We had our first negative 40 degree day this week – that was negative 40 and no wind! Ideal conditions for one of my favourite Antarctic science tricks – making boiling water disappear!!
How? Well if you throw a cup of boiling water into the air at that temperature it [almost] instantly evaporates creating a beautiful mist of ice and supercooled water droplets?! This is definitely something I wasn't told about in school!
The sun doesn't rise above the horizon anymore which means we'll have to start wearing our head torches when we go outside. There is still some twilight at lunchtime which is similar to what you'll see just before sunrise – keep an eye on the Antarctica New Zealand webcams on a clear day you'll be able to watch the colours change and might even see the moon!!
As well as the chef I'm also Fire Chief of our seven-strong Red Fire Crew. It's our turn to be on duty this week so I haven't been outside much as normal but I have been making some hearty kiwi tucker for everyone! One of the favourites is my pumpkin soup – its kiwiana with my secret ingredient, well 'not-so-secret' as I'm going to share my recipe with you! We don't have fresh pumpkins down here so I use frozen pumpkin pieces instead – both work just as well.
To offset the darker days I try to make sure the food we have is really colourful and fill the dining hall with the smell of fresh baking and hearty cooking. On the menu tonight is a choice of wild rice salad, coleslaw, apple and celery salad, grated carrot, beetroot, a selection of chicken and beef burgers, chips and pumpkin bread rolls. Followed by a sweet treat of chocolate coffee cheesecake and berry sauce. Yummy!
Bobbie's Antarctic Pumpkin Soup – serves 4
1 onion finely diced
6 cloves of garlic finely diced
1 pumpkin skinned and roughly cut
6 cups of good vegetable stock
½ cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
Sautee the onion and garlic in a saucepan in a little oil until soft (not brown). Add stock and the pumpkin and simmer until tender. Take off the heat and blitz with a hand blender to your preferred consistency. Stir in the coconut cream and peanut butter. Devour with freshly baked Antarctic bread!