Starter: Pumpkin Soup
What better than pumpkin soup? It’s warming and delicious, and an ideal way to use the flesh already scooped out of the pumpkin-head decorations. The recipe below serves 4; simply increase the quantities in proportion if you have more guests, or more pumpkins to use up!
- Chop the flesh of a large pumpkin, discarding the seeds. Don’t worry how roughly the flesh is chopped, as the soup will be blended later, but try to ensure the pieces are roughly the same size. Add the chunks to a pan containing a pint of chicken or vegetable stock, and cook until softened – this should take around 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add a large knob of butter to a frying pan, and gently fry a large chopped onion, two cloves of sliced garlic, and a chopped red chilli. Feel free to add another chilli if you like your soup spicy!
- Once the onion mixture is softened – around 5 or 6 minutes – place into a blender and mix until roughly blended. Now add the pumpkin and the stock to the blender, and mix until smooth.
- Put the pumpkin mixture back into the saucepan, add a 440ml tin of coconut milk, and heat gently, stirring every so often. Don’t allow the mixture to boil. When the soup is heated through, it is ready to serve, but it will keep happily on low heat until you are ready to eat it.
Main: Sausage Tray Bake
Less of a recipe than suggestions for an assembly job! As above, this recipe serves four, but is easily adapted.
- In a frying pan, gently brown a packet of eight good-quality sausages. This should only take five minutes or so.
- Transfer the sausages to a roasting tin, and add two onions, peeled and cut lengthways into quarters. Add some peeled and cubed vegetables: potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips – whatever you have to hand. If using sweet potato, remember this will cook quicker than the other vegetables so cut into larger chunks. Drizzle the contents of the tray with olive oil, give everything a good shake to ensure all the vegetables are coated with oil, and then cook in a medium over – around 180 centigrade for 45 minutes.
- In a small bowl blend a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard and a tablespoon of runny honey. Pour this over the sausages and vegetables, then return to the over for another 10 – 15 minutes, until everything is cooked through and nicely sticky.
Dessert: Vodka Jelly
Who says jelly is just for kids? Make up a packet of jelly cubes – green ones would be appropriate for Halloween – as per the instructions, but once the cubes have been dissolved in boiling water, rather than topping up with cold water, use chilled vodka instead. Serve with fruit and whipped cream for a suitably adult treat.