Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Spooky soups

I've never been much good at craft. A papier mache pig at primary school was the pinnacle of my crafting career. But now it seems it's all my kids want to do. No egg box is undecorated, no empty cereal box unfettered by pipe cleaners and bits of sellotape.
Sometimes this can work to my advantage.
With Hallowe'en coming up it's all about jack'o'lanterns and broomsticks. A few black triangles can transform just about anything so my (non-existent) craft skills aren't tested too much when "Abracada! Abracadantern! Turn this soup into a jack'o'lantern!"

Yes! As if by magic a delicious butternut squash soup (because, unless you're American, who really eats pumpkin?) is transformed into a jack'o'lantern, or, if you've got some creme fraiche to hand, and a couple of poppy seeds, a scary ghost! Really easy, I got both ideas from Pinterest. The jack'o'lantern from this great site and the ghost from here.

The soup is actually delicious, really sweet and the children needed little encouragement to eat it, but they enjoyed the spooky faces. We've got a little Hallowe'en shindig where I live and I think I may make this for all the kids and let them put their own faces on.

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves: 4
Start to finish:
A good glug of olive oil
a chopped onion
a peeled, deseeded and chopped butternut squash OR buy it like that, frozen
a couple of sage leaves
Diluted chicken stock
Put oil in a large saucepan and add onion, squash and sage. Cook very gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks/burns. Dilute stock cube so it's half strength and add enough to cover the veg, probably about 500ml. Simmer until squash is tender, which should take between 15-20 mins. When tender take off heat and puree, I always use a handheld blender as it seems less dangerous than transferring a load of hot liquid. Season, put in bowls and then...
Decorate:
For the jack'o'lanterns I bought some pumpernickel bread, cut out some randomly sized triangles and placed them on a baking tray. I put them in the oven on 180 degree C for 10 minutes until they hardened, and then placed them on the soup. The greenery is sage because I've got some in the garden, but obviously you could used anything (non-poisonous) you've got to hand.
The ghost would be more impressive if I had more skill, I bet yours looks better! I put a couple of blobs of creme fraiche in the soup and tried to put them in a bit of a cross. I then used a cocktail stick to streak them at the bottom and the poppy seeds became eyes and a mouth. I know. Almost unbelievable that such simple ingredients could become something so visually amazing. Ok, ok. It is a bit crap, but I'm sure with a steady hand you'll be able to create something that will wow and amaze very very young children who have very very low standards.

9 comments:

  1. My craft skills similarly lacking so will give this a go!

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  2. Brilliant - I think I could manage to make some black triangles out of bread, too (I might just burn some normal stuff though)

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    Replies
    1. Finally! Something to do with burnt toast!

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  3. This is brilliant. Not that I'm ever going to have time ever again to do anything more crafty than open a tin of soup. But perhaps even I could manage to cut some bread into triangles and plonk them on tomato soup??
    (if you don't fancy butternut squash, here's a great recipe for sweet potato soup: sautee onions and a knob of chopped ginger, add a few peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, cover with stock, bring to boil, then reduce and simmer until pots are soft. blend, then add juice of a lime.)

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  4. sounds amazing. Am definitely going to try it. And with three kids opening a tin of soup is huge achievement and definitely counts as craft!

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  5. Oh, your soup ghost is wonderful!

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