The past few weeks we’ve been having Soup Sundays. It hasn’t really happened on purpose, but somehow Sunday rolling around had put me in the mood to make soup. I’m sure the cooler weather has had something to do with it!
The soup last Sunday was a vegetable and lentil soup and I wanted to bake something bready to have with it. Last week I flicked through old food magazines and ripped out recipes to keep so I could clear out the magazines. This was part of epic cleaning preparations – my mum and dad arrived yesterday for a month long stay.
One recipe I kept was for a pumpkin, sage and parmesan damper. Damper is a traditionally an Australian soda bread that was baked in the coals of a campfire or put into an iron pot and buried in the hot coals. Apparently it’s called damper because the fire was damped to allow the bread to be cooked over the ash covered hot coals.
It resembles a big scone (but with much less butter!). The pumpkin helps keep it moist, but doesn’t contribute much flavour wise. I thought it could’ve used a bit more salt, but it tasted much better after we had warmed it up and slathered it with butter. But of course, there is little that can’t be improved with butter.
I’m not sure if there will be Soup Sundays for the next few weeks as my parents are here and will be doing the majority of the cooking (yay!). By the time they go it’ll be properly cold, so no doubt Soup Sundays will return!
Pumpkin damper with parmesan and sage
From Good Taste magazine, September 2001
Melted butter, to grease
300g peeled, deseeded pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces
450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
1&1/2 teaspoon salt
40g (2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cubed
60ml (1/4 cup) milk, at room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
25g (1/4 cup) finely grated parmesan
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage
8 fresh sage leaves, extra
Olive oil, to coat
Preheat oven to 190°C. Lightly grease a baking tray with melted butter.
Steam the pumpkin over boiling water for 10 minutes or until soft. Transfer to a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Mash the pumpkin until smooth. Add the milk and egg, and stir to combine. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the parmesan. Add the remaining parmesan and chopped sage to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and use a round-bladed knife to mix using a cutting motion until well combined. Use your hands to bring the dough together (add a bit more milk if it needs it to come together). Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 4-5 times or until just smooth. Shape into a 20cm disc, about 3cm thick. Place on the greased tray and use a sharp knife dipped in flour to mark 8 wedges.
Sprinkle with reserved parmesan. Dip extra sage in oil and press on top. Break in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and damper sounds hollow when tapped on the base.