Pumpkin Pie?

Pumpkin Pie?


I didn’t intend to grow enormous pumpkins because they are totally unmanageable – I just wanted some large enough to make Jack’o’Lanterns for Halowe’en and some to store for the winter to make spicy pumpkin soup (see recipes) to warm us up on Bonfire Night and to cheer us up for December lunchtimes.

Pumpkins must love rabbit manure because this is the result!  I do admit that I did dig quite a bit of manure into the pumpkin patch.  Fortunately, not all of the pumpkins are this big but it’s going to take all the boys to lift this, a saw to cut it in two – and probably all day hollowing it out, taking out the seeds and cutting the flesh into manageable chunks for soup!

Last year I dried pumpkin seeds on baking paper in a slow oven and they were really tasty – they made a great substitute for peanuts and I served them in bowls with olives.


Pumpkin Soup for Bonfire Night

Pumpkin Soup for Bonfire Night


Snap up the pumpkins left over from Halloween and make some spicy soup for bonfire night.  There’s nothing quite like sipping hot spicy pumpkin soup gathered around the bonfire and watching the flames and sparks drift into the night sky.

Pumpkin freezes quite well so when you’ve scraped out all the pumpkin flesh to make Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns, cut it into cubes and put into a polythene bag.  It will store in the fridge for up to 3 days or will freeze for over a month.

The seeds can be dried to use in bread and muesli – or to feed to the birds during the cold winter months.

Visit the recipe page for a not too spicy pumpkin soup recipe.


Wittenham Cider

Samhain – All Hallows Eve – time to make Wittenham Cider – many years ago my aunt gave me this recipe – it’s from a very old newspaper cutting._DSC0086s

Wittenham Cider

3 1b apples
12 pints water
2 lb granulated sugar
3 lemons
empty pop bottles

You will need 2 large clean buckets – one to make the cider in and another to strain the cider into. Approximately 3 lb of apples – any sort – a mixture is best and windfalls are fine. Wash them and chop or mince them up (including peel core and pips) and put them in the bucket.

Pour on 12 pints of cold, unboiled, water. (The original recipe is so old it says 6 quarts of water.)

Leave for a week, stirring night and morning.

Strain through a stocking held over a sieve or colander into the second bucket.

Stir in 2 lb of granulated sugar and the grated rind and juice of three lemons.

Strain again and bottle. Plastic pop bottles will do fine.

It should be drinkable within a week.

If not drinking straight away you will need to release the tops of the bottles regularly so they don’t explode – or you can use old port bottles with corks.

Samhain – All Hallows Eve – Carve pumpkins into Jack’o’Lanterns

Samhain – All Hallows Eve – Carve pumpkins into Jack’o’Lanterns

31st October was once New Year’s Eve in Celtic Ireland. The Druids believed that the mystic veil separating the dead from the living opened and spirits roamed the earth.  We celebrate with a bonfire and Wittenham Cider and pumpkins carved into Jack-o’Lanterns – so called because they are named after the phenomenon of strange light flickering over the Irish peat bogs creating Will’o’the’Wisps