Hello diners and welcome to this month’s Chefs Tips blog.  The winter is approaching fast and the chill in the air can certainly be felt in the mornings and evenings. This time of the year is when the lovely root vegetables are in season and bursting with flavour. With this in mind I wanted to share with you some of my favourite tasty Halloween treats, starting with a wonderful recipe for soup that will make the most of this seasonal veg and also take the chill out of your bones.

The butternut squash is a versatile and hearty vegetable that is ideal for soups, purees, roasting and in pies. At this time of the year with Halloween upon us the pumpkin is by far the most popular fruit; the butternut squash is a relative of the pumpkin and can be easily substituted in place of any dish calling for pumpkin.

For this warming Chilly Butternut Squash Soup you will need:

  • 1 Butternut squash, seed removed and cubed
  • 2 large Carrots diced
  • 1 medium Parsnip diced
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1 large potato chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • Half Dutch Chilli
  • 1 litre of veg stock
  • Salt/Pepper to taste.

Fry off the onions, garlic and chilli in a large pan for two minutes, you can use oil, butter or one-cal spray to reduce calories. Add in the potatoes, carrots and parsnip and give a good stir for 2 minutes. Then add the butternut squash and seasoning for a further 2 minutes before pouring in the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Blitz the soup in a processor or with a hand blender to desired consistency and add seasoning if required, for an extra kick also add some chilli flakes to really warm up the body!

It’s not just savoury dishes that call for Squash’s and Pumpkins, they work great in many desserts too. The pumpkin pie is an American favourite and a staple at Thanksgiving dinner over there. My favourite dessert using pumpkin is:

Easy Pumpkin Mousse:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 200 grams of caster sugar
  • 720ml Cream
  • 450 pumpkin pureed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. dark rum
  • 1 tsp. powdered gelatine
  • 90 grams shaved dark chocolate

Whisk the egg yolks with two tbsp. of sugar and 200ml of the cream, add to a saucepan over a medium-low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken and coat the spoon (appx 10mins). Pour into a bowl and sit in an ice bath in a larger bowl to cool down. When it has cooled, add the pumpkin, vanilla, spices and salt and stir together.

In a small bowl, add one tbsp. rum and the gelatine and stir, heat the other tbsp. of rum and stir into the mixture until the gelatine is dissolved then gently whisk it into the pumpkin mixture.

Whisk 125ml of the cream into stiff peaks and fold into the pumpkin, then add the mixture to a shallow dish, cover and chill for 8 hours.

Whisk the rest of the cream and sugar into stiff peaks. Add the pumpkin mix then the cream and repeat in layers in a large dessert bowl or in individual serving bowls. Grate the chocolate and sprinkle between the top two layers and serve chilled.

With Halloween coming up next week I have this nice and easy home baked treat for you to offer to those scary ghosts and gouls that will be calling to your door. These tasty Frankenstein Rice Krispie Square treats will look great and taste better, they are really simple to make and you can even have your own little goblins help you.

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 300 grams marshmallows
  • 150 grams rice krispie cereal
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring
  • 10 drops blue food coloring
  • Melted Chocolate/Candy Coating
  • Candy Eyes

In a large pan over a gentle heat, melt the butter, then add the marshmallows and slowly melt, stirring well. When it has melted add the food colouring and stir until it has turned green. Slowly add the rice krispies a little bit at a time and mix well. When all the rice krispies have been mixed in and coated, soon the mixture in to a square or rectangular tray that is lined with butter, press flat and let cool. After it has cooled cut into squares and set aside. Melt the chocolate and dip the top of one each square to act as the Frankenstein’s Hair and set on parchment paper. Then use some chocolate as ‘glue’ and stick on the candy eyes. Then pipe the remaining chocolate to make a stich mouth and set aside for the chocolate to set.

Chefs Tip, If you do not have a dessert pipe, use a zip lock bag, and cut a small hole in one corner, a handy kitchen hack!

That’s it for now from me readers, enjoy trying out these tasty Halloween treat recipes and try not to frighten too many kids with your scary Frankenstein squares!