As opposed to being frightening, Halloween costumes have become either leopards in hot-pants, or recent pop-culture icons. It seems that Halloween has lost it’s spook. Do you want to know what the scariest thing about Halloween is these days? It’s the food waste.
Every year in the UK during the Halloween season, 18,000 tonnes of food waste is produced. Under the assumption that 100 per cent of this food waste consists of pumpkins, it would mean that around five million perfectly edible (and might I add, delicious) pumpkins get thrown to landfill each October.
Eat with the Seasons
That’s right, vegetables are seasonal. If you’re concerned about the environment, eating seasonal foods is one of the best ways to go about doing your bit. These tend to be sourced more locally, as opposed to being shipped from the other side of the world where it’s still warm enough for strawberries to grow.
Here’s what’s in season this Autumn:
Squashes and Pumpkins
We bought a pumpkin and one of it’s cousins, the butternut squash, and decided to craft a three course dinner with it.
We simply chopped both the pumpkin and the squash in half, removed the seeds, brushed both halves with a little olive oil and salt and roasted them in the oven for 35–40 minutes at 180 degrees. The flesh should be soft to the touch. After they’re cooked it’s really easy to peel off the skin. We made all of these vegan, but you can easily make them with dairy products if needed.
Seasonal Soup with Butternut Squash, Pumpkin and Paprika
Roast half an onion and 4 cloves of garlic with the squash. Once cool enough to touch, blend half the butternut squash and one third of the pumpkin (you’ll use the rest later), along with the garlic and onion in a food processor. Transfer to a pot and stir on a medium heat, adding 300ml of vegetable stock gradually. Add one tsp of Paprika, half a can of coconut milk (200ml) and season to taste. Simmer for 10–15 minutes. Serve immediately.
We served the soup topped with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of paprika and some salt & pepper croutons.
Baked Kabocha Korokke (Japanese Pumpkin Croquettes) Katsu Curry
Once roasted, mash the other half of the butternut squash and one third of the pumpkin with a fork. Add half a finely chopped onion, fried with a clove of garlic until translucent (3–5 minutes). Mix together and add 4 tbsp of flour and 2 tbsp soy sauce. The mixture is super sticky, so be ready to get your fingers mucky! Once cooled, shape into flat oval shaped croquettes, about the size of your palm. Brush with a mix of flour and water (or an egg) and coat in Panko breadcrumbs. Brush with oil and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve on top of sticky rice, with Japanese curry sauce (which can be found in most of the oriental shops dotted around Sheffield), and chopped spring onion.
Maple Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Pastry
To make the filling, add 425g of the roasted pumpkin to a bowl, 200ml of canned coconut milk, 150g brown sugar, 40g cornstarch, 85g maple syrup and 1 tsp vanilla. Add the pumpkin spice (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg and a pinch of salt), and whisk the mixture until smooth.
To make this recipe easier, you can buy pre-made shortcrust pastry in the supermarket, but we decided to make a chocolatey version from scratch. Roll the pastry into a round flan dish, press it to the edges and prick the bottom with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees before adding the filling. Bake for another 50–55 minutes, until the top starts to brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then serve with caramel sauce and and chopped pecans.
Images by Rebekah Lowri