Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recipe: Halloween Pumpkin and Vampire Chilli Soup

Yes, spooky Halloween is upon us! Seems to me that us Brits make much more of a bigger deal of Halloween now than when I was little- with all this "trick or treat" stuff. Suppose it's just one big part of the Americanisation of the UK, we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving next- you watch!! Any way, as well as girls dressing up as "slutty devils" and slutty zombies" (and, well, "slutty" anything really), carving faces into pumpkins are a tradition of "Hallows Eve". It is believed that this tradition started off in Ireland, to represent naughty goblins that came out and caused mischief on Halloween. The name "Jack-o-lantern" originates from another term for "will-o-the-wisp", which were mischievous floating glowing spirits that floated around the bogs and marshes of Scotland. If you can't find a Halloween pumpkin (or can't be bothered to prepare it!) use butternut squash instead, it has a very similar flavour and is easier to peel.

Halloween Pumpkin and Vampire Chilli Soup (serves 5)
1 large Halloween pumpkin, seeded, peeled and diced (you should get about 1kg of prepared pumpkin. If you don’t have enough, top it up to 1kg with carrots!)
50g butter
2 white onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
2 vampire chillies (or normal red chillies), seeded and diced
1.1 litre chicken stock
2 bay leaves
½ tsp mixed herbs
200ml skimmed milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Chilli flakes for garnish (if desired)

1. Fry the onion, garlic and chillies in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, stock, bay leaves and mixed herbs, and cook on a medium heat, covered, for about 1 hour- or until the pumpkin is soft.
2. Add the milk, blend, season to taste, and serve piping hot- with some sprinkled chilli flakes for garnish if you like it out!

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