Halloween Pumpkin Soup

Here’s something we don’t have in our Nest – a television. Pardonnez-moi, I hear you say? Yes, you heard me correctly – no television. The concept of coming home from work and turning on the TV is totally alien to me. In order to get my Ugly Betty/Prison Break/90210/Gossip Girl/The Wire fix, we have a PC in the living room, hooked up to a lovely flat screen, which we use to watch DVDs.

What this means is that we never, ever, ever get to see any adverts. The thought of having a show interrupted every ten minutes by a string of pointless adverts is bizarre. Whenever we go round to the house of a TV-owning friend or relative (ie pretty everyone else in the UK apart from us), I usually end up giggling away at what I perceive as being deeply hilarious adverts:

“Do you actually think we believe that [insert name of famous model here] uses Rimmel make-up?” or “look, they’re advertising ham! Do they think we don’t know what ham is? Are they worried that we might forget about the concept of ham if they don’t keep bringing it to our attention?”, and so on.

What this also means is that I’m deeply susceptible to retro forms of advertising, like leaflets through the door. A couple of years ago the letterbox rattled, Enrique started barking helpfully to alert me to the presence of today’s mail, and alongside the usual bank statements and threatening letters from the TV licensing agency (who will not believe that we don’t have a television) I found a leaflet from a company called Abel and Cole:

Abel and Cole were offering to deliver a box of mixed organic fruit and vegetables to my door every week for a very reasonable price. Well that sounds rather splendid, I said to the dogs, and promptly set up a weekly delivery. I now buy pretty much all our food from Abel and Cole – everything from croissants, to lamp steaks, to honey and mustard salad dressing. Yum.

Anyway, being Halloween and all, I naturally ordered a pumpkin along with my regular order. It came with an exhortation from Jamie, one of the many lovely Abel and Cole team members, to use the pumpkin to make pumpkin soup using the enclosed recipe. Pumpkin’s one of those words that just gets weirder the more you read it right?

All righty then, I said to the dogs, pumpkin soup it is. What can I say, I’m an easy-going kind of gal. Here is the recipe, and the results.

First of all, cut the top off your pumpkin, pull out the seeds and fibres, and hollow out the flesh. The pictures below do not really do justice to the amount of sweating and muttering under the breath that is required to hollow out a pumpkin. I used about seven spoons, three forks, and four different Global knives before the pumpkin rolled over and gave in:

Next up, chop an onion, and fry gently in butter for 15 minutes. Tip in the pumpkin flesh (not the seeds or fibres), and add some cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla:

Leave to sweat for 30-40 minutes, and then pour in 750-900ml of chicken stock. Puree the soup using a blender, and then pour in some sherry. We didn’t have any sherry, so I sloshed in some prosecco instead, which is what I happened to be drinking at the time, and seemed to work pretty well as an alternative.

The soup turned out to be very tasty – it had a sweet, autumnal, spicy taste. I also had fun carving the pumpkin shell while I waited for the soup to cook. Usually I just toss the pumpkin flesh away when I make a lantern every Halloween, so it was nice to make use of the whole thing for once:

We also had a midnight Halloween picnic – I might post some pictures later.

So how about you guys? Anyone else managing to get through life just fine without a television? Or get deliveries from Abel and Cole? Or made pumpkin soup this weekend? Or have any cool pictures of pumpkin lanterns that you’d like to share? Whatever you did, I hope you had a happy Halloween!