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Spicy pumpkin soup, prawns and lemongrass

This sweet soup can be served in small individual pumpkins for a sophisticated presentation. The soup will be then turned into a lovely surprise for your guests. You can also use crab meat instead of prawns or use them both for a pumpkin seafood soup.

Serves 2.

1 teaspoon white peppercorn 1 coriander root 1 garlic clove 1 teaspoon shrimp paste

500 ml chicken stock 200 g pumpkin, peeled and finely diced 10 g lemongrass, sliced 20 g shallots, sliced

1 tablespoon dry shrimps 1 tablespoon roasted chilli paste 2 tablespoons fish sauce 50 g coconut cream

150 g prawns, peeled, deveined 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 handful Thai sweet basil leaves (reserve a few for garnish) 1 handful of lime basil leaves 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Pound the peppercorns, coriander root, garlic clove and shrimp paste until smooth. Pour the oil into a saucepan. Stir-fry briefly garlic-coriander paste, pumpkin, lemongrass, shallots and dry shrimps, over medium heat. Pour the stock into the pan. Add roasted chili paste and fish sauce. Cook over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Then transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve then bring to the boil and add prawns, lime juice and coconut cream. Cook for 1 minute then taste to adjust the seasoning.

Stir in the basil, remove from the heat and serve.

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