Field of pumpkins by SFAntti

You probably haven’t failed to miss it was Halloween today. Like I did. No biggie – you might say. Except when we dropped our 2 year old, G, off at nursery this morning we were greeted by a room full of little mummies, pumpkins, witches and ghouls. I had completely forgotten the nursery’s strict instructions to send him in a fiendish outfit. As soon as we’d dropped him off I raced off to the local shops to get him something suitable, pounced on the last Dracula cape they had and tore back to the nursery in record time.

I’m not really a big fan of Halloween but I am rather taken by one of its main stars: The pumpkin. Pumpkins are a great source of soluble fibre as well as being packed full of beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant. The antioxidant compounds in fruit and vegetables generally come in brightly coloured hues, from purples, greens and ambers to scarlets and yellows so the old adage “Eat a rainbow” has never rung more true. The burnished amber of pumpkin is a dead giveaway to its antioxidant power.

Antioxidants provide valuable immune support, which can only help in these wintry times. There are so many things you can do with pumpkin. A less traditional, but equally delicious route to take is this pumpkin cornbread from the Moosewood cookbook. However, I made soup as I’m a soup fiend (had to slip in a Halloween-ism somewhere..) and I had one in my veg box this week. The antioxidant compounds, carotenoids (like beta-carotene), are fat-soluble so combining them with oils, like olive oil in this soup, will help with absorption.

I roasted the pumpkin first to get a deeper flavour but if you were time-starved just add the pumpkin to the pan after the onions have softened.

1 pumpkin (peeled, deseeded and chopped into large chunks)

1 large white onion

1 tsp grated ginger

1 stick of cinnamon

1.5 litres of good vegetable stock

Greek yoghurt

3 tbsp pine nuts

Olive oil

1 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Roast the pumpkin in the oven until soft. I did this at around GM 6
  2. Soften the onion in olive oil with the ginger and cinnamon stick. When see – through add the roasted pumpkin.
  3. Cover with the veg stock and simmer for 15 mins.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick, season with salt and pepper
  5. Blitz in a food processor or use a hand -held blender
  6. Return to the pan on a low heat to keep warm
  7. In a dry frying pan toast the pine nuts. Add a good glug of olive oil – use light olive if possible and add the ground cinnamon
  8. Serve the soup with a swirl of Greek yogurt and a spoonful of the pine nut mixture.