Ghoulishly, Wickedly Green Pumpkin Soup

Ah…Halloween evening has arrived and as we await the darkness to unfold it’s legendary, ancestry Celtic secrets…

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble*.

…on this bewitching, witchery evening that takes it’s name from “Hallowed evening” being the day before All Hallows Day (you may know it as All Saints Day), what better way than to stir up spirits (get it? ;O)) than to wave a magic wand over a caldron-shaped pumpkin…abracadabra…behold! Flashes of purpley-seaweed green smoke, sizzle-sounds of burning embers…and phew!

img_1791

I give you: an intoxicating liquor of life-enhancing deliciousness that will have you digging deep for more…more…more!

Pushing my pointy hat to a saucy wee angle, I’ll crack on with spelling :O) out how you can get your hands on bringing your very own green goblin to life.

Ingredients

Per portion

1 medium size pumpkin, washed (I used a ghoulishly green one and you can use any colour)

20g butter

1 onion or 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled, chopped and squashed (Get it ;O))

Fresh grated nutmeg (a wee pinch)

1tsp chopped fresh sage (or dried)

500ml of vegetable stock (I used a gluten free, good quality stock cube)

2tbsp low fat natural yoghurt

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • Heat the oven to 190⁰C, gas mark 5. In a medium size, deep ovenproof dish, add a little oil. Slice the top off the pumpkin scooping out the inner flesh and seeds. Make sure you leave the pumpkin’s outer skin thick enough to act as “walls”. Place it in the ovenproof dish with the pumpkin lid on top of it’s body; place the dish in the centre of the oven.
  • Next, remove the pumpkin seeds from the flesh and chop the flesh. Set the seeds aside in a container and soak with water. I’ll come back to these.
  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan and when melted, add the chopped onion. Fry for 10 minutes until they begin to soften and become translucent. Don’t brown them, though. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the nutmeg, sage and pumpkin flesh. Gently swirl into the onion and garlic mixture making sure everything is coated with the available oil. If not, add a splash of boiling water which will help prevent the ingredients from sticking to the pan.
  • Now add the vegetable stock making sure all the ingredients are covered and bring to the boil. Once at boiling point, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the pumpkin flesh has softened. About 10-15 minutes should suffice before transferring the ingredients to a food processor and blitzing. If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher to combine all the ingredients to a pulp-like consistency.
  • Pour this thick-ish liquid into the pumpkin’s body, season and cover with it’s lid. Allow to bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes or until the pumpkin body is tender and still holds it’s shape.
  • Open the lip and serve with a dollop or two of low fat natural yohgurt mixed into the creamy-like soup with a hunk of tasty bread.

And there, fellow Halloween foodies is a visually stunning ghoulish treat for this bewitching evening.

img_1775

Not forgetting…once you have washed the pumpkin seeds and removed as much of the clinging flesh as possible, pour them out onto a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. These seeds produce a rich, nutty flavoursome tasty snack to nibble or a sprinkling top for a salad.

Does a wee twirl, sprinkles some magic dust and cuddles a black cat before jumping on the ol’broomstick – enjoy yourselves!

Dawn x

img_1796

PS: Licks lips…burps like any good witch does and cackles a cackle…that was yummy!

For more easy-to-make recipes and inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date with Ms Love Food on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find me on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

*Double, double toil and trouble by William Shakespeare

 

Advertisements

How To Butterfly A Chicken

chickenDawn: An alternative way of cooking a whole chicken other than roasting it or placing it in a casserole is to butterfly it.

Andrew: This means cutting it open and spreading it into two halves joined in the centre like a butterfly.

Dawn: If you buy from a butcher, you can have it done there, but as most of us buy from supermarkets these days, here is our simple guide to doing it yourself.

Andrew: Care is needed here. A sharp knife is essential as a blunt one is more likely to cause an accident. Strong kitchen scissors are another useful tool here.

Dawn: Once finished you have a bird that can be cooked in a deep frying pan, on the griddle or even on a barbecue.

Andrew: You can also stuff herbs, garlic, bacon and butter under the skin to provide an incredible flavour boost.

Ingredients

1 Chicken (fresh or frozen, the latter thawed)

Method

  • Remove the chicken from its packaging. Place on a clean chopping board breast up. Dislocate the legs and wings by twisting them.Chicken1
  • Take the largest and sharpest knife you have and cut straight down into the breastbone. You should here a crunch as the bone breaks.20160110_172934
  • Continue to cut down, right to the neck.20160110_173001
  • Turn the bird and cut down to the Parson’s nose.20160110_173035
  • Ease the bird apart with your hands then flatten it as much as you can which will help in the cooking process.20160110_173052
  • If you wish to stuff under the skin, gently work your fingers under the skin to break the membrane between skin and flesh being careful not to tear the skin.20160110_173207
  • Move your hand side to side and use our fingers to reach right under the skin of the legs.20160110_173220

See our other fantastic recipes for stuffing ideas! They include: “How to Make Sage and Onion Stuffing” and “Apple and Dates Stuffing“.  All can be savoured at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and follow us @Love_Food_UK as well as Facebook and Mumsnet

How to Roast a Turkey

The Twelve Recipes of Christmas

One the fifth day of Christmas, my true Love Food gave to me…

…a terrifically simple recipe for roast turkey for the coming New Year’s Eve celebrations!

Dawn: And there’s five rings of truth in that statement…get it, Andrew?

Andrew: Indeedy, I do! So what are we doing this year with the turkey, Dawn?

Dawn: Sitting comfortably?

Andrew: Yep!

Dawn: Then I’ll begin!

DSCI4005

Ingredients

1 turkey (size dependent upon how may people you wish to feed)

1 pack of streaky bacon (unsmoked)

A knob of butter

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • First, remove any packaging that the turkey may be wrapped in.

Dawn: This seems obvious but there’s a reason to highlight this. Do not wash the turkey but instead, turn it upside down on a large piece of baking foil.

  • Preheat the oven gas mark 6/200º C.
  • Next, take some of your prepared stuffing and place in the neck cavity of the turkey being mindful not to cram it too much that there’s no space for it to breath.IMG_3316
  • Once the stuffing is inside the turkey, turn the turkey the other way up so that the breasts side is facing you. Carefully lift the turkey in the foil and place in a large enough baking tin leaving the foil draped either side.
  • Taking the knob of butter, spread this across the breast side of the turkey.
  • On top of the butter, carefully place strips of the bacon making sure the majority of the turkey’s flesh is covered.IMG_3337

Andrew: The butter and bacon ensures the turkey meat doesn’t become dry in the long cooking process.

Dawn: Yes, they do and with any leftover stuffing mix, simply divide the mixture equally and form into balls. Place in the baking tin alongside the turkey.

  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • With the baking foil that’s draped either side of the baking tin, gather the foil to create a small tent-like construction so that air can circulate in the cooking process.
  • Place in oven and allow to cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to gas mark 3/160º C and roast until cooked.

Andrew: Remember to keep basting the turkey throughout the roasting time.

  • Remove the turkey from the oven. Test the juices! Skewer the breast, thighs and lower body. This is ABSOLUTELY essential. The juices should run clear.
  • For each 1lb/500g the turkey weighs, add 15-20 minutes to the cooking time.
  • If the juices are not clear, return the turkey to the oven.
  • For the last 15-20 minutes of roasting, remove the foil to crisp the skin.
  • Leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Dawn: The turkey was introduced into Britain in the 16th century but it was the Victorian period that roast turkey really became so popular as a main Christmas Day course.

Andrew: Yes, that’s true, Dawn and another popular method at the time to retain the meat’s moisture through the cooking process was to use butter and honey, melted and then poured over the turkey creating a honey-roasted turkey for dinner.

Dawn: Delicious! And speaking of delicious, I have a Cook’s Cheat Idea here for pigs in blankets. Buy your favourite sausages and streaky bacon. The day before, simply take each individual sausage and wrap with the streaky bacon. Then simply chop up to the required length and add to the turkey just before you pop it in the oven.

Andrew: Great idea, Dawn!

For more in this series of festively inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find us on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!