Tag Archives: Rustic

Spiced roasted butternut pumpkin soup – two ways

I love soups. And it makes so much sense to make a giant pot of soup, have it as leftovers, or even freeze those that are suitable.

My problem is that I don’t always seem to want soup from the freezer, and often end up throwing it away. It’s very un-frugal of me and the waste upsets me.

Over the weekend I found a beautiful butternut squash – at $2 instead of the $10+ that I spend across the road for the same thing. Of course I just had to buy it.

I decided that I would do two types of soup with it, to try to give some variety, and hope to tickle my tastebuds enough to want to eat it again. And again.

The first way was to push a ladleful of it through a fine sieve, yielding the most silkily smooth soup that reminds me of the amouse-bouches that you sometimes get in fine restaurants. It’s such a treat and I don’t know why but the same soup seems to taste sweeter somehow ?

The second way was to keep it rustic (the sieving also takes time and any time saving is a good thing, right ?). This leftover I’ve frozen, but when I reheat it, I’ll add a dollop of cream and a glug of good olive oil to make it taste like the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had.

Roasting the pumpkin intensifies the sugars and flavour and the spices just add an extra dimension to the soup.

Ingredients makes four bowls of soup

  1. 1 large onion, diced
  2. 1 medium sized butternut pumpkin
  3. salt and pepper
  4. ground tumeric
  5. ground cumin
  6. chicken stock
  7. thick cream
  8. good olive oil to serve


  1. Preheat your oven to 220CC/430F
  2. Remove skin and seeds from pumpkin and cut into chunks
  3. Coat with olive oil (doesn’t need to be the good stuff) and season with salt and pepper
  4. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes
  5. Sautee onion in some olive oil on low heat until translucent – about 5 minutes
  6. Add the tumeric and cumin and fry off the “rawness” of the spices for another 5 minutes
  7. Add the roasted pumpkin and add enough chicken stock to cover the pumpkin
  8. Simmer for 30 minutes
  9. Blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency (I like to keep it relatively smooth but still with some bits of pumpkin)
  10. Option 1: Take a ladleful and push through a fine sieve and serve with just a few drops of good olive oil
  11. Option 2: Serve hot, with a big dollop of cream, and a good glug of the good olive oil



Rustic blueberry tart

Who doesn’t love decadent sweet treats ? Choc Chip Uru’s wonderful blog Go Bake Yourself is pretty much full of chocolately goodness and it’s always such a delight to visit and escape in all that sugary goodness. Everyone should take a peek into her happy happy life at least once (I challenge you not to go back after one visit) – I can guarantee if you are having a bad day you’ll feel better after.

And guess who was lucky enough to be able to write a guest post ? Yes, yours truly ! You can check the post on Uru’s blog and I’m reposting it here because I actually really love this tart 🙂

Ingredients serves four
  1. 75g unsalted butter – melted
  2. 90g caster sugar
  3. 80 ground almonds
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  5. pinch salt
  6. 1 sheet of puff pastry
  7. handful of blueberries (I use frozen but you can use fresh)
  8. additional sugar for sprinkling
  9. Optional: clotted cream or good vanilla ice-cream to serve
  1. Mix together the sugar, ground almonds, vanilla and salt
  2. Add the melted butter and mix well to combine
  3. Take the sheet of puff pastry and cut into quarters
  4. Lightly score about 1cm around the edges using the edge of a pointed knife
  5. Spread the almond mixture evenly over the pastry within the scored area
  6. Place the blueberries on the almond mixture
  7. Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 15-20 minutes until the puff pastry and almond mix are golden brown
  8. Serve hot with a dollop of cream or good vanilla ice-cream


The famous Tuscan soup, ribollita

Tuscan fare is almost absurdly good. I love that many dishes often have peasant roots, utilising inexpensive, bountiful (in season) ingredients that all come together to make delicious rustic meals.

Ribollita is a perfect example of this. A hearty soup made with leftover bread, cannellini beans and stock vegetables.  Ribollita translates to “reboiled” and was originally made by reheating leftover vegetable soup from the previous day.

It’s deceptively filling, probably because of the bread, but is such a delicious way to start a meal that every dinner I had to order it.

More Bistrot du Sommelier

Beef tenderloin with mushrooms in cream sauce and mashed potato

After our wonderful introduction to Le Bistrot du Sommelier, we headed back there again last weekend with some friends, keen to try other dishes.  We recognised chef Patrick Heuberger from Au Petit Salut which inspired even more faith in this gem of a place. He explained that he left Au Petit Salut to open something smaller and more intimate, and he really has nailed it with this charming bistrot.

I ordered the tenderloin in a cream and mushroom sauce.  The steak was tender and tasty and the mash it was served with could not have been silkier.  I would have ordered the Cote du Boef but Patrick explained that the one supplier he uses for this particular dish was sadly affected by the recent crazy weather in Queensland.

Welsh lamb fillet for two with potato gratin

The Welsh lamb (for 2) looked so good it made me wish I ate lamb (don’t ask, I just don’t like the smell of it, but can totally understand anyone who says pork, which I can’t live without, has a similar smell).  It came served with whole roasted garlic cloves and a generous layer of herbed butter on top, and was cooked to medium-rare perfection.

We also ordered the duck confit and the onglet steak at our table which were both also delicious (and we had frites envy from the crispy shoe-string fries that came with the onglet steak) but I think the tenderloin and lamb were the winners of the evening.

Must-have profiteroles

Actually, I tell a lie, the profiteroles we ordered to share between three of us who could squeeze in any more food was the winner.  Crisp, light choux pastry sandwiching large scoops of rich vanilla ice-cream, covered in molten dark chocolate and slivered almonds.  A sweet-tooth’s dream.  And a chocoholics dream.  Just a dream.

If you like rustic French food, this is the place you want to go to.  Just remember to book.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier
46 Prinsep Street, #01-01 Prinsep Place

Tel: +65 6333 1982

Open Mon-Sat: 6pm – 11pm



Le Bistrot du Sommelier

Roast chicken with 40 garlic cloves served with potato gratin

What a great start to the lunar new year we’ve had.  First we found great tapas, and then last night we managed to secure a reservation at a charming French bistro that has been fully booked the last four times we’ve wanted to visit.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier is at Prinsep Place, nestled in the middle of a row of shophouses that have been converted to bars and other restaurants.

It’s a busy, bustling restaurant, and based on last night, where all tables were full, I’d definitely recommend making a reservation to avoid disappointment.

And there’s a reason why it’s so busy – it’s great rustic French food at its best.

Foie gras terrine with fig jam and brioche

D and I could not go past the duck foie gras terrine for starters, which I’d actually recommend sharing between two (unlike last night where greed too over and we ended up too full from ordering one each) – it’s a very generous slice of rich, intensely flavoured foie gras terrine served with a fig jam and brioche.  This paired so perfectly with the Sancere we ordered.

There is a beef menu where they serve 4-5 specials but for some reason D and I departed from our usual French-fare of duck and beef, and ordered the roast chicken stew with 40 garlic cloves and pan-roasted snapper fillet.

The roast chicken arrived in a claypot, stewed with white wine, onions, herbs de provence, and 40 garlic cloves, that had stewed into a sweet, mellow sauce that was crying out to have a crusty baguette dunked in it.  But as with most bistrots, you are rarely short of carbohydrates, and this dish was served with a potato gratin (which was cooked with cream and nutmeg that you could smell and taste – yum).  Exceedingly rich, this would have been tough for me to finish after the foie gras terrine I’d just eaten.

Snapper fillet over crushed potatoes with tomato salsa

Luckily I (for once!) let my head rule over my heart with my order of snapper fillet, which arrived with a simple “salsa” of chopped tomatoes, onions and basil, all over crushed potatoes that had been drizzled with olive oil.  A sprinkle of fresh tarragon leaves over the fish gave each mouthful a refreshing aniseed flavour which I surprisingly loved given that I don’t usually like strong anise flavours.

We were so full that we couldn’t even think about dessert although the profiteroles have our name on it for next time 🙂

There is indoor and outdoor seating, and tables are very close together, which means you tend to overhear conversations from neighbouring tables (perhaps not the sort of place for an intimate dinner for two) and we heard that they now do not allow BYO.  Which is a shame because that’s just so, “bistrot”, although their wine list is pretty extensive and reasonably priced.

We had to walk home because we couldn’t fathom sitting down in a taxi with such full bellies, but a lot of our conversation home was about what a great find this bistrot was and what we would order next time.  And the next.  And the next.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier
46 Prinsep Street, #01-01 Prinsep Place

Tel: +65 6333 1982

Open Mon-Sat: 6pm – 11pm