Sunday, 31 October 2010

Cooking With LouLou - Halloween Edition - Very Pic Heavy x

I have to say I love Halloween always have done over the last few years I've shown you pics of some of the delights I've made on 31st October :) Well this year I'm doing the same thing but I'm actually going to show you how to make two of my favourite things :) After watching the football at lunchtime (5-1 Wahoo :) I spent the afternoon packing a few parcels and cooking :) First of all one of my favourite soups from one of my favourite cookery books "Delias Vegetarian". A lovely warming autumnal recipe using that Halloween classic the Pumpkin :) I've put my version here but it doesn't detract much from the original

Delia Smiths Pumpkin Soup With Toasted Sweetcorn

1lb 8oz (700g) Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Peeled, De seeded and Chopped Into 1 Inch Pieces
(I used the 2 pumpkins above - you needn't be to precise about the size of the chunks)
1 Can Sweetcorn (Drained)
2 Corn Cobs Stripped
1oz (25g) Butter
1 tsp Butter
1 Onion Peeled and Chopped
1 Clove Garlic (optional)
A Sprinkle of Chili Flakes (optional)
275ml Milk
About 1.5 Litres of Vegetable Stock (I use Knorr Vegetable Stock Pots)
Salt and Pepper To Taste

1. Add 1oz butter to a large pan (I am using a pressure cooker pan here) add the finely chopped garlic and the onion - cook for about 5 minutes to soften

2. In the meantime strip one corn cob and open a tin of sweetcorn

3. When the onion is soft add the pumpkin to the pan I usually leave it for about 5 minutes till it starts to soften

4. Add the stripped corn cob and the can of sweetcorn bar 2 tbs to the pan -season and cook for about 10 minutes or so with a lid on till the vegetables start to soften (the pan will look quite full don't panic it will cook down)

5. Meanwhile prepare the stock as per your packet instructions - I used two stock pots for one litre of one water and added another half litre

6. Add the stock to the pan, give it a quick stir and then pop the lid on for at least 20 minutes (this is pretty flexible I've left it for up to an hour and it's fine) then add the milk x

7. Make sure all the veg is soft then turn the pan off the heat for a little while - your going to blend it and you don't want to be too hot

8. Blend the soup to your preferred consistency - I use a stick blender which is easier for me but you could always carefully pore it into a blender

9. Once it's blended add the remaining 2tbs tinned sweetcorn for a bit of texture and return to a gentle heat

10. In the meantime strip the remaining corn cob and put the corn onto a baking tray sprinkle it with salt and pepper and the remaining teaspoon of butter and put it under a hot grill

11. Keep watching it as it will turn very quickly - you wanted it nice and toasted, but not too burnt - it sometimes pops a bit but it smells amazing like hot buttered popcorn

12. Check the seasoning on your soup - then serve with a spoonful of the toasted corn on the top

Hints and Tips 
* Delia uses all fresh corn but I find it a little tasteless and dry so I only use half and just use the fresh corn cobs for toasting- the tinned stuff is too wet to toast properly
* Neither does she use the garlic or chilli but I think it gives a nice kick
* You needn't be too precious about quantities - add what you have cooking needn't be exact
* This soup freezes really well and it will also keep for a few days in the fridge
* If your Coeliac like me check your veggie stock is suitable x
* You can also use Butternut Squash but Pumpkins are plentiful at the mo and they may even be reduced tomorrow ;)

So that's what I do with my pumpkins but what about the seeds, well as you probably know you can eat them, but how do you get from the soggy, orange coated goop in the pumpkin to the things you buy in health food shops well this is how I do it - first of all wash the orange goo off, then put them in a bowl with some salted water overnight, next day drain them and dry them the best you can I usually wrap them in a tea towel and squeezy, next put them on a baking tray sprinkle with salt, and pepper, maybe add a bit of garlic salt or some chili flakes and a swig of olive oil and put them in a hot oven till they brown :)

you can take the seeds out of the kernels but there really isn't a need they are perfectly fine the way they are, they are a really nice snack :)

As well as my Pumpkin based treats I also made something I try not to make too often the reason being it's so addictive, you don't always fancy bread with soup, often in my case because some gluten free breads aren't that great but this is gorgeous with soup, with chili or even on it's own. From another fabulous vegetarian cookery book this time by the late Linda McCartney comes Spicy Mexican Cornbread from Linda's Summer Kitchen again I've adapted the recipe a bit but it tastes amazing either way x

Spicy Mexican Corn Bread

1 Egg
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
6 oz (175g) Canned Sweetcorn (about a can, drained)
125ml Plain Yogurt
4oz (125g) Yellow Cornmeal (Polenta)
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
8oz (250g) Cheddar Cheese - grated, cubed or crumbled (reserve a little for your topping)

1. Put the cornmeal, salt, chili flakes, baking powder, cheese and sweetcorn into a large bowl and mix together

2. Crack your egg(s) into a jug, then add the yogurt, and the oil and mix well

3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well till all the cornmeal is covered, you might need to add a bit more liquid I sometimes add an extra egg

4. Put your mix into a loaf tin I used my trusty silicone here, and sprinkle with a bit of cheese, then pop it into the oven at about 180°C/ Gas 4 for about 40 minutes till the top is browned

5. Serve slightly warm or cold, you can also heat it up for about 30 seconds or so in the microwave

Hints and Tips
* In the original recipe Linda McCartney uses 1/2 oz of fresh green chili and 125ml of Creme Fraiche but it works just as well as chili flakes and plain yogurt
* Cornmeal or Polenta is available in most major supermarkets (try the world foods section) and health food shops - this is the one I get from Asda

* The original recipe uses cheddar but to be honest I have made this with what ever cheese I have in the fridge - here I've used Cheddar and a bit of Feta, but it works with pretty much anything you have Spicy Mexican Cheddar is particularly nice and so is Mozzarella especially when it's served warm :)
* This recipe is gluten free providing you check the cornmeal and the baking powder x
* Again the quantities can be altered - I've doubled the recipe here but it's pretty flexible
* As well as making it into a loaf you can also make into a tray bake muffins or buns ;)

So there you go my Halloween eats - I think there are some mini Mars Bars left from the trick or treaters so I think they'll round it off nicely - any questions give me a shout oh and Happy Halloween xx


  1. Oh my god I LOVE corn bread! xxx

  2. MMmmmmm it all looks so yummy! I did loads of cooking this weekend too... cupcakes, curry, crumble. It was loads of fun!



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