Cook Pumpkin this October for Halloween
It is that time of year – school half term holiday is upon us and Halloween is imminent… You are probably aware, Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve is on 31 October – with all the seasonal promotions in the supermarkets and shops it is hard to miss it!
But you may not know that most people believe Halloween stems from the ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly Samhain. This was the time of year that at the end of harvest and at the arrival of the “darker” seasons, people believed the boundary between our world and the world of the dead dropped and the dead would walk freely amongst us! Others claim the roots of Halloween are purely from Western Christians and it is a time dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows) and martyrs.
Whatever the history, you can expect a variety of celebrations and activities for Halloween and you will probably see people out and about trick or treating. Whether you’re dressing up for a party yourself, planning to carve a pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern, or if don’t mark the occasion at all – this is the perfect time of year for cooking pumpkin. They are British and seasonal, so widely available and that means cheap too!
Like the idea but not sure what to make? Well read on for my recipe for you to try it yourself at home.
I use leftover pumpkin from neighbours who have had them for carving but would otherwise throw them away. Don’t throw them away – make soup and freeze it into batches!
Pumpkin and ginger soup
I medium pumpkin cut into quarters with membrane/seeds removed – place in oven mark 5, 200c, 400f for approx 45 minutes until cooked and soft.
As an aside – don’t throw the seeds away either – you can spread them on an oiled baking sheet and roast for around 30 minutes to dry them out, then add some seasoning and oil and cook for a further 20 minutes. Great for a healthy snack or to top salads or even to garnish the soup!
While the pumpkin is roasting, put one large onion, one carrot, a celery stick, two cloves of garlic, one tablespoon of minced ginger and olive oil and sauté gently until the veggies are softened. Then add one litre vegetable stock and simmer.
Once the pumpkin is cooked and cooled, chop the cooled pumpkin into cubes and add to the pot – then leave to simmer for about an hour.
Next whizz with a hand blender or equivalent……………if you want to add coconut milk to give a milky texture you can. I am personally happy without it but you might like the sweetness. You could also add some fresh chillies for zing!! This soup is so warming at this time of year and such a lovely colour too.
Have a great 31 October whatever you get up to.