Pumpkin Carving

My absolute favourite part of Halloween! The orangy/yellow light that flickers through the pumpkin is magical and I adore seeing them lit up in front of houses and in windows.

Fresh pumpkin
Sharp knife
Good black pen
Metal spoon
  • Pick a good pumpkin! Consider where you are placing it – if in a window then maybe smaller is better!
  • With the pen, draw the shape you will cut out on top of the pumpkin – this will act as your lid. With the sharp knife, cut out this shape –  grown ups should probably do the carving bit….
  • With the metal spoon, scoop out all the flesh and seeds – keep these in a bowl for use in other recipes! This is a great one for little fingers! Ensure you leave a few centimetres of “wall” inside the pumpkin.
  • With the pen, draw your design on the “face” of the pumpkin! Scary? Sweet? You can either let your children use their imagination or buy a stencil.
  • Once satisfied with the drawing, get the knife out and carve the shape.
  • When you are finished, clean any remaining pen markings off with a bit of household spirit.
  • Place a tea light in the bottom, replace lid and wait for darkness so you can really show off your hard work!
  • On Halloween night only light your pumpkin if you are happy for trick or treaters to come and knock on your door…the lit pumpkin is often used to signal “welcome”…

Pumpkin Soup

Mild and delicate, yet filling and soul warming! Really easy to make and great for those cold, dark evenings! If hosting a meal it is beautiful presenting the soup in the carved out pumpkin!

Will serve a family of 4/5 depending on appetite!

800g pumpkin (I used the meat of 2 small pumpkins)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions
2 carrots
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs of thyme
900ml chicken stock (vegetable also fine)
Salt and Pepper to taste
100ml cream (optional)
  • Heat olive oil in a big pot
  • Roughly chop carrots, onion and garlic and saute briefly
  • Carve out your pumpkin and roughly chop the flesh (save seeds and pumpkin – see other recipes!)
  • Add the pumpkin flesh to the pot
  • Prepare your broth by pouring boiling water onto stock cubes (usually 450ml per cube) and add to the pot
  • Add the bay leaf and thyme (only leaves not the sticks)
  • Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

I like to serve this soup clear with chunks of pumpking and carrot. If you prefer it with cream, add this right before serving and puree the soup. It is pretty to drizzle some cream into the bowl and scatter with pumpkin seeds.

Serve with a crunchy piece of baguette with cheese quickly heated under the grill.

Sweet Pumpkin Loaf

Moist and absolutely gorgeous! This recipe can be used to make a loaf as above, a round cake (just use different shaped tin) or muffins (use cup cake cases) Really lovely as an afternoon treat – or an anytime treat!! Without the icing it is also a potential breakfast bite or midmorning snack. Just save and use the pumpkin flesh you dug out when you were carving pumpkins – no waste!

400g pumpkin (I carved and used the meat of 1 medium-sized pumpkin)
300g flour
300g sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp ground cardamom (if you can find!)
100ml vegetable oil
100ml water
2 eggs
Handful of pecans (can be left out)
  • Pre heat oven to 190C
  • Carve out your pumpkin and finely chop all meat (save seeds and pumpkin – see other  recipes!)
  • Combine the dry ingredients(except the sugar) together in a bowl
  • Beat sugar and oil in a separate bowl – it will seem dry which is fine
  • Add eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly mixed
  • Add the chopped pumpkin and mix well
  • Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the water
  • Pour into greased tin or loaf or spoon into cup cake cases

If making loaf as depicted above – bake for 55-60 minutes

If making a round cake (it will not be as tall) – bake for 40-45 minutes

If making cup cakes – bake for 15-20 minutes

As with any baking, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out dry and clean to ensure recipe is ready!

Let cool completely on a wire rack and then decorate! I have used icing sugar combined with a bit of red and yellow food colouring and water above!

 

Half Term and Halloween

Autumn is upon us and as the days become colder and darker, half term and Halloween draw closer! These three, Half Term, Halloween and Autumn highlight the end of summer and the welcoming of the dark winter months which bring with them candles and coziness. Especially this next week carries with it the opportunity of exciting things to get yourself busy with since the children will be off school and days therefore less rushed and activity filled.

Halloween – does it mean anything to you or do you merely see it as a commercial nightmare? Let’s explore a bit shall we….

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