The pumpkin is a stately thing. Less a vegetable, more a looming presence in the kitchen. It awaits like the sculptor’s block of marble, concealing much, awaiting the delicate touch of the kitchen artist to reveal its fate. It may transform to a delicious soup, it may become a grinning gargoyle, only fit to frighten the children.
Two things: first, you can carve a pumpkin. But we find drawing eyes and fangs on in black marker pen works pretty well too.
Second, with Halloween coming up, if you want to make something out of Mr Pumpkin’s innards as well as his skull, here’s our Crib Sheet of pumpkin recipes, which includes a great recipe from Ston Easton. (scroll down for more)
If you’re in an experimental mood, you can combine a little sweetcorn in most of these recipes, to add sweetness and (to a British audience) familiarity. (Americans are very happy with pumpkin pie; historically, the Brits have carved more than we’ve eaten.)
Halloween Crib Sheet coming up shortly. Once you’ve sorted out Mr Pumpkin, come back to us for ideas on bat’s wings, black candles and squid ink! (You need squid ink, to dye the risotto . . . keep up!)
Beetroots – the great Pink Peril of the Kitchen – aren’t the easiest veg to deal with, at first glance. They have the capacity to stain an entire kitchen; they take hours to boil and although they’re edible raw, you’d never pick one up and eat it like an apple.
They’ve started arriving in our veg box and like a lot of people, we find ourselves from time to time looking at the things, while they sit there intractably looking back at us.
However, once you’ve donned the heavy-duty gloves and boiled or grated them into submission, the sweet side of beetroots’ nature comes out. They’re surprisingly versatile, featuring in hot and cold dishes including soup, salad, crisps, pickles, tarts and even cake. So if you’re staring glumly at a heap of crimson roots, tear your gaze away and click on our crib sheet for a bit of inspiration. Good luck!
The Taster slaves were particularly proud of having found Chef John, a mellifluous-voiced online demo chef whose friendly soothing tones are enough to make one feel that yes, I can make Baked Alaska and I shall.
So, for a slightly more whizzy, interactive version of The Taster with links to foodie books, websites and a few choice YouTube cooking demos, click HERE. A single issue costs just under £2 and a subscription for the entire year is just £8. Buy for yourself, or treat a friend, and spread the word.