Friday, October 24, 2008

Playing the Part

This recipe for Pumpkin Soup comes from an American so is as authentic as you can get, but at least the 'cups' have been converted to the 'imps and mets'.
Pumpkin Soup: serves 4 - 6
1 small knob butter
2 tblsp finely chopped onion
12 fl.oz (350g) cooked pumpkin, thoroughly drained
1 pint (575ml) chicken stock
1 pint (575) milk
pinch ground cloves
half tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 - 3 drops Tabasco
pinch salt
4 tblsp double cream
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the onions and cook gently for five or so minutes until soft and transparent. Stir in the pumpkin, stock, milk, cloves, sugar, lemon juice and Tabasco. Stir thoroughly to mix everything together. Bring to a boil, add the salt then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring from time to time, for 15 minutes. Puree the soup by forcing it through a food mill or coarse sieve, or pulsing in a food processor, using a blender would result in the soup being too bland and smooth. Return to the pan and stir in the cream. Heat through until just but now quite boiling. Check the seasoning, and serve hot with croutons. This can also be served chilled, if so, omit the croutons.and garnish each dish with a slice of peeled and chilled orange.

For good measure am including a further pumpkin recipe - this time for an oven baked dish. Most cooks would have the rest of the ingredients to hand.
Pumpkin Bake: serves 4
1 lb (450g) pumpkin, rind removed and chopped
4 oz (100g) butter or margarine
4 oz (100g) onions, chopped
6 oz (100g) carrots, chopped
4 oz (100g) celery, chopped
6 oz (175g) breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
15 fl.oz (450ml) natural yogurt
4 oz (100g) grated Gruyere cheese
1 tblsp sesame or olive oil
pinch salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tbslp chopped chives
2 oz (50g) sesame seeds, toasted
Steam the pumpkin until tender, then drain. Make the stuffing by melting the butter in a pan and fry the onions, carrots and celery until softened. Stir in the breadcrumbs and herbs and season to taste. Put half the pumpkin into a greased ovenproof dish, cover with the stuffing mixture and top with the remaining pumpkin. Put the yogurt, cheese and oil in a small pan over low heat and cook until the cheese has melted then add a little salt. Have the beaten egg in a bowl and stir in a little of the cheese sauce, then stir the egg mixture back into the pan of the remaining sauce and add the chives. Mix well, then pour over the pumpkin and sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for half an hour. Serve hot.

If Bonfire night is dry but cold, this drink may prove welcoming.
Mulled Cider: serves 4
2 pints (1.2 litres) medium dry cider
2 oz (50g) dark muscovado sugar
pinch salt
4 whole cloves
2 " (5cm) piece of cinnamon stick
4 whole allspice
strips of orange peel
Put the cider, sugar and salt into a saucepan. Tie the spices loosely in a piece of muslin and add to the pan. Bring gently to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and serve the drink hot in mugs.