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October 2010

Enchanted Pumpkin Soup


Every Halloween I make this delicious soup when I want to begin the meal with a harvest flavour. It can be served many different ways, but in my mind, it looks just wonderful in a Armetale or other pewter type bowl or even a large hollowed out pumpkin that has been gilded with edible silver or gold leaf. It's a very easy trick, and you can find the edible leaf along with the directions for it's application at Sur La Table or any other fine cooking store.

My recipe is actually very simple and the ingredients are readily available especially this time of year. I'll make no claims here that this is health food though...forget your diet for just one evening!

Take a chunk of really good butter and melt it in your cauldron. Add several chopped spanish onions and a shallot or two! Saute the onions until they are translucent and add 3 large cans of cooked pumpkin and several quarts of really good chicken stock. Bring the whole of it to a simmer and let the flavours brew! The magical ingredient here is...PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!! I whisk in a cup of it or even more depending on the taste. After it has simmered for about 20 minutes, stir in a quart of organic half and half. I always use organic milk or cream if possible because I've discovered that the texture is much finer and the taste is just much better. Add salt and pepper to taste and about a tablespoon of good curry powder or pumpkin pie spice if you like it! You can also add a 1/4 of a cup of Calvado's  if you'd like. I've also made this soup with butternut squash and acorn squash, halved and roasted with butter,olive oil,cinnamon and a bit of real maple syrup. I usually roast about 4 large squash to get the amount of pulp that I need. The canned squash just doesn't seem to have the nutty flavour that the roasted does and the texture is exquisite. this will take some extra time, but I promise you that it's worth it. A bloody red glass of wine and a bit of moldy cheese while you're waiting should make the task really bearable, let alone the aroma of the roasting squash!

This soup will stand alone as a meal with a tossed salad with some ripe pear,pecans and warm camembert cheese or as a starter for  any beautifully roasted meat. A Black and Tan (that delectable combination of Guinness Stout and Bass Pale Ale) or some good sparkling apple cider would be very satisfying as well.  

Halloween Radio!

If you haven't discovered Halloween Radio yet you are missing out on some of the creepiest fun to be had this Halloween season! I'm having a party on Sunday night (as I'm sure that many of you are!) and I've been trying to assemble the ultimate spooky dance mix. Halloween Radio has already done it for me with one station devoted to atmosphere (read chainsaws, screaming cats and witches howls!) and another that has  all of the wonderful scary tunes that you remember! Two sides of the house, two computers and I'm all set for a wonderfully spooky time!  

HAlloween radio
Screenshot taken from  the Halloween Radio site

Histoires de Parfums and Sniffapalooza Magazine's DEFILE NEW YORK Five Free Bottle Giveaway!

Fresh off of the presses from this months issue of Sniffapalooza Magazine! Don't miss this wonderful offer to win a free bottle of Histoires de Parfums fabulous new scent ; DEFILE NEW YORK! This is a photograph so the links don't work. Click Here  to be taken directly the magazine where you'll find the entry form!

Screen shot 2010-10-15 at 10.27.31 revised

And the winner of the 2009 Windesphere Witch Holiday Fruitcake recipe contest is...Lisa Corcoran

 It was brought to my attention this morning in the politest way possible that I completely forgot to crown last years winner of my holiday fruitcake recipe contest. I  am so embarrassed,  last year was a very tough year for me during the holidays as my 91 year old father got very ill and I am the local caregiver. I have no excuse, except to say that I totally forgot to complete the contest. I am grateful for the chance to rectify my mistake and would like to thank Lisa Corcoran for her absolutely delicious Hawaiian Fruitcake recipe! She is the recipient of a lovely gift certificate from Williams Sonoma just in time for the beginning of this years holiday baking season!

This delicious recipe was submitted by Lisa Corcoran!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                            Hawaiian Fruitcake

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     3/4           cup  sugar
     3/4           cup  flour
     3/4      teaspoon  salt
     1/4      teaspoon  baking powder
     1/4      teaspoon  baking soda
  2               cups  pitted dates -- (10 ounces)
  1                cup  glaced pineapple pieces -- (8 ounces)
  1                cup  macadamia nuts -- chopped
  3                     eggs
     1/2      teaspoon  brandy extract

Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  Grease 9"x5"x3" loaf pan and line bottom with greased paper.  In large bowl mix sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir in dates, pineapple and nuts; coat with mixture.

Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored.  Fold into fruit mixture. (There will be just enough batter to really coat the fruit and nuts -- this is okay).

Turn into loaf pan; bake 1 1/2 hours.  

Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Turn onto wire rack and peel of paper to finish cooling.

Note:  If you want a liquor-infused fruitcake in the traditional way, use rum. 



Announcing the 2010 Windesphere Witch Halloween Decorating Contest!

Decorating contest collage

In the spirit of the season I hope that you'll join me for the 2nd annual Windesphere Witch Halloween Decorating contest. It's simple to enter....just email pictures of your seasonal decorations as well as your mailing address  to me at [email protected]  no later than  the stroke of midnight, October the 30th. The winner will be announced and pictures of their lair will be posted on this blog on Samhain eve. If you're the lucky one, you'll receive a 50.00 dollar gift certificate from World Market!  This year, there will be a runner up prize ....a one year subscription to the new Food Network Magazine! So grab your brooms and dust off your cauldrons..Let the bewitching begin!

And..for a bit of inspiration......