Friday, 30 October 2015

Pumpkin Risotto

Fun fact: this year is only the second time I've celebrated Halloween.  Last year, I went to my university's media areas Halloween social in the bar of our local theatre.  I was supposed to be dressed up as a naughty fairy princess (legitimate thing.  She's called Esmeralda.  I also dressed up as a younger version of her when I was 5 and a half for a school disco), but when I arrived at my friend's house to get changed for the social, I couldn't find my necklaces and headband in my bag.  Panicking that I had lost the black and gold sequin necklaces and headband that my mum made for me when I was 5 forever, I quickly rang her and much to my relief, I'd actually left them in my pencilcase on my bed.  I still went as a very unglamorous naughty fairy princess (black top, black tights and gold skirt) though.  This year (tomorrow) for Halloween, I'm going to archery in the morning, and then to a friend's to watch a couple of films (much like I did 2 weeks ago, and this week's choices are Repo! The Genetic Opera and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, both also being musicals).  We're then going with our friends to perform at the Red Ribbon Society's open mic night, where we will sing songs such as This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Time Warp from Rocky Horror.  Finally, we're going to another friend's house for a little Halloween social.  The plan for my costume is a magic broom similar to the ones seen in the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence of Fantasia, but if I don't manage to borrow a yellow skirt, I'm going to go as Jafar from Aladdin!  What/who is anybody else dressing up as for Halloween?  If you're hosting a Halloween party, maybe you need something savoury to serve to your guests before you eat all the chocolate.  I found this pumpkin risotto recipe on the BBC Good Food website and it seems easy enough for me!


1 small pumpkin or butternut squash - after peeling and scraping out the seeds, you need about 400g/14oz
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a drizzle for the pumpkin
2 garlic cloves
8 spring onions
25g vegan margarine, such as Pure
200g risotto rice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 litre hot vegetable stock, plus an extra splash if needed
small handful coriander, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius OR 160 degrees Celsius when using a fan oven OR gas mark 4.  Chop up the pumpkin/squash into 1.5cm cubes.  Place the cubes onto a baking tray, drizzle over some oil, then roast for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, to make the risotto, put the garlic into a sandwich bag, then crush lightly with a rolling pin.
  3. Cut up the spring onions with a pair of scissors.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the margarine in your pan over a medium heat, but ensure it does not get too hot.  Add the spring onions and garlic.  Once the onions are soft but before they begin to brown, add the rice and cumin.  Stir well to coat in the buttery mix for about 1 minute.
  5. Add half a cup of the vegetable stock, and stir at intervals until it has all been absorbed by the rice.  Continue to add the stock and stir it in until you have used up all the stock - this should take about 20 minutes.
  6. Check that the rice is cooked.  If it isn't, add a splash more of the vegetable stock, and continue to cook for a few more minutes.  When the rice is soft enough to eat, gently stir in the chopped coriander and roasted pumpkin.

P.S. I managed to go to the UBU Green Thursdays pumpkin-carving event after my RamAir show and a group project meeting, and carved a pumpkin for the first time.  I soon found that it was a very messy affair once I started trying to scoop the flesh out with my fingers.  I didn't do a particular specialised design on my pumpkin, while one of my friends (Emma) did the face of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas on one side of her pumpkin, and the Deathly Hallows symbol on the other side (she's a big Harry Potter fan).  Rachel from archery did a bat on one side of her pumpkin and a witch riding on her broomstick past the moon on the other side.  I'll be bringing a few more pumpkin-based recipes from my new recipe cards soon!

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