Hopefully you all survived last night's relentless knocking on the door and subsequent sugar rush that comes with trick or treating. One thing that should definitely survive Hallow's Eve is the flesh of the several thousand pumpkins that will have been carved out. As I said in a previous post, don't do the bad thing and commit the flesh to the bin liner. Keep it, use it in a multitude of dishes and celebrate it properly.
Is eating pumpkin every other day too much of a good thing? I suppose like at Christmas with turkey, we could all potentially get sick of too much pumpkin. I beg to differ, especially with the versatile pumpkin that can be used in so many different meals, sweet and savoury. It is such a delicious vegetable, and although it is still early days, I look forward to working my way through several treats over the next month or so, utilising this seasonal orange delight.
In my job teaching people how easy it is to cook simple, healthy meals, I always ask the audience why they turn to convenience food rather than make their own. The answer is always the same - that cooking is too difficult. I then proceed to attempt to break that pre-conception by cooking a series of easy 'anybody can do this' meals. And generally it works.
If anybody reading this is still under the illusion that making something like a soup is a difficult process, here is the recipe to shatter it. This soup entails sticking everything onto a baking tray, roasting it for half an hour in a hot oven, tipping it into a blender with a little stock or water then puréeing it into a soup. Can anybody tell me that this is difficult? If you think so, please give it a go. Easy Peasy Pumpkin and Pie.
PS I urge you all to check out a fine food writer called William Leigh, who is currently knocking out some fantastic seasonal food and doing utterly wonderful things with a pumpkin. You can read more either at his Blog or at the Big Barn.
Roast Pumpkin, Chick Pea and Garlic Soup with Golden Salt and Pepper Pumpkin Seeds
1 small to medium pumpkin, cut into large chunks and seeds removed and kept aside
1 whole onion, peeled
1 bulb of garlic, broken and cloves left whole
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tin of chick peas
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
750ml hot water or vegetable stock
1 - Pre-heat your oven to GM6, 200 degrees C.
2 - Place all of the vegetables of a baking tray. Scatter with the mixed spice, a little salt and pepper and olive oil and mix thoroughly. Roast on a high shelf for 30-40 minutes until golden.
3 - In the meantime, scatter the seeds onto another baking tray with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss together then place on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook until golden.
4 - When the vegetables have cooked, cut the pumpkin skin off and place the flesh into a blender along with the onion and the garlic cloves squeezed. Pour in the stock and chick peas then blitz to a fine purée. Taste for seasoning.
5 - Pour into bowls and serve with a scattering of delicious nutty golden pumpkin seeds.