong, I love, but it's just not the same thing is it?). And jeez, ask yourself, where would any cocktail party be without the presence of chicken satay skewers?... It's a scary thought, I know.
But never fear, take comfort in the fact that I offer you today with a recipe that involves this life giving spreadable condiment in the form of an Asian pumpkin soup full of fiery chilli, fresh coriander, zesty lime and of course, peanut butter.
Asian-y Pumpkin Soup
Recipe adapted from 'River Cottage Everyday' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
400g butternut pumpkin, cut into chunks
3 large carrots, cut into chunks
1cm wide knob of fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 brown onion, diced
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 a cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) - toasted or untoasted
A few dollops of fresh, plain yoghurt
Saute the onions, garlic and ginger in a deep dish on the stove. After the onions have become translucent season with salt and pepper, add in the chunks of pumpkin, carrots and stock and bring the whole mixture to the boil. Once it reaches a boil, cover with a lid and leave to a slow simmer for about 15 minutes until the pumpkin and carrots are soft.
Using a hand held blender carefully blend the mixture to smooth out any lumps and to create a thick, silky consistency (remember the soup is H.O.T). While still on a low heat, add in the finely chopped chilli, coriander, peanut butter and lime juice and stir to incorporate the peanut butter.
Serve in a big bowl, drizzle with yoghurt, add some crunchy pepitas and a scattering of coriander leaves.