After living in Germany for almost four months now, I can tell you much has changed for my views about the food culture here. Actually, much has changed for my views of Germany in general. This is probably due to the fact that I now live in Berlin, and anyone who lives in or has visited Berlin would most likely agree, that this city, is in a class of its own.
Firstly, I must clear the rumor of all Germans loving meat. This may seem true in the southern parts of Germany, but here in Berlin—Europe's vegetarian capital, it's not. You might not see as many vegetarian restaurants as you would in Toronto, but for Europe, Berlin is the most likely place for PETA to set up an European office.
Berlin is also the most likely place where you would see street art on the side of buildings, graffit on doors, abandoned buildings turned into clubs, musicians on the street, musicians in the subways, dogs off leashes walking by their owners, beers caps engraved into the ground, karaoke in the park, people eating döners at lunch, people eating döners at 2 in the morning, people eating burgers at Burgermeister when it's 3 in the morning and people drinking at 10 in the morning from the night before. It's a city where people eat, drink, party, create, design, innovate, love and live.
It's a city that still searches for it's identity, constantly changing and evolving, people moving in and people moving ou—well, I haven't met anyone moving out of Berlin, only people who intended to stay for a few months, which turned into a few years. But I suppose there is a reason for that, because as I settle into the city, I feel this mysterious attraction and longing to discover more.
You may love New York, but Berlin loves you.
As for this pumpkin soup, which doesn't seem to be the actual topic of this post, it's pumpkin season and well, soup season, so get your hand blender ready and start making this delicious spiced Hokkaido pumpkin soup. And the benefit for using hokkaido pumpkins, you don't need to peel them, but you can scrap off the warty looking bits if it makes you feel any better.
Spiced Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup
Makes 6-8 servings (depending how hungry you are)
- 1 average sized Hokkaido pumpkin, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 2-3 smaller potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp of curry powder
- 1 tsp of ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- focaccia bread for croutons
- crèam fraîche for garnish
- In a large saucepan, on medium heat, gently fry 3 tbsp of olive oil with the chopped onions until soft.
- Add the pumpkin, potatoes, garlic and the four spices. Fry for about 10 minutes or until everything looks happy together.
- Pour in the stock, you may not need it all, depending how thick you like your soup. Begin by just cover the top of pumpkin with the stock, you can add more later if you feel it is too thick.
- Cover and simmer until the pumpkin and potatoes are tender and soft, about 10-12 minutes.
- Using a hand blender, puree the pumpkin and potatoes until smooth and creamy. Here is where you can add more stock if you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- For the croutons, cut up chunks of focaccia bread and fry in a pan with a bit of olive oil.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with crèam fraîche and croutons.