Sunday 23 October 2011


Trying to catch up with a minimum level of fitness I do a gruelling gym yesterday and a couple of long walks today. The autumn has set in properly - the devil has p*ssed on the blackberries (as country folk charmingly put it) so Mrs Blog has moved on to collecting chestnuts, her only serious competitors being the local Chinese community (well, one family actually) so there is plenty to go around.

Of course there's nothing better than just roasting them on the fire but if you want to keep them pop them in boiling water for five minutes and the skin can then be cut away easily and you can freeze the edible insides - quite a valuable crop. Ours is being saved to stuff the Christmas bird and some other delicacies.

This is also the time for pumpkins which are fun for Halloween but should also be used to make this fabulously creamy and yet not at all unhealthy soup...

Toss 2 lbs pumpkin flesh (cut into chunks)and 6 whole unpeeled garlic cloves in some olive oil then roast at 400F for half an hour. Meanwhile finely chop two onions and 2 celery sticks and fry in the bottom of a large saucepan in some more oil. Add 2 1/2 pints of good chicken stock (best you can manage - the quality will depend on this), 2 oz rice, plus the pumpkin and garlic (remove the skin first); simmer for 15 minutes then blitz in a processor (or whatever you use) until creamy. Season well and reheat to serve with some parsley on top.

You can add a bit of cream when you serve to fancy it up but there's really no need. If you don't like garlic or you are vegetarian best find another recipe - you'll need some other flavours and there are plenty of variants on-line although they won't be as good as this one.


So the French put up a good fight but went down to the favourites. What might have been if we had made the final as justice demanded! Ho hum.