A pumpkin is for life not just for Halloween

Pumpkin 30.10.09

Food

I have been really distressed to see signs in most of the supermarkets advertising “Carving Pumpkins for Halloween”.  Apparently, around 90% of the pumpkins sold in the UK never see a knife and fork or a knob of butter.  This profligate waste of food makes me rage, so don’t do it.  Carve grotesque and wonderful pumpkin lanterns by all means, but eat the fruit as well.  What’s more, I can guide you through a three-course pumpkin dinner!  Scoop out all the flesh and chop  roughly for all of these.

May I be permitted to say a few words about Halloween?  This is the old festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-in by the way); the time when the spirit world is closest to the living world, when the nights are dark and we have time to sit and contemplate, to think about our lives.  It is also a time to feast and frolic and have a good ghost story by the fire.  May I recommend that you have a look at the story on Hooting Yard which gives advice on what to do When Ghouls Attack. 

I state now, in a firm steady voice, that I heartily disapprove of Trick or Treating.  Sending children out in the dark knocking on people’s doors and demanding money or food with menaces, or worse, some feeble child standing silently in a rubbish costume with their sticky hand out, is not entertaining and should be discouraged.  It’s not an English tradition, it’s just another example of English children aping the customs of American children without the slightest idea why they’re doing it.   Stay indoors, dress up, play games and tricks together, scare the crap out of them with a good ghost story and share a feast.  And make sure you do it by candlelight.

Pumpkin Soup

Utensils:
1 x large saucepan
1 x stick blender
1 x grater

Ingredients:
2 lb pumpkin.
2 oz of butter
1 medium onion – finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped (to discourage vampyres)
1 pint of chicken stock.
½ tsp turmeric
1 tspn parsley
¼ pint double cream
1 tablespoon of grated cheese.

Method:
Melt the butter in the pan and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until translucent.
Add the pumpkin and garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes
Add the parsley and turmeric and toss around enthusiastically
Add the chicken stock
Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes until the pumpkin is soft
Puree with the blender
Add the cream
Serve sprinkled with grated cheese

Pumpkin Risotto

Do exactly what you did for Italian Risotto (click on this link to previous blog) except use pumpkin instead of chicken.

Norfolk Million Pie

This pie is an old Norfolk recipe which was taken to America by the Pilgrim Fathers.  ‘Million’ is the word for any member of the squash family.

Utensils:
1 x 10″ flan dish
1 x medium saucepan
1 x stick blender
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x rolling pin
1 x jar of baking beans
greaseproof paper

Ingredients:
1 packet of shortcrust pastry
1 lb / 480g pumpkin
6oz  / 180g dark brown sugar
3 eggs – beaten
2oz / 60g raisins
1 good pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of apricot jam
Plain flour for rolling out

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200 / 400 / 6
Grease and flour the flan dish, roll out the pastry and line the dish
But out a circle of greaseproof paper to fit the dish and place on top of the pastry
Cover the greaseproof paper with baking beans and bake for about 15 minutes
Remove the beans and greaseproof paper and leave to cool
Turn the oven down to 180 / 350 / 4
Put the pumpkin into the saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water.
Bring to the boil then simmer gently with the lid on until the pumpkin is really soft.
Transfer to a bowl, draining off any excess water and puree with the stick blender
Add the eggs, sugar, raisins and nutmeg and mix together well.  It will be quite runny.
Spread the apricot jam onto the cooked pastry case then pour on the pumpkin mixture.
Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into strips to make a lattice on the top.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, it may take longer, but the top should be a rich brown and the pastry golden.
Serve with cream

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and should not be wasted either.  Wash all the stringy flesh off them and put in a bowl.  Warm a tablespoon of honey in a bowl and swish the seeds round in it.  Lay them out on a baking tray and bake on a low heat 140 / 275 / 1 for about an hour.  They should have browned a little.  Leave them to cool. They make great snacks or can be used  in lots of ways eg bread, meusli or flapjacks.

Halloween Cake 31.10.09

A Halloween Cake I made for a party

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8 Comments

Filed under Children, Ethics, Family and Friends, Food, Indoor Activities, Recipes, Seasonal

8 responses to “A pumpkin is for life not just for Halloween

  1. Morag

    Hear hear! I too cannot abide licensed thuggery at Halloween.

    I feel very ashamed that so much of my pumpkin carving is currently in the bin already. I almost feel I should dig it back out again, but I’m afraid that would be quite a lot of work. I will use your recipes next year!

    • wartimehousewife

      Send me a picture of your creations and I’ll put it on the blog. This is an invitation to all of you. We’ll have a Pumpkin Gallery!

  2. What a great post. Living in the USA the carving of pumkins is almost mandatory and I am guilty of having a rather large exhibit, with a spider carved into it, on the rail of my deck right now. I must admit I did not eat the flesh…but I did (Painstakingly), remove the seeds, roasted them in olive oil and sprinkled them with garlic salt…am I forgiven?
    Thank you, great recipes…I love all things pumpkin (take a peek at my blog.)

  3. I liked this post! I absolutely, completely and totally agree with you that food should not be wasted and it’s a sad state of things when good vegetables are binned while we cry “food shortages… recession!!!”
    While i didn’t carve a pumpkin (not Halloween subscribers despite needing to dress my cat up for the downstairs children’s halloween party costume competition… he won by the way) I’m thinking pumpkinny happy thoughts after that post and am off to cook dinner!
    Thank you for being so open with your views, it’s great to read your thoughts, have a lovely day XXX

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Crochet with Raymond and thank you for your comments. I’m so glad your cat won the fancy dress!! Hope you keep reading.

  4. Love this post. I just bought a second pumpkin yesterday because I never got round to making pumpkin pie with the first one!
    We have only been out once on Halloween. Two years ago the girls dressed up and ‘Treat and Treated’ a few pre-arranged houses so they could show off their costumes. We took along cupcakes with spiderweb icing to exchange for the sweets the visited people felt obliged to give us. I don’t want to make a habit of it, though.

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Planetcoops. I have relented regarding Halloween because The Boys love dressing up and running around in the dark with lots of other children. I always make sure that they have a really good trick to show people – like cards or magic – and that they act courteously. I like the idea of giving cakes back though, that has a really nice feel to it. I do hope you keep reading Wartime Housewife and I wish you luck with your own blog.

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