Monday, 7 November 2011

mmm pumpkin!

It's a terrible thing to confess, but I have (just once and years ago) been a pumpkin thief. It all started with a plum tree that my friend and I came across in an alleyway. It was in someone's garden but was dropping all its succulent bounty into the alley for the wasps to enjoy. We couldn't let those beasties have all the fun, so we filled up some bagfuls and made jars of jam and chutney.

So began a scrumping spree across our city: anywhere fruit seemed to be going to waste we were there to salvage it. It seemed like the right thing to do, a bit like the tradition of gleaning: waste not, want not. But we might have taken it a tad too far when we took the pumpkin.
(not this one - this one came from the market last week!)
OK, so the patch was in a large, overgrown college garden with fruit trees that weren't being harvested. Sure, my friend had to crawl under the leaves with a torch because the small patch had run so wild. But still, on reflection, it's likely no-one was really going to let those pumpkins go to waste?

I don't like to think too much about the answer to that question. It doesn't feel good. Let's just say I'd never do it again. Still, we feasted off that huge orange beauty for months (vats of heavenly soup, and tangy, spicy pumpkin chutney).

And my friend devised this wonderful and simple recipe for pumpkin soup, which, in the hope that the gesture might go a little way towards making up for the dreadful deed, I'm going to share with you!
D's delicious pumpkin soup
Ingredients (you can be pretty free & easy with the quantities):
  • fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
  • about 30g of butter (more if the pumpkin is large)
  • garlic (1 clove per small pumpkin)
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • water
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • crème fraîche
Yes, you read right: no onions, no stock! I promise you it works! Heat the butter in a large pan until it sizzles, then add the pumpkin and the garlic. Turn with a wooden spoon for 20 seconds, then turn the heat down low and cover, stirring every few minutes or so to avoid burning or sticking. Mmm, smells good.

When the pumpkin has sweated for about 10-15 minutes and is starting to get quite soft, add water to cover and simmer over a low-medium heat until the pumpkin is thoroughly cooked and soft.

Whizz until smooth with a hand-held blender, then add freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add water until the consistency is as you like it. Re-heat and add a swirl of crème fraîche and some extra black pepper to serve.
This week I actually made a different soup (with the pumpkin I'd bought for Halloween but never carved) because we had some yummy gravy left over from a lamb roast (sorry veggies) and some carrots that needed using up. It turned out very tasty!
I also made some of the delicious cookies featured by Lily of Chouettes on Blue Eyed Night Owl's Autumn Blog Party. It was a little tricky because the recipe required a can of pumpkin, which is not really something we have in the UK. I assumed this would be soft, cooked, pumpkin, so I roasted it up in the oven with a drizzle of groundnut oil, then pureed it... would that be about right, US folks?
Anyway, the cookies (which are somewhere between regular cookies and muffins) are disappearing fast... I recommend giving the recipe a go. I think milk chocolate would work better than the dark chocolate I used, because of that affinity between a milky taste and warm spices... mmm.
N.b. the cookies are all different shapes and sizes because I had to hold my little one in one arm while I spooned the mixture onto the tray - he was having a difficult morning!


Maša said...

what a cool post! and everything looks so delicious! <3

Yadira said...

Those cookies certainly look yummy! It doesn't matter what size or shape they are, they'll end up in the same place right? Thank you for commenting my blog! Have an awesome week!!!

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