Torsten had a house by a small country road surrounded by fields. In his garden he grew what he ate. He hunted his own wild meats and fished for his own fish in lakes and rivers. Torsten was self sufficient and practical. He considered himself lucky but he also knew that he was lonely. In his kitchen he had a wood burning stove and on top of it sat a large aluminium pot in which a soup was always bubbling away. Hi soups changed by the season and there was something very special about his pumpkin soup. It was a village tradition to share and swap harvests in October and although no one remembered how this had come about, Torsten and Vendela had turned this into sharing a harvest meal between the two. Torsten made soup and Vendela brought pickles and preserves from her autumn stocked larder. Vendela was light hearted and broad chested. She smelled of cinnamon buns and always wore flowery dresses. Torsten wore braces, a well worn corderoy jacket and smelled of newly dug out potatoes mixed with chewing tobacco.
Every year, Torsten watched his pumpkins grow with hope and anticipation since the first shoots surfaced in April. October was his favourite part of the year; when his best neighbour would come over and share this meal. Every year, on the 31st of October.
With the inherited silver spoons and the very best crockery, Torsten would try his very best to say all those things that were bundled up in his chest. How fond he was of her a little too loud laughter. How he thought of her often. How much he loved her generous shapes and how much he wishes she would visit a tittle more often. Instead he smiled and let his soup do the talking.
The tradition continued this sway for years and years, until one year after enjoying a particularly good lunch together, Vendela just never left Torsten’s house. Ever again. Everyone said it was because of the pumpkin soup and Torstens’s secret ingredient. They said the soup must have been the best he’d ever made. Everyone wanted to know the recipe.
The soup became famous. The pumpkin became a symbol for good luck and every October, everyone in the village made Torsten’s famous pumpkin soup. Now you can too! 31st of October even became a national holiday for a few years until Halloween came in and took over.
Torsten roasted his pumpkins with plenty of garlic and cumin. He would put in a few potatoes, a couple of onions and a red pepper too for sweetness. He used herbs like thyme and rosemary that grew in abundance in his garden.
His secret ingredient, other than the cumin, was a special type of Mexican chili he had experimented on growing from seed in his little green house. It was said to catch the love of your desire and be very addictive; once tasted you would never get enough. Now, I would be irresponsible to share the name of that chili here, for now; just any variety will do. The saying of the chili appeared to be true, for Torsten and Vendela went on to have 8 children. The seeds had been given to him by a sailor friend that later married Vendela’s little sister, but that’s another recipe!
We grow our own pumpkins and squashes now and have used butternut squash and golden nugget for our version of Torsten’s soup. Queensland blue is delicious as well. We serve it with extra chili on top and black onion seeds for extra flavour and crunch. Enjoy!
- Red pepper
- Rosemary and thyme
- Chicken stock