Here is my recipe for lovely Pumpkin Soup. Perfect for Samhain/Halloween celebrations and the spices liven it up a bit to make it extra warming in front of a fire. If you have a few pumpkins from your vegetable patch, why not make a few batches and freeze to enjoy at Christmas too?!
Spicy Pumpkin Soup
1 cooking pumpkin (can also use butternut squash)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder or dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 litre of vegetable stock or boullion
Chop the onions and garlic and sauté them in a large saucepan until beginning to turn clear. In the meantime peel and chop the pumpkin into 2 cm pieces. Add to the pan with the spices, mix with the onion and garlic flavours and soften for about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
Allow to cool, then blend until smooth. Pour into bowls, serving with crispy bacon or toasted pumpkin seeds, and swirled in cream.
We’re Pagans at heart here at Herne Cottage and love to live as nature intended, enjoying the seasonal gifts they bring and aligning ourselves to the natural energy of the Wheel of The Year.
Our favourite celebration is Samhain (pronounced sowen) where we think about what must end, so that life can go on – just as in our garden where old plants make way for new ones next Spring.It is a time of letting go, and also a time to honor and remember our ancestors, both of our family and of the Earth. We remember we belong to them and it is they who gave us life. Death is part of nature’s cycle and we honor this, it must happen before we can return. We also celebrate new life at this time. In nature trees are willing to let go by dropping their leaves for new ones to form, and plants drop their seeds so they can go on long after they have returned to Earth.
So Samhain is a seasonal celebration of endings for new beginnings. We celebrate by lighting fires, burning incense and cooking a feast. Today we are enjoying spicy pumpkin soup, to warm and soothe as the days get shorter and the weather turns colder.
Did you have to get your tomatoes in this year before the frosts hit? Some were still green? Well here is an idea of what to make them into, delicious spicy Green Tomato Chutney. This is the first year we’ve made this at Herne Cottage and should be just perfect in time for Christmas!
Recipe adapted from ‘The WI Book of Jams and Other Preserves’
Green Tomato Chutney
Makes about 3 kg (7 lb)
2kg (4lb) green tomatoes
500g (1 lb) apples
250g (8 oz) raisins
625g (1 1/4 lb) shallots
15g (1/2 oz) root ginger
8 green chillies
2 tsp salt
500g (1 lb) brown sugar
600 ml (1 pint) malt vinegar
Chop the tomatoes, peel and chop the apples and shallots and put into a large preserving pan. Chop or bruise the ginger and put in a muslin bag with the chillies (whole). Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Then simmer for about 3-4 hours until desired consistency is reached (about the same as a curry or stew). Remove the muslin bag and pour into warmed, sterilised jars. Cover and label.
October was the month for the final harvest for us at Herne Cottage. The last veggies left in our beds were tomatoes, beetroot, runner beans and chard. We’re hoping the Kale will keep going throughout winter – one year it even survived through snow! Just perfect for adding to winter broths with chestnuts and leftover Christmas ham. We decided to get all the tomatoes in before the frosts, which meant that some were still green. No problem however as they made a perfect Green Tomato Chutney!
So all that’s left to do is a final tidy of spent plants for winter, then planning next years garden when the new seed catalogues fall on our mat just after Christmas!