Halloween soup

This post is my entry into the 1st Edition Tiendeo cooking competition  for Seasonal Recipes! Find out more about them at: http://www.tiendeo.co.uk/Winchester.

I’m a big kid and will always carve a pumpkin on Halloween night, despite living in a place where we don’t even get trick or treaters. I just love doing it, how often do you have an excuse to carve a face into a vegetable?! Even though I’m not all that good at pumpkin artistry I still attempt it every year…

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This year’s attempt!

My other tradition for Halloween night is to use some of the pumpkin flesh to make a batch of soup, something I also loving doing. Soups are so simple but often so satisfyingly tasty. Here’s a snap shot of this year’s Halloween soup, served with toasted pine nuts, buttered granary bread and a side of garlic stuffed mushrooms…

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This year’s Halloween soup

It was a really tasty soup, if I do say so myself! It was lovely and thick, perfect for the wintery weather we’ve been having. For anyone who’s interested in recreating my Halloween soup, here’s a rough recipe….

Ingredients:

  • Roasted pumpkin and/or Butternut squash (I used both)
  • Roasted pepper (I used an orange one – mainly for the colour, red or yellow would be fine too)
  • Carrots and Parnships steamed in butter
  • Chopped red onion sweated in butter
  • A clove or two of chopped garlic
  • Chicken Stock
  • Low fat/single pouring cream
  • Garlic Salt
  • Mixed herbs
  • Toasted pine nuts for garnish

As you can imagine with soup, you essentially just chop and blend the ingredients in a food processor and add a little cream to taste. I kept the consistency fairly thick so that the pine nuts would float on top nicely.

So that was my Halloween. Hope everyone else had a good one and that the trick or treaters were fewer than expected – leaving you with a plentiful supply of sweets!

xXx

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Season’s Eatings

Firstly I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas with great food, fun, friends and family. I’ve certainly indulged to excessive levels as is traditional at this time of year.  From the festive build up, to the big day itself, to the stocking-fillers and treats under the tree have all provided me with some fabulous foodie moments, with new things to try as well as classic Christmas favourites. Here are my festive foodie highlights so far…

Ladies Christmas Drinks at the Black Bottle

People of Winchester and the surrounding areas, or anyone ever considering a visit to the historic capital of England, I cannot stress to you how much of a must-do the Black Bottle is – it’s quite simply unique and always a very good evening. My friends and I started our evening in the ever popular Black Boy, but it seemed everyone else in Winchester had the same idea! And so with many of  my best girl-friends now being deserters of Winchester (off making their fortunes in London) – I suggested a move to the Black Bottle – having realised most of them would have never experienced it. I have to say it was perfect as always, with its usual relaxed, but special atmosphere and of course some very interesting wines – my friends loved it (as I knew they would) and a splendid evening was had by all.

Team Christmas lunch at The Bush in  Ovington

I’d always heard good things about this pub and so was very pleased to be going there for a Christmas lunch. I chose a totally non-traditional main course (not wanting to spoil my desire for my Dad’s famous roast in the next few days) and opted for a Mature Cheddar and potato pie with cauliflower cream. As a serious cheese lover I was intrigued by this dish and it didn’t disappoint – in fact it was delicious and although it looked huge, I managed to demolish it all.

Perfect Pressies!

On to some of the great foodie gifts I got this year from friends and family…

As anyone who has ever accompanied me to the cinema knows, I absolutely adore popcorn, so I was delighted to receive  a box of Joe & Seph’s Gourmet Popcorn for Christmas. The box contained a whole variety of assorted flavours from Classic Caramel to the more interesting Cheddar, Sweet Topping and Savoury Seasoning (oddly more-ish!) – needless to say I am so looking forward to trying all of the flavours and purchasing a few new ones in the future. I’ve always harped on about how there should be cheesy popcorn and now there is!

I’m a Marmite lover no doubt about it and over the years have been bought and enjoyed quite a few of the foodie Marmite spin-offs, from Champagne Infused Marmite for Valentine’s Day to lovely little mini Marmite cheeses – but I wasn’t expecting to receive two bars of  Very Peculiar Milk Chocolate Infused with Marmite! It claims to be a ‘Perplexing Treat that Bewilders the taste buds’ and I don’t think there could actually be a better choice of words for this latest Marmite inspired invention…it’s very difficult to describe the experience. The chocolate bar has a Marmite aroma from the beginning which adds a strangeness before you even taste the chocolate, which is sweet and creamy with a savoury overtone – I instantly went in for a second mouthful, but then a Marmite after taste kicks in – truly peculiar, but recommended for Marmite fans.

I must also give a big shout out to my sister’s homemade cranberry and orange infused vodka – lovely with lemonade! Of course the top-spot goes to my Dad’s roast turkey on the big day itself – although I did play a major part ensuring the bird was cooked on time…here’s me taking orders from the Christmas cooking bible …

My family’s traditional Boxing Day meal of cold meats, pickles and homemade chips is also a big win – I look forward to that as much as the big Christmas roast itself!

…Well its safe to say after all that, even my elastic waste-banded items of clothing feel tight! The New Year will hopefully feature slightly healthier foodie moments…but I’m not quite there yet – with a special, several course meal booked in for New Year’s Eve and Tom’s Birthday, I feel there will be yet more indulgences to write about and enjoy.