There are only 3 shopping days left until Hallowe’en, so why not hot foot it down to your nearest pumpkinorium, grab yourself the largest Cucurbita pepo you can carry and drag it back to the kitchen table, there to prepare it not once, not twice, but thrice-wise as prescribed below – ensouped, seedled and carved.
Pumpkin Soup & Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
First way – Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes
Serves: 2 people for a substantial lunch
Skill level: Easy
- 1 large pumpkin
- 1 medium onion – roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove – finely chopped
- 1 apple – peeled and roughly chopped
- vegetable stock – 500ml
- olive oil – slug
- nutmeg – a grating
- double cream – 100ml
- s & p
Preheat your oven to 220°C/gas mark 7
Disembowel your pumpkin by cutting off the top and scooping out the seeds … set the seeds aside for phase II.
Using a sharp edged spoon scrape out as much flesh as you can/dare … leaving the wall of pumpkin about 10mm thick … set the pumpkin aside for phase III.
Put the pumpkin scrapings, chopped onion, apple and garlic on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix everything together.
Place in the oven and roast for between 30 and 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and beginning to colour.
Tip into a food processor and mix to an orange pulp.
Add the vegetable stock and process again.
Pour into a saucepan add the cream and bring up to a simmer.
Grate in some nutmeg, taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with a good bread of your choice.
Second way – Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: about 40 minutes
Makes: a small bowlful
Skill level: Easy
- seeds from a large pumpkin
- sweet smoked paprika
- sea salt
- olive oil
Turn your oven down to 140°C / Gas mark 1
Wash the pumpkin seeds (removing any stringy bits) and dry in a (clean) tea towel.
Place in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of sweet smoked paprika. Drizzle over a little olive oil and mix everything together.
Spread out evenly on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and bake for about 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven, taste and add a little more salt if necessary … allow to cool.
Eat while you’re carving your pumpkin.
Third way – Carved
Preparation time: 5 minutes to 5 hours depending on your creative ambition.
Cooking time: none
Makes: 1 scary Hallowe’en pumpkin
Skill level: Easy–difficult depending on your artistic ability and knife-wielding prowess.
- 1 large pumpkin
- night light
Grab your hollowed out pumpkin and look around for inspiration. I happened upon the fridge and found this charming if slightly sinister drawing by Yumblog Junior.
‘Clown baby caught in a mantrap’ (mixed media) by Yumblog Junior, aged 3.
Sketch your idea onto the pumpkin and surgically hack away with a sharp knife until A – you’re bored, B – you’ve lost too much blood, or C – you’re pleased with the results.
Ignite and install a night-light or two, pop on the lid and place in the window for the enjoyment of the whole neighbourhood.
Verdict: The soup was thick, sweet, creamy, unusual in a good way and tasty. The seeds were nicely spiced and crunchy, if a little too fibrous at the end. The pumpkin was an accurate representation of our child’s nightmarish visions.
Drink: Something mulled … possibly a cider.
Entertainment: Listening to selected gems from The Poke’s 21 Seriously Strange Tripadvisor Reviews on Stuart Maconie.