Readers have also commented that the idea of a lovely life for less strikes a real chord, and offered to write about their own favourite ways to simplify, cut stress and enjoy life more.
Today we have our first guest post, from Alan Williams, a keen gardener who likes to turn his produce into delicious meals. He has a seasonal treat that comes with an added spooky bonus!
Over to Alan:
It’s that time of the year when the witching hour is upon us, and pumpkins appear in the shops in large numbers, unfortunately not as a vegetable but to be turned into lanterns.
As an allotment holder I’m fortunate enough to be able to grow my own; and whilst I’ll own up to a little lantern carvery, my main aim is make pumpkin soup, and other autumn goodies.
So if you’re tempted to get a pumpkin to make into a lantern, try making pumpkin soup as well to get even better value for your purchase. It’s simple and easy, and there are only a few other ingredients.
To use the pumpkin for a lantern, remove the “lid” as you would normally, scoop out the seeds, and then carefully scoop out the pumpkin in chunks, using a knife or strong spoon. Set aside the pumpkin for carving.
25g / 1oz butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion (chopped)
2 shallots (chopped)
2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1kg / 2lb pumpkin
2 litre / 3 pints chicken or vegetable Stock
½ teaspoon ground cumin (more to taste if desired)
Pinch ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley / chives (for garnish)
Blender / food processor
Sharp medium sized knife
Slotted spoon / colander
To make the soup:
1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan (the olive oil helps to stop the butter from burning).
2. Add the onion and shallots and cook until just softened (about 5mins).
3. Add the potatoes, pumpkin, stock, cumin and nutmeg, salt and pepper, and bring to a slow boil.
4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for about an hour or until the vegetables are thoroughly cooked.
5. Using the slotted spoon / colander, transfer the cooked vegetables to the blender and blitz until smooth, adding a little of the cooked liquid if needed.
6. Return the puree to the pan and stir until well mixed. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.
Tastes great with crusty bread or just on its own.