Cobblestone Cooking Music XXI – Recipe Potpourri of a Pumpkin Soup



Sort of season for pumpkins, isn’t it? Anyway, we had one of these Hokkaido pumpkins in store – and I added another one in a short shopping trip today. And had a browse through our thick binder with recipes today – and ended up with an amalgam of several of them, with a zest of my own imagination added…

  • a-ha, Take On Me
  • Bucks Fizz, Making Your Mind Up

Cut the peel of the pumpkins and remove the seeds. Cube all of the rest. Peel and cube a red onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. Clean and slice a leek (I only used a half as the ones I bought were truly  ginourmous – our own is solidly under snow, so I couldn’t be bothered digging some out).

  • Sinead O’connor, Nothing Compares 2 U
  • Ray Charles, Shake A Tail Feather

Get some oil in a suitable pot – I used my cast iron braiser (which is something like this) and dump the leek, garlic and onion in there and let it heat up along with the oil. Let it simmer some on good heat, then add curry, chili to taste and some grated ginger. Turn the whole thing around a bit, then add the pumpkin cubes and let them taste the heat, too.

  • Pharell Williams, Happy
  • Steve Miller Band, Abracadabra

Now pour some stock in there – I used the good old Knorr vegetable stock cube solution. Add to that some fresh or canned tomato and let the whole thing simmer until all the vegetables are soft. I’d actually thought about adding some carrot also – but that sort of didn’t happen…

  • The Beatles, I Want To Hold You Hand
  • The Sweet, Turn It Down

As The Sweet sings, do turn it down – a quiet simmer is fine. Once everything is nicely done, wield the hand blender and blend the whole thing reasonable smooth. Taste and add salt etc. as needed. Stir in a dollop of creme fraiche and let it reheat until just short of boiling.

  • Chic, Le Freak
  • Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya & Pink, Lady Marmalade

Up to this point, the soup is quite vegetarian – at least if you’re ok with dairy products. Probably, for all I know, even both Kosher and Halal. Could be at least.

That promptly all changed due to the topping – crisp bacon cubes with an apple’s worth of small cubes fried along for the last few minutes to make them warm and a little toasty. The saltiness of the bacon and the acidity of the apples worked really well with the soup.

Ideally, a green sprinkling of chives would have been the final finishing – but that, too, is buried under snow in the garden. Could well be served with good, fresh bread.

Have fun cooking out there – and bon appetit.

Photo courtesy of flora cyclam on Flickr.
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Monday Motorway Music Nov 23 – Winter Truly Came

2015-11-22 08.49.57

– and it took part of our thuja…

What a contrast to last weekend’s sun and warm weather in the Baleares. Saturday we got a ton of snow – in a very literal sense as the 25-30 cm or more (5-6″) we got here was rather warm snow. That is, wet and heavy. Hence the poor tree’s fate. The biggest of the bent branches – there were a couple, tied together as they were by a clematis or whatever creeper-type of plant that thing is – is split at the very bottom, so it’s a write-off.

Here and now, due to the relative difficulty of working in a garden covered in 30 cm of snow, the branch’s been cut off right over the fence and the rest will have to wait for better conditions.

Today’s been lovely – frost, blue skies, crisp air. My favourite winter weather. And from tomorrow it’ll be back to warmer and wetter and the snow will disappear as soon as thaw and rain can make it. Oh well.

And the winter tires got put on the car – pronto!


Anton aus Tirol – Anton feat. DJ Ötzi
Shame – Evelyn “Champagne” King
Thorn In My Side – Eurythmics
Self Control – Laura Branigan
Fire – Pointer Sisters
Jeg ka’ gi’ hva’ du vil ha’ – One Two
Back To The 80’s – Aqua
Lækker – Nik & Jay

Photo by me.
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Words I’ve loved to have written…

Skærmbillede 2015-11-22 kl. 21.26.15

This, to me, is not eloquence or the kind of word-smithing where you feel your breath go “pfooosh” in awe over the elegance. This is simple emotion, raw longing and heartbreak. In a nicely quiet desperate way.

I get along without you very well
Of course, I do
Except perhaps in Spring
But I should never think of Spring
For that would surely break my heart in two
Hoagy Carmichael; lyrics based on a poem written by Jane Brown Thompson

And when Diana Krall sings it like she does in Live in Paris, hairs on my arms do have a tendency to stand up.

(But going down over the long list of recordings, I should probably check … oh, Old Blue Eyes, Billie Holiday, Peggie Lee and Carly Simon. At least…)

At least, with us having had 30 cm of snow or so and with the forecast on frost for tonight and tomorrow, not thinking of spring should be relatively easy ;)

Picture off the Diana Krall Live in Paris DVD that I honestly own.
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Monday Motorway Music Nov 16 – Back After A Great Weekend



A little of a long weekend – we took Friday off and caught a (very!) early plane so that we could step out of the airport in Palma de Mallorca somewhere between 9 and 10 in the morning.

That gave us effectively one and a half day for hiking in the mountains there before we flew back late Sunday morning.

Wonderful terrain – and two hikes totalling about 9 hours, 26 km and 2500 height meters.Skærmbillede 2015-11-15 kl. 18.49.01 The picture above is from the “alternative ascent route” in our guide book on the walk from Valdemossa to Es Teix (the bit between kms 6 and 8 or so). The book called the alternative “highly recommended” and while it probably isn’t for everyone – it was a wee bit tricky at part but not remotely calling for climbing technique or ropes – it was indeed stunning.

Drive – The Cars
Drop Dead Beautiful – Six Was Nine
Born In The Delta – Willie Kent & The Gents
Love Me Two Times – Joan Jett
Tainted Love (12″) – Soft Cell
The Healer – John Lee Hooker (w/Carlos Santana)

Photo by me.
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Monday Motorway Music Nov 9 – Normality Restored


Billede 04-11-2015 18.46.49

Rather lousy shot of the upside-down cow at Irene Village Mall, Joburg area, ZA.

“Five to one against and falling…” she said, “four to one against and falling…three to one…two…one…probability factor of one to one…we have normality, I repeat we have normality.” She turned her microphone off — then turned it back on, with a slight smile and continued: “Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Back at at home and at work after last week’s flying around in the Southern hemisphere. 7 flights, five airports, two hotels, six customers, two function dinner keynote speaches and generally a lot of good times.

Still, it was good to get home though it meant going from blue skies and warm sun to a mixed autumn weekend with both clouds, rain, wind and what have you.

As Good As It Gets – Beth Hart
Lose Yourself To Dance – Daft Punk
Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
Cocaine – J.J. Cale
Give It Up – Cut ‘N’ Move
Played-A-Live – Safri Duo

Photo by me.
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Monday Airplane Music Nov 2 – A Trip To Warmer Places

Billede 03-11-2015 12.56.58

Runway in GRJ – waiting for the turbulence after the previous plane taking off to die down a bit before it’s our turn…

*note: a bit of a severe delay on this one as we’re looking at the calendar saying Friday, not Monday – something as simple as having had a hectic work week on the other side of the globe, sort of – with internet connection but no time to work on finishing and uploading this or vice versa*

A Monday piece with a little flight tip as an extra – sitting in 9G in a Turkish Airlines A340 that will shortly begin its descent into CPT: Cape Town.

It’s been a long one – started at 6pm yesterday in Copenhagen and had a three-hour layover in Atatürk airport in Istanbul. Let me just say that 02:25 departures never will be a favourite. A surprising number of Danes and Swedes on the plane here – at least there is a Danish group here for a 10-day wine trip.

And as for the tip: If you ever fly Turkish Airline’s A340 in the Economy section, try to pick a G seat. All the 7 other seats across have a smaller or larger entertainment box underneath the seat in front of you, reducing your leg room. You’re welcome :)

The week has since offered flights to and from George and then on to Joburg. Homewards haul from JNB via IST begins this evening – after a good week here with the loveliest colleagues I’m quite content and happy but it’ll also be good to get back!

I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts
Boogie Wonderland – Earth, Wind & Fire
Where The Streets Have No Name – Pet Shop Boys
Take On Me – a-ha
I Hate Myself For Loving You – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
I’ve Been Thinking About You – Londonbeat
I’ve Got The Music In Me – Kiki Dee

Photo by me.
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Last Rose


Autumn’s final rose
Still carrying summer’s scent
But for how long yet?

Photo by me.
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Cobblestone Cooking Music XX – Fusion Pulled Peking Duck


One duck in the process of being pulled. Some of these bones fell clean out by themselves, on Scout’s honour!

Another slow cooking thing – albeit not really by design this time. But as you hopefully can see, when this duck came out of the oven, it did fall apart – the bones tell the story… And, like the lamb, this one starts early in the day.

  • George Micheal, Killer / Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone
  • Blue Junction, Tired Man

OK, it all started with us having some Mexican tortillas (not Spanish – quite different thingy!) that needed eating. And, I believe, my wife had a colleague who spoke about having made or maybe was going to make pulled duck.

Duck in shreds and something like pancakes sounds like Peking duck, no? Albeit those pancakes are altogether different. You know what? So what!

  • Deep Purple, Smoke On The Water
  • Dire Straits, Heavy Fuel

For the duck, make a dry rub: brown sugar and paprika, 3:1. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, allspice and some celery salt (the recipe I saw had smoked paprika instead, but that is not on my to-have list). Mix well in a blender or in the mortar.

With a sharp but not too big knife and your fingers, loosen the skin from the breast of the duck. It’s actually not that hard once you get started on it – even if, when I was actually all done, I tore a shred in the skin when I pulled out my hand. €##€%%& skin sort of got stuck on my knuckles. Nothing two trussing needles couldn’t handle, though.

Put a handful of the rub under the skin and get it all over the breast meat. The rest of the rub goes liberally all over outside and inside of the duck. Let it rest in the fridge for a few hours.

  • Twisted Sister, I Wanna Rock
  • Paramore, Born For This (Live)

Next, take your Römertopf – whatever the thing is called in UKian – and let it sit in cold water for at least half an hour. Then put the duck in it and put the whole thing in the oven for 7 hours at 110°C/230°F (without circulation).

Once it is done, take care when lifting the duck out – mine was so done and tender that it fell apart and splashed into the copious amount of fat that had melted off… Some kitchen floor cleaning ensued.

For the rest of the fusion Peking duck, slice celery very thinly and ditto with spring onion. Cucumber, too – except ours was really not interesting anymore. Heat the tortillas and dump a bottle of hoisin sauce on the table (honestly, I couldn’t be bothered making that from scratch – either didn’t look right or involved ingredients I’d never get used up). Oh. and we had half a pomegranate in the fridge from yesterday, so the seeds also went on the table. Their sweet acidity (!) went well in the whole mix. BTW, here is how to get those seeds out.

  • Eurtyhmics, I Want It All
  • Eric Serra, Guns And People

And the verdict? It worked really well! Yum, in fact. One note – I did cut a bit down on the amount of rub relative to the recipe I had a look at. Too much “American” / Cajun whatever spice along with the rather delicate vegetables might be overwhelming, was the theory. So far, the theory held up :)

Bon appetit!

Photos by me.
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Some autumn splendour

This morning started with a nice blue sky, so I grabbed the camera on the way out of the door for work. It’s been windy so it’s about getting the shots captured while some leaves are still hanging on … :)

Photos by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, October 19 – The Mystery of Oct 12th


It’s a bit like that photo – what are those letters adding up to, really? (Danes, at least Copenhageners, will readily tell you that it is the neon sign of the newly renovated Nørreport Station – which is entirely besides the point)

Last week, I did have the song list lined up – honestly. And I absolutely did have in mind to write up the post – but sometimes later during the week it dawned on me that … hey, wait, what happened to Monday?

To be absolutely honest I have no clue. Chalk it up to the unusual circumstances of being in the middle of a four week stint where I’m actually at work, in the office, with no travels happening! ;)

(I was about to say a whole month – but then I remembered that we were in Germany on Oct 2. And the next trip takes off on Nov 1. So not quite a month.)

Links 2, 3, 4 – Rammstein
How Come You’re Not Here – Pink
A Kid on the Beach – Hymns from Nineveh
Vågner i natten – Dodo & the Dodos
Waiting for A Girl Like You – Foreigner
Don’t Get Me Wrong – Pretenders
Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards
Horny ’98 – Mousse T. vs. Hot ‘n’ Juicy
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da – The Police
Killing Me Softly – The Fugees
Drop Dead Beautiful – Six Was Nine

Photo by me
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