curried pumpkin soup with toasted seeds

Curried pumpkin soup with toasted seeds – just in time for Hallowe’en. I wasn’t going to do a blog entry tonight, but see, Paul turned to me yesterday, in the seventh hour of our Stranger Things 2 binge (it’s brilliant, have no fear), and confessed that he’d never had a proper pumpkin. It then hit me – nor have I! My mother used to send us out the door in the most highly-flammable sheet she could find, carrying a sooty turnip in one hand and a Netto carrier bag in the other for trick or treating. We were told to hand back any Skittles or chocolate we were given and to ask for a twenty-deck of Lambert and Butler and a crate of Red Stripe. Good times.

Anyway, being a kind and merciful sort, I agreed that we ought to get a pumpkin and carve it – and here’s the final result. You’ll note that I’ve added a sensitivity filter for the easily offended:

Great, isn’t it? I love Scunthorpe so much I made a pumpkin in tribute. Cheers Will. And look guys, you mustn’t worry, we’re not going to put this on display when kids come to the door to terrorise us. We’ll be doing the very British thing of turning up Coronation Street and telling them to bugger off. I wouldn’t mind if they made an effort with the costumes, but when you’ve got someone turning up who looks as though he’s just finished a three year BTEC in bricklaying demanding chocolate, well, that crosses the line. Actually, who am I kidding, if that sort turned up, he’d definitely be allowed to put the willies up us.

Speaking of cheap thrills, we also went to see Jigsaw on Friday night. How was it? As good as you’d expect the eighth film in a gore franchise to be, and then a wee bit better. Perfect popcorn fodder. But you know what was the best bit? We had the entire cinema to ourselves – not another soul came in to watch people being eviscerated on a 60ft screen. Pussies. There’s lots of benefits to having the cinema to yourselves – no people using their phones on nuclear holocaust levels of brightness, no people rustling around in bags for the loudest possible sweets they can find, no having to theatrically sigh and huff when the people in front of you so much as move. When we’re millionaires we shall buy a cinema, install two seats and employ only two people: one to bring us drinks and another to wake Paul when he inevitably falls asleep. I’m sure if we were younger men we would have used the solitude for a bit of illicit hanky-panky but I mean, we’ve been together ten years now – our idea of adventure is cracking open the After Eight mints at half seven.

Being the only ones in the cinema does rather shed a spotlight on your companion’s foibles, mind. Paul was breathing so loudly through his noise that it was only the popcorn bucket staying still on his lap that assured me he wasn’t wanking. Plus, every scene was punctuated with him scratting about in the popcorn in the vain hope of finding anything edible, as opposed to the shavings of fire-retardant foam that they’d put in there. Seriously, I think they’d kept the popcorn aside from the first Saw movie. I’m sure if we flipped this he’d complain about me constantly farting (how often can you fart in a cinema without having to wait for a loud action part to mask the sound?) and nudging him to say ‘he’s the killer, it’s him, definitely him, no it’s her, no it’s him, no look it’s all taking place in the past, no look, it’s her again‘. Going to the cinema with me is like when you accidentally flip the Audio Description settings on when watching TV, only with more ‘Where do we know him from? Is it 24? Paul? Was he in 24? Remember?’. I imagine by the end of it we were both silently wondering whether we could get away with putting the other into a Saw style trap. I wouldn’t need to make much effort – Paul’s idea of torture is to be sat on the settee with the TV remote just out of reach. You’ve never seen such pained eyes, trust me. But shush, this was meant to be a quick entry, so let’s get back to the food.

So, once one has gutted a pumpkin, what do you do with the flesh? It’s very easy, you call Paul in to cut it up and make it into soup whilst you fart about on Mario Odyssey. I’m glad, I can’t bear wasting food – I get anxious when Paul throws out his toenails – and all that lovely pumpkin should be turned into something half decent. So here you have it, a bonus pumpkin soup recipe!

to make curried pumpkin soup you will need:

  • 1 pumpkin, as big as you dare (cut in half and scoop out the seeds and the flesh – keep the seeds to toast (see below))
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (save your fingers with one of these! It’ll work with the ginger too!)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp clove powder
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 125ml light coconut milk (5½ syns)
  • dollop of fat-free greek yoghurt

to make toasted pumpkin seeds you should:

  • preheat the oven to 150°c
  • separate the seeds from the fleshy bits and give a good rinse in a colander, then shake dry
  • spray the seeds with a little oil and a load ofand spread out onto a baking sheet
  • cook in the oven for about 45 minutes

All in, less than 1.5 syns. You’re allowed 20g of seeds for a healthy extra but hey, a few won’t harm…or will it?

to make curried pumpkin soup you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • spray the fleshy bits with a little oil and give it a good rub (an oil sprayer is perfect for this recipe – get the one we recommend most!)
  • place each half onto a baking sheet, fleshy side down and roast for 45 minutes
  • leave to cool for a few minutes, and then scoop out the flesh and set aside
  • next, heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a little oil
  • add the onion to the pan and give a good stir, cook for a few minutes until it starts to go slightly brown
  • next, add the ginger and garlic to the pan and stir
  • cook for 1-2 minutes
  • add the curry powder, coriander, cumin and clove powder to the pan and give another good stir
  • add the stock and the coconut milk and bring to the boil
  • remove the pan from the heat and add the pumpkin flesh to the pan
  • use a stick blender (or a proper blender if you’re fancy) until the mixture is nice and smooth
  • put back over a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer to warm through
  • serve in bowls with a dollop of greek yoghurt, and sprinkle over some toasted pumpkin seeds

Leftover coconut milk? Make carrot and coconut soup, or pea and coconut soup. It’s that easy!

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J

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