Hearty Pumpkin Soup

Here’s a simple recipe to use up some of your pumpkin glut. This will make enough for four large portions.

Ingredients:
– 900g of roughly chopped pumpkin
– one large red onion
– one parsnip
– one carrot
– one large potato
– three cloves of garlic
– 150ml of double cream
– Two vegetable or chicken stock cubes
– 1tsp cinnamon
– 1tsp nutmeg
– 1tsp paprika
– salt and pepper to taste

Place the chopped carrot, onion, garlic, parsnip and potato in a pan with some water to cover, let the vegetables soften for around 10-15 minutes. Add the pumpkin and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes and remove from the heat. Drain the water from the pan and then add the stock mixture. For extra flavour, we added one vegetable stock cube and one chicken stock cube. Allow this to simmer for around 20-30 minutes.

Put the softened vegetables and stock mix into a blender. Blend until smooth. Follow up with the double cream and blend until you are satisfied with the consistency. Put the soup back in the pan and gently heat.

If you do not have a blender, you can use a masher. Remove the pan from the heat and mash the mixture until you are satisfied. Stir in the double cream and place back on the hob to warm through.

If you want, you can roast the pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch. Rinse the seeds in cold water and then place the seeds on a clean tea towel to take off the excess moisture. Put them in a bowl with the seasoning of your choice; we used 1tsp of cinnamon and 1tsp of paprika. Add 1tsp of olive oil and mix the seasoning and pumpkin seeds until they are coated. Put them on a baking tray at 180°c, checking every 5 minutes until they are crispy. Ours took around 15-20 minutes.

And enjoy!

I love this recipe with a chunky slice of homemade bread.

Rain, rain, go away…

With all of the rain recently, it feels like the allotment has turned into a bog! We had to wait two weeks to be able to plant the trees. There was either never a long enough break in the rain to plant them or the ground was too sodden. Luckily, we were able to plant them this week.

The runner beans have finally been taken down. I removed all of the swollen bean pods and saved the seeds. I can’t believe just how big they’ve swelled. Several people have said they have never seen beans so large, so I must be doing something right! We have left the roots in the ground, as we have heard they are nitrogen rich – but sources vary. They will rot down either way, although it is advised not to plant beans in the same area as the year before.

The bean pods are ready when they have turned brown and the beans are hard.

We have finally harvested our last crop, which was celeriac. It was a win-fail crop. We were given three (or so we thought) plugs and planted them as was, but it turned out that months later the three plugs contained several plants! Our celeriac grew, but no where near to the size it should have. It varied in size, from golf ball to small orange sized. They should be around the size of swede. I don’t think we will try growing these next year.

The first seeds for next season have finally been sown. I adore sweet peas and sowing them now will ensure an earlier bloom. They are now sat in the windowsill of the shed to ensure that they germinate. Naturally, I chose a purple colour palette.

I’ll leave you with the last of the lavender blooms. I had already picked the butterfly lavender (deep purple) a month ot so ago, so I was surprised that it grew back so quickly. The English lavender only produced two stems this year, but that’s two stems more than expected! I can only hope the plants are bursting with lavender next year.

The Darker Half

How is it November already? I hope you all had a wonderful Samhain/Halloween. We have now entered the darker half of the year. How did you all celebrate? We spent our morning at the allotment and visited Kenilworth Castle later on – but I will post about that separately.

Our pumpkins did quite well, we were a little late putting them in so I am surprised that we ended up with 11! The skin on the majority of them hasn’t turned orange, but there is no rush for that to happen. They should last a while if they are stored correctly. I had to cut them off the vines earlier than I wanted, but the rain had battered the vines and left them mushy.

We don’t have a greenhouse, but this works for now! We will be eating a lot of pumpkin soup by the looks of it…

Traditionally, turnips were always used to carve Jack O’Lanterns, it is only in more recent years that pumpkins have been used. The tale of Jack I know is that he was cursed to walk between Earth and the afterlife, due to his less than honest lifestyle, with only a lump of coal for light. Jack hollowed out a turnip and placed the coal inside, ready to begin his eternal wander for a place to rest in peace.

Almost everything at our allotment has died off now, we just have a few herbs, celeriac and over wintering cabbage (if the bugs don’t eat them all beforehand). We have some ground work to do before the winter sets in, which we hope to do in the next couple of weeks.

The beans are swelling on the vines, so we will have plenty of seeds for next year. The courgettes have finally finished fruiting.