The 'Original' Creative Crafting Magazine written by Crafters, for Crafters

Creative Crafting magazine began in August/September 2009, when a group of crafting friends on the Creative Connections network decided that it would be a good idea to raise awareness of the crafting community. From this point they started work and the first issue of Creative Crafting was published in October 2009 and are still publishing today.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Pumpkins are for life, not just for Halloween…

Published in issue 1, October 2012
Written by Gill from Personal Space Interiors

Pumpkins are for life, not just for Halloween…

There has been a real American popular culture invasion over the last few years. High school leavers are celebrating their graduation with a school prom, and  ”Penny for the guy” on November  5th has given way to “Trick or treat” on Halloween as the most popular autumnal outing for children of all ages. 
Growing up in the North East, Halloween for me meant hours of gouging a rock solid swede to make something vaguely resembling a Jack O’Lantern. So, the advent of the pumpkin arriving on our shop shelves was something of a revelation. We may not be quite up to the American standard of pumpkin carving…

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…but at least we’re trying.

But, what happens to all the forgotten pumpkins when November 1st arrives? Whatever you do, don’t throw them away, unless of course your little ones have rendered them not fit for eating. Remember, you’ve already scooped out the seeds, so you’re already half way there! The aroma of roasting pumpkin and the glorious colour greeting you as you bring it from the oven is enough to lift the spirits on any cold, rainy autumn evening. 

here are so many delicious recipes out there, so why not try something different and give that pumpkin a new lease of life! 

Delicious and soothing, this soup has such a rich flavour you’d be forgiven for thinking it had loads of ingredients and took an age to prepare. In fact it’s so cheap, quick and simple, it’s sure to become a regular feature on your weekly menu.

One medium pumpkin or squash, cut into large wedges
A good drizzle of rape seed oil
One large onion, finely chopped
A knob of butter
1 litre of Vegetable or chicken stock
250ml milk
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 220oC (425oF, gas mark 7)
2. Place the pumpkin wedges on a large, solid baking tray lined with foil and drizzle liberally with rape seed oil
3. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4. Bake for around 40 minutes, turning the wedges over during cooking to make sure they brown evenly
5. Meanwhile, heat the butter and another drizzle of rape seed oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry until golden and caramelised around the edges
6. Add the roasted pumpkin to the onion along with the stock and milk
7. Season well with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
8. Turn the heat as low as possible and simmer gently for 20 minutes
9. Blend to a velvety puree – if you really want to you can sieve the soup too, but that’s purely a matter of choice. If you think the soup is a little thick, add a little extra stock or milk.
10. Serve in warm bowls  with a garnish of grated gruyere cheese and crispy bacon pieces

Pumpkin risotto with gorgonzola and walnuts: serves 4

One small pumpkin or squash, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
A good drizzle of rape seed oil
One large onion finely chopped
A knob of butter
One large juicy garlic clove, crushed or grated
500g Arborio rice
One large glass of dry white wine
One litre of vegetable stock, hot (you could use chicken stock if you prefer)
A sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
75g walnuts (halved or chopped)
100g gorgonzola, in small pieces
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 220oC (425oF, gas mark 7)
2. Dry roast the walnuts in a small frying pan for a couple of minutes and set aside
3. Place the pumpkin / squash chunks on a large solid baking tray, drizzle with rape seed oil and bake for around 20 minutes until golden and just softening
4. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan heat the butter and another drizzle of rape seed oil over a medium heat, add the onion and fry until golden and caramelised around the edges
5. Add the rosemary and garlic and fry for another minute
6. Add  a little more rape seed oil to the pan and add the rice, stirring well to make sure every grain gets a nice coating of oil
7. Add the wine and stir until absorbed .
8. Gradually add the stock, one ladle full at a time while you continue to stir the rice. As the rice absorbs the stock, add another ladle full. This should take around 20 minutes
9. Add the roasted pumpkin / squash, walnuts and gorgonzola and stir gently
10. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
11. Pop a lid on the pan, turn off the heat and leave the risotto to sit for a few minutes before serving in warmed bowls.

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