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!

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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.

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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

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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

 

Carrot Soup

DSCI1954Easy to make, sweet tasting and wholeheartedly filling…soup. And this time, it’s Carrot Soup.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

600g carrots, peeled and sliced

1.2l vegetable stock (made with stock cubes)

Salt and pepper

Andrew: Simple and sweet. 

Dawn: Sounds like someone I know! Twinkle in my eye!

Method

  • Put the onion in a medium size saucepan on a medium heat and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the onion has softened in texture and started to become transparent-looking.

Dawn: Remember to add a generous splash of cold water before cooking the onion as an alternative to using fat. 

  • Add the sliced carrots and vegetable stock to the saucepan. Bring the ingredients to the boil and when there, turn down the heat to enable the ingredients to simmer gently until cooked. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

Andrew: You can test to see if the carrots are cooked by piercing one or two with a fork. If the fork goes in and the carrots are soft, they are cooked. If not, allow the carrots to cook a few more minutes longer. 

Dawn: It’s worth noting that the smaller the sliced carrots are, the quicker they will cook so saving on fuel costs as well as speeding up the cooking process, too. 

Andrew: Excellent point, Dawn. 

  • When the carrots are cooked, blend to a thick consistency with an electric hand blender or food processor (whichever you have).
  • Season with salt and pepper to personal preference.

Dawn: And there we have it – another simple soup for a filling meal! 

For more simple and tasty meals, cooking tips and delicious treats then follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and Twitter @Love_Food_UK

Parsnip and Apple Soup

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Launching “Wonderful Winter Warming Soups” with a weekly soup recipe to warm the cockles, taking just pennies to make and packed full of flavour, they are designed to help make your food budgets go further as well as providing an easy and quick meal to make at any time of the week.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 onion, peeled and chopped

600g parsnips, peeled, washed and cut into large chunks

1 large cooking apple or 3 small eating apples, cored and cut into chunks

1.2l vegetable stock (made with a stock cube)

1 tsp of dried thymme

2 whole cloves

Salt and pepper

Method

  • Put the onion in a large saucepan, add a splash of cold water, a pinch of salt and cook on a medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is starting to become transparent in look.
  • Add the parsnips and vegetable stock along with the thyme and cloves. Bring the ingredients up to boiling point and then reduce the heat. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the parsnips have become soft.
  • Remove the cloves and blend with a hand blender to create a thick consistency textured soup. Season to individual preference and serve hot with warm, crusty bread.

Dawn: Hey presto! A Winter warming dish that makes a great starter at a dinner party or a fab lunchtime meal, anytime of the week.
Andrew: And it can be frozen to eat at another time, too. I like the idea of soup for lunch. Easy to transport in a flask or airtight container to work for reheating in a microwave. 
Dawn: Yes, and saves on your pennies, too rather than buying expensive mass manufactured soups. 
Andrew: Which really lack the “WOW!” taste factor. We ought to post some healthy bread recipes to go with our soups Dawn.
Dawn:  We can and a great idea! Over to you Andrew! Our soup is low in fat, healthy and cheap to make! All in all, a real winner! 

For more from the Cooking Duo, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and the Twitter account @Love_Food_UK for daily recipes and updates. Have fun cooking, folks!