Friday, 29 October 2010

spooky soup

unless you've been living under a stone... blah blah blah... Halloween... blah blah blah...

... we seem to look very sourly at Halloween over here in the UK... as though we tagged on to an American tradition and it went from pagan ritual to commercial enterprise in less time than it takes to cut two holes in a sheet... pretty much like Christmas really... anyone remember who Father Christmas is...? he's that bloke what got eaten by Santa Claus...

... anyway, I'm drifting again but my point is that the 31st October should be better respected in the UK and celebrated properly like they do in the US... and it really does have a special place in my heart for too many reasons to go into here and now... however, I always loved the dressing up and the pumpkin carving and the 'trick or treating'... it's festive and foreboding at the same time... it celebrates our darker sides and allows us to be creative and scary... and really is the only fun thing between Easter and Christmas... plus, we get to use the much maligned, often neglected, rarely touched outside this week.... pumpkin!

here's a favourite of mine which celebrates this vegetable twice over... once for taste and again for presentation...

Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Soup

The roasting of the pumpkin really brings out its deeper, nuttier notes and helped along by the roasted garlic it really brings it to life.  Pumpkin soup is notorious for its velvety texture, so I would recommend foregoing the hand-blender for the desk-top blender (surely that's not what it's called... but you know what I mean) every time.

1kg peeled and de-seeded pumpkin, cut into chunks
5 medium cloves garlic - unpeeled
1 medium onion - finely chopped
1 medium leek - finely chopped
1 medium carrot - finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pints stock

- place the chunks of pumpkin onto a baking tray, with the garlic, smother with olive oil and bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes... don't overcook the garlic, or it will ruin the taste of the finished soup... so after 20 minutes take the garlic out and set aside... continue to roast the pumpkin till it's tender and a bit roasty around the edges.

- meanwhile, in a heavy pan, melt some butter and oil and saute the onions, add the cumin, then leek and carrot. (you don't have to add the leek and carrot, I just like the added texture they bring... plus I had them in the fridge and they needed a home.)

- once the onion is soft add the pumpkin and garlic and 2 pints of good veg stock.

- allow it to simmer for 20 minutes, then blend to smooth velvety perfection.

As you can see I have served it into hollowed out, mini pumpkins I picked up at Whole Foods in Kensington whilst I was down in London this week.  I had to re-mortgage the house to pay for them but you must agree they look so pretty and kind of complete the story...

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. L.O.V.E. the presentation ... and the soup sounds pretty darned good too! Happy Halloween ..... boo!

  2. Love how you've presented it in the pumpkin and cute zigzag lid cutting!

  3. Halloween is H-U-G-E in the US! I have friends and neighbors who put lighted pumpkins (jack-o-lanterns) in all their windows! Some people have turned their front yards into a cemetery, which is pretty cool, because you can temporarily bury people you dislike! LOL!!! It may be passing Christmas with the decorations! With all that said - your "Halloween" soup looks delicious! I'm looking forward to making it!

  4. Looks lovely. Reminds me of a wonderful soup at Launceston Place last yr, though your presentation might beat theirs! A better use than trying pumpkin pie (not worth the effort, I think).

  5. Your soup sounds gorgeous. It was worth using those little pumpkins to serve it. They look so good. I love all the oragy stuff at this time of the year. So cheerful. One of our best imports from the States.

  6. Oh that sounds just the ticket for this weekend!! Love the presentation too ;0)

  7. yum yum yum!!! totally great!!! as a canadian here in the uk i am loving that halloween is getting bigger and bigger every year!!! yum yum !

  8. thanks all for your kind words, the soup was so velvety and smooth and even better... there is some left for lunch today!

  9. What a pretty picture! Happy Halloween!x

  10. )))))))))))))) :) It is wonderful!

  11. I love the presentation and the soup. Perfect for Halloween. I am working on a very similar post at the moment.
    Happy Halloween!

  12. Hi there,

    I’m an enthusiastic and down to earth home cook blogging about simple, delicious home food and food related news and events in my area.

    It’s part of my journalism course so I’m just getting started and I’ve been looking at other similar blogs for inspiration. Yours is great, especially the way you get your ideas from a mixture of recipes and what you feel like! It's good that you do topical posts and excellent pictures, will be trying to follow in your footsteps!

    I’d love to have your comments on my blog, and perhaps be added to your blogroll and I’ll keep up to date with your blog too!


    All the best,


  13. Hannah... I think you should perhaps seriously think about why you're doing this in the first place. Most of us in the food blog world (particularly in my blog community) are doing it for their love of food but it's important to find your own 'voice' within this community and I don't think this can be taught, it has to come from a passion for what you're writing about.

    I recently met Simon Majumdar, a blog hero of mine who writes Dos Hermanos, and he stressed to me that I should be doing this for the love and passion for food and cooking. even if this means you're up till 2am writing and reading posts.. and this is exactly how I feel.

    so... Your blog is a great start, with some nice recipes and honest photography... personally for me, it's not emotional enough and too corporate looking, with perhaps too much focus on the local food news, whereas i'd prefer to get to the stuff you've cooked first and have the local stuff as an aside or a separate link. This is just a personal preference as I like to read about people, their experiences and their choice of food... if there's more info about their locale then I can choose to read it.

    Also, as far as the blog roll goes... this is also extremely personal... I don't think anyone asks to be put on someone else's, this should be something you 'earn' for being so fabulous that people WANT to recommend you to their hard earned followers! I know that everyone i've chosen to show on my blog roll are sites that I love and have a deep fondness for and I add to this very carefully over the months as and when i find a site I really love.... and there are a few I should really put up there way before anyone new!

    So, hope i've been hopeful and you don't think i'm a twat for being honest... remember it should be all about the love and passion for food.

  14. I think when you serve soup in a pumpkin, squash, or a bread bowl it makes it so much more special. When you talked about Whole Foods I had to chuckle. Most people call it Whole Paycheck. There are certain things I love to get there however. French green lentils,canned San Marzano tomatoes, and italian sausages. Your recipe sounds yummy.

  15. Very beautiful soup. It is very a pity, that I do not eat a pumpkin.

    At you tomorrow Halloween, and at us Reforms Day – a religious holiday.

  16. Love pumpkin soup though when we were young it was a poor old swede which was carved out!
    Agree with your previous comments re blogging it's a very personal thing.

  17. Wonderful pumpkin soup - I love it. And yours looks especially good and most appropriate for Halloween.


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