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!