Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I realise that this isn't the post about salad which I promised, but I couldn't let Halloween pass me by without trying some seasonal recipes.  So here goes, a very pumpkin-filled post!

For starters, here is my attempt at pumpkin carving, it is meant to be my college's crest being held up by yales (the mythical creatures which traditionally support our crest).  Unfortunately my pumpkin was a little small to reproduce the rather complex design, but nevertheless it was fun to make!

So on to dinner!  I decided to make a simple but delicious pumpkin soup.

For two (large) portions, you will need:
1tbsp olive oil (for frying)
500g pumpkin flesh (I bought 2 small pumpkins which was just about enough)
350ml vegetable stock
70ml double cream
salt and pepper to season

The first thing you need to do is scoop all of the flesh out of the pumpkin (this was difficult, not sure whether it was due to the size and ripeness of the pumpkin or my technique).  Then chop the onion finely (this is particularly important if you don't have a blender).

500g pumkin flesh

First, you need to fry the onion for 5 minutes to soften it, but don't brown it.  Then you need to add the pumpkin flesh and cook for another 8-10 mins until it is soft.  Add the 350ml vegetable stock, season, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins.  The pumpkin should now be very soft.  Add the double cream and bring to the boil.  If you don't have a blender, don't worry, the texture won't be great but the soup will taste very nice as it is.  If you do have a blender then blend the soup to give it a lovely thick texture.  Alternatively you could use a potato masher, not perfect, but it will do.  Season to taste and enjoy!

We enjoyed our soup with some crusty bread.  We also thought that it would have been nice had we caramelised the onions before adding the pumpkin flesh, or with a sweet onion chutney dolloped on top.

We finished off the evening with pumpkin mug cake!
Like the mug cakes I have tried previously this was super-simple and took just minutes to prepare.

Mix 4 tbsp self-raising flour, 2 tbsp caster sugar, 2 tbsp pumpkin puree (mash up 2 tbsp pumpkin flesh), 2 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil and 1/4 tsp of either cinnamon or nutmeg.  Put in the microwave for a minute on high (maybe a little longer if your mug is slightly larger).  This produces a yummy cake, if you really want a strong taste of pumpkin then you'll need to add some more pumpkin flesh but make sure you use a little less flour if you decide to do this.

I hope your Halloween is as full of tasty treats as mine has been!

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