We’re counting down to Halloween, and this week Gregory Stanton of The London Dad and Alice Chetley of Avocado Magazine shows us how to make the most of pumpkins, from making a creative carving, to cooking a delicious soup and roasting the seeds for snacking! Read our interview with them below.
October is my favourite month by far, the winter months are on their way and there are plenty of excuses to wrap up warm and drink hot chocolate in the evenings. The other reason I love October is that it’s the month of Halloween! Even if you don’t love Halloween for what it is (though I’m not sure how you couldn’t love this sweet-infused holiday) it’s also the perfect way to keep Christmas at arm’s length until closer to December (did you know they are already selling Christmas sandwiches in M&S?!)
This year Greg and I were extra excited because now that Etta is just that little bit older, she can actually get involved in the Halloween activities with us! That being said, my little girl is very delicate (and no, she doesn’t get that from me) and scares easily so we had to be a little extra creative with our pumpkin this year.
So this is what we did it in case you want to recreate our Halloween decoration with your little ones and get into the mood for Halloween!
You will need:
- A pumpkin
- Black paint
- A couple of sharp knives (one big and a smaller one for the more fiddly bits)
What to do:
- First, cut the top of your pumpkin off. Make sure the opening that you make will be big enough to get your tea light or candle into.
Next, take all the innards (the stringy mess and seeds) out with your hands and a spoon and transfer into a bowl. You can roast the seeds with cinnamon and sugar for a delicious snack so don’t just discard these.
- The next step is to scoop out your pumpkin’s flesh (even the directions are kinda spooky!) You don’t want to scoop so much that your decoration will be flimsy but you also want to be able to cut the fiddly bits without too much trouble so keep scooping until your pumpkin is about 3cm thick. You can use this flesh to make Greg’s delicious pumpkin soup – make sure you check out his recipe!!
- The next bit is the fun part – drawing on the design. You can either do this yourself (as I did because I’m a secret control freak) or give the pen to your kiddos and see what they come up with!! **TIP** Make sure that there is enough ‘cut-out’ area. Your candle will need plenty of oxygen to stay alight, especially if you plan to close the lid of your pumpkin.
- Ok, this might be the bit of mum and/or dad to take over. Cut out the design carefully with a thin-ish knife.
- Once your design has been cut out you have two options – 1. Stick a candle in your pumpkin, pop his head back on and turn out all of the lights or 2. Decorate him some more! Obviously, we went with option number 2! We painted our design with black paint to give it an extra spooky feel once all of the lights were off.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
3 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
Vegetable stock 500ml
A little creme fraiche
A small block of Gruyere cheese
1 small chilli (or not if your little ones aren’t keen)
1) Get your oven turned on and the dial set to 200 degrees C. Place a baking tray with a little olive oil in there to get nice and toasty.
2) Chop off your pumpkin’s head and remove all of the seeds and stringy mess in the middle. If you have a nice yellow pumpkin then you should be able to use a regular spoon to scoop out its lovely orange flesh.
3) Chop up your garlic cloves and set to one side.
4) Place the pumpkin innards onto the preheated baking tray and then dress with your chopped garlic. Place the baking tray back in the oven and set a timer for 25 mins, it may take double that time to roast and soften your pumpkin but that all depends on how fresh your pumpkin is.
5) Whilst your oven is working some magic on that pumpkin heat your olive oil in a big heavy pan.
6) Chop your onion and some more garlic and soften in the pan. Turn the heat down to wait for your pumpkin to finish roasting.
7) Combine your pumpkin, vegetable stock and softened onions in the pan and try to mash through a little either with a work or potato masher.
8) Now we are nearly there, leave the mixture to cool a little before blitzing with a food processor, if you don’t have one then use your nutribullet as we all have one of those.
9) Season and serve with either Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, a dollop of creme fraiche and some cut fresh chilli to taste.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Turn your oven on to 150 degrees C
- Clean all of the stringy pumpkin mess off of your seeds with a colander and your hands
- Toss your seeds in a bowl with 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon
- Roast for 45 minutes or until golden brown stirring occasionally
- Let them cool completely before eating them.
I hope that you enjoyed eating this wholesome autumnal soup and pumpkin seed as much as you will enjoy carving them!