The Upper West Side is a great place to be on Halloween. The houses lining 69th street are decorated as individually themed haunted houses, ranging from the frightening – serial killers in the process of being electrocuted, dangling corpses from nooses, giant spider – to the delightful – people abseiling out of apartment windows having light-saber fights.
Even the church gets into the spirit of things with fake gravestones filled with puns, and half a ton of cobwebs and dry ice.
Kids zoom about in costumes, hopped up on candy. It’s everything we imagined American Halloween would be like. Jon, still obviously sore about it, is wont to reminisce about his own Trick or Treating efforts in rainy Scotland. “We had to do a trick – i.e. show a talent, recite a poem or sing a song or something, then we were given a treat – i.e. an apple or a box of raisins. These kids don’t know how good they’ve got it. Jeez.”
When we get back from observing and candy-handing-out with our friends, this is the soup we’ll be eating.
Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash) Apple Soup for Halloween (this amount serves about 6, it’s easy to scale up or down)1 butternut squash – about 2 cups of chopped squash (or pumpkin) 1 large onion 1 clove of garlic 1 carrot 1 stick of celery bay leaf 2 cups chicken stock 2 cups apple juice olive oil salt and pepper
- Peel, de-seed and cube the squash, dice the onion roughly, chunk up the carrot and celery, peel the garlic and slice.
- Sauté the onion in some olive oil until golden (about 5 minutes on a medium heat). Add the carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and squash. Toss in the oil to coat and season generously.
- Pour in the stock and juice and simmer for 20 mins until the squash is tender. Fish out the bay leaf.
- Blend and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Serve with a crouton baked in the oven with a mound of grated cheese.
- Or add a swirl of cream
- Or a dice of green apple
- Or a couple of fried sage leaves
NOTE – this soup can be made in advance and reheated, if that makes life easier for feeding a crowd.
Pumpkin Bowls1 sugar pumpkin per person butter salt and pepper
- Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.
- Butter and season the flesh
- Put the lids and pumpkins on a roasting tray, and roast for 30 mins at 350ish until the pumpkin is tender.
If it helps to make these in advance, they can be warmed in the oven for five minutes while you heat up the soup.