Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween and pumpkin soup

October 31st. Halloween! Witches and ghosts and goblins and evil spirits stalk the night...even if it is unseasonably mild and most of them wish they'd left their cloaks and pointed hats at home. The pumpkin is carved and sat facing out of the bay window, its mad grin ready to scare any small children brave enough to come near! From inside all we can smell is the gentle waft of singed pumpkin as the candle slowly cooks the top of his head.

Pumpkin in our house also means delicious pumpkin soup. If you've never made this before it is very simple and tastes great. First of all, you need a pumpkin. Growing them takes up a fair bit of room but the supermarkets have them by the barrel. Don't worry that they call them 'carving pumpkins' or some such rot. It will still taste just fine. Cut a lid into the pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds and stringy bits. Most recipes will then tell you to carve out the flesh from inside. If anyone knows how to do this easily then answers on a postcard please. The inside of a pumpkin is concave. My knives are not! The easiest way I've found it just to scrape it out with a spoon. Might not be as big chunks but you're going to boil it down into mush anyway. Finely dice a couple of onions and chuch them in a pan with half a packet of butter and soften for 10-15 mins. Throw in the pumpkin flesh and cook for another 20 minutes. Then pour in about 3 pints of chicken stock and add some grated nutmeg, a cinammon stick and salt and pepper. And simmer until it's all very soft. Let it cool and whizz it up with a stick blender, remembering of course to remove the cinnamon stick (which I forgot to do and had to fish the remnants out). And that's it.

Happy Halloween! Now I must go and check that bumping noise in the cellar............

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