Tag Archives: Recipes

Halloween Pumpkin Soup

My mother in law taught me how to make this Italian style Zoppa di Zucca, pumpkin soup, so what better night to make it than Halloween?

I found the most perfect, cutest little mini pumpkins, British I may add, that would make an ideal size for Bambina.

All you need to do is chop up the pumpkin into small diced pieces, chop up a few sticks of celery into small bits, add a finely chopped onion and a small diced potato.

Throw that into enough boiling water to just about cover the veg and leave to simmer slowly for about thirty mins. Remember to not leave the pan to boil dry (like I did the first time I made this!).

As this was for Bambina’s supper, I didn’t add salt but did add a pinch of ground black pepper. To make it for adults you can add salt and garlic for flavour and for a twist on a meat version, add crispy pancetta. Delish!

Once all the veggies are soft, mash them down with a fork and stir in a good splash of olive oil.

Serve into a bowl and grate some fresh Parmesan ( like one we brought back from Italy last weekend, nothing like parmesan from a Lattaria!) to make the soup creamy. Enjoy with grissini or a nice piece of focaccia.

What could be more simple? Buon Appetito!!

Happy Halloween (btw, this is Bambina’s first ever scary craft! #proudmummy)

Have you got any pumpkin recipes to share? Do tell.



Posted by on October 31, 2012 in London


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Ten days ago I was handed a Tupperware box by a friend that contained an odd-looking mixture.  “Look after that, it’s a friendship cake, it will be ready in ten days”.  Oh dear Lord.  Ten days of babysitting a cake?! Have I not told you already that I am the worlds worst baker – I don’t have the patience to wait, I open the oven door way before its due so that the cake collapses, or, I completely forget there is something in the oven and then it burns, all that time and effort waisted.  Now my friend wanted me to nurture a cake, for ten days! Yet, for the love of the job, look after it I have.

The Friendship cake was discovered on a blog called hermanthegermanfriendshipcake and a friend passed it on to a friend, who passed it on to my friend, who passed it on to me.  Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I immediately saw a novel opportunity to include this in my Lavazza Wimbledon #CoffeeSetMatch challenge, and accepted Herman’s challenge with both hands.

The cake is made of sourdough and apparently, according to Herman, dates back from the Amish people who made it by the truck load to give out to the needy and the sick.  The cake needs to breath and leaving it covered up would kill it as the yeast would die off.  I stirred and stirred well every day to ensure that it stayed with us, bubbling away and then the time came to add more ingredients.  I stirred and stirred again for a few more days until yesterday, day 10 in the Tea&Biscotti house had arrived.  It was time to put my friendship with Herman to the test!

As with all my Lavazza challenge recipes, I usually give an idea as to “What you need” and “What you do”.  However, for the purpose of nurturing Herman’s cake, I have copied his instructions verbatim.

Here goes:

 I am a sourdough cake. I’m supposed to sit on your worktop for 10 days without a lid on.  You CANNOT put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling, I am dead.

Day1 – Put me in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.

Day 2 – Stir well

Day 3 – Stir well

Day 4 – Herman is hungry. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.

Day 5 – Stir well

Day 6 – Stir well

Day 7 – Stir well

Day 8 – Stir well

Day 9 – Add the same as day 4 and stir well

Divide into 4 equal portions and give away to friends with a copy of these instructions. Keep the fourth portion.

Day 10 – Now you are ready to make the cake. Stir well and add the following:

 1 cup of sugar (8oz or 225g)

2 cups plain flour (10oz or 300g)

half tsp. (teaspoon) salt

2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil (5.3oz or 160ml)

2 Eggs

2 tsp. vanilla essence

2 cooking apples cut into chunks

1 cup raisins (7oz or 200g)

2 heaped tsp. cinnamon

2 heaped tsp. baking powder

Optional – ¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup melted butter

Mix everything together and put into a large greased baking tin. Sprinkle with a quarter of a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 170‐180C. Test the middle with a clean knife; you may need to cover in tin foil and bake for a further 20 minutes to make sure your Herman is cooked properly in the middle.

When baked, Herman can be frozen.

To keep the Lavazza  challenge tradition alive I soaked the raisins over night in Lavazza Qualitá Oro Espresso with a shot of Sambuca Caffé.

When the cake was done I was amazed at how delicious it is – the only way I can describe it is that it smells and tastes like a sugary Christmas!  Im really REALLY proud of myself for having seen this through and even prouder that my friendship with Herman survived – now, I must go and eat him!!

If you want to start your own Herman Friendship cake cycle, please go here.

 To make friends with Lavazza and win a prize of your own, you should look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter online.  Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.



Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: