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Percy Pumpkin Soup, version 2, 15p a portion, and top quality singing for the price of an internet connection
Rubber Chicken (4), Chicken and Pea Risotto 84p a portion

I am a little confused today. I went to a WI garden group meeting yesterday, on Thursday. It’s usually on a Wednesday, like most other WI things, so today, I am disoriented

It was a particularly enjoyable meeting. We met at one members house and displayed our carved pumpkins. My entry Percy Pumpkin above. Then we enjoyed a talk from two ladies who had entered a garden in the Artisan Garden part at Chelsea Flower Show, and won a Gold medal! They told us about how they did it, all the favours they called in, and a bit about the background of doing a garden.

Then we went two doors down to another members house, where we had lovely home made cake and tea, and, of course, lots of lively chatter.

The two hostesses had throughtfully provided a pumpkin soup recipe to use up Percy’s innards. So that is what I made for lunch today. It’s a lovely creamy, spicy soup. Filling and satisfying. With lots of possible variations too. We had it with some hot crusty bread, straight from the oven. Yum.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup
1 Tblsp oil, £1.25/litre 2p
an onion, chopped, 5p
the innards of a carved pumpkin, probably 200g, Asda £1.50 per pumpkin, 1/8 = 20p
clove garlic, 5p
tsp grated ginger, Asda TRS brand, £1.00/300g, 2p
tbslp curry powder, Asda Rajah brand hot or mild Madras 65p/100g, 5p
100g red lentils, £1/500g 20p
tin of coconut milk, Asda 74p/400ml
Total £1.33, serves 4, 33p a portion

Cook the onions in the oil until transparent. Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and sizzle for a minute. Add the pumpkin, lentils and 400ml water. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and whizz everything until smooth. If you use coconut powder instead of milk, add the equivalent of a canful of water. Add more water if you think it is too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The ladies suggest sprinkling over toasted pumpkin seeds or toasted coconut to serve.

I used some of the coconut powder I have masses of, it would make no sense to buy a tin. If you do this too, I have found that powdered coconut splits if it is boiled, so I add it at the end.

I thought it needed a little acidity (I may have added too much coconut) so added a generous squeeze of lemon.

You can leave out the red lentils, or add any other cooked bean. Leave them whole, whizz them up or do half and half. The curry can be anything at all. So a tblsp of any curry paste, say Balti, Rogan Josh or Jalfrezi, or any curry powder mix. Or you could use any separate powders. If I was doing that, I would use a tsp each of coriander, cumin and turmeric, and a bit of chilli from the greenhouse.

I am using up apples in absolutely everything at the moment, so I added 4 tiny ones, just quartered and cored, not peeled – too small!

You could leave out the coconut and add more water, or use half a tin. Some leftover roasted vegetables would be lovely in this. Or if you haven’t got any Percy innards to use up, you could chop up a pumpkin, or part of it, rub some oil in and roast it. No need to peel, you can scrape that off when its cooked.

Right, I’m off to get ready to go out. A friend has scored some Glyndebourne tickets and we’re going to see Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten. We’re having tea in the restaurant there beforehand too. We decided against dinner. The performance is an early one, so dinner before would have been very early, and it’s £35 a head, and not that special. So tea it is, which will be lovely.

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Percy Pumpkin Soup, version 2, 15p a portion, and top quality singing for the price of an internet connection
Rubber Chicken (4), Chicken and Pea Risotto 84p a portion
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