Ingredients: If serving in pumpkins you will need:
4 x miniature pumpkins about 6cm in diameter, washed and dried
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and pepper
2 butternut squash, about 1.2kg, peeled and deseeded, cut into 4cm cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, grated
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
Sprinkle of dried marjoram
4 sprigs scented thyme
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 jalapeños slices, from a jar
3 mild red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1-litre hot chicken stock
2 x 300ml pots crème fraîche, one pot to blend in soup and one-pot reserved for serving at the end
4 thick slices granary or wholemeal bread
Halloween cutters of your choice (optional)
1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
2. For the soup: Toss the butternut squash in a large roasting tin with 1tbsp oil. Roast for 30 minutes until golden and soft, turning once during cooking.
3. If serving in miniature pumpkins: Reduce the oven to 180C/gas 4. Cut the tops of each pumpkin as if you are carving a Halloween pumpkin. Pull the carved top off, cutting off the flesh from inside the lid. Make sure you have carved a wide enough diameter in the pumpkin to make it usable as a bowl.
4. Scoop out the pulp and seeds of the pumpkin (see tips below). Brush the insides and the inside of the pumpkin lid with oil and season with salt and pepper. Try not to get oil on the outsides of the pumpkin as this leads to charing on the outside, this is fine but the pumpkins will not look so pretty.
5. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the inside is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while finishing the soup.
6. For the soup: While the mini pumpkins are cooking (if using) melt butter with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, stir in onions, carrots, ginger, a sprinkle of marjoram, thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, jalapeños and 2 chillies.
7. Cover and cook on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes until the onions are completely soft.
8. Tip the butternut squash into the pan, add 1-litre hot chicken stock and 300ml crème fraîche. Whizz with a stick blender until smooth. For a really smooth texture transfer the soup into a liquidiser and blitz it in batches.
9. Season to taste.
10. Serve ladled inside the mini pumpkins (if using) or bowls and garnish with a swirl of creme fraiche, reserved chillies and roasted pumpkin seeds (if using).
11. If liked toast or chargrill sliced bread and cut out Halloween shapes to serve with the soup.
Pumpkin seeds can be washed, dried and tossed in oil and seasoning of your choice and roasted at 180C/gas 4 for 10 minutes.
Any leftover pumpkin flesh can be chopped and frozen and added to soups, stews or pies at a later date.
Use vegetable stock to make a veggie soup.
Offcuts of the bread can be made into breadcrumbs and frozen.