Halloween is upon us and I couldn't believe my luck when I found a pumpkin here in Singapore, despite the fact that Halloween is not much of a tradition here (thank you generous S'porean friends, old and new, who I keep annoying with where to find this and where to buy that... what would I do without you!)!
Now, in any other situation, I wouldn't really care all that much if I went without pumpkin carving for a year, Halloween isn't really celebrated in Austria, either, so it's not like I'll sit here and weep if I can't run around the block in a witches costume and scratchy wig in 32C! But we're house-bound at the moment, quaranteened, if you will, and I promise I will spare you the details - suffice to say that after days of making spiders out of buttons and a few pipe cleaners and drawing gazillions of pumpkins, bats and witches, I had ONE pumpkin, TWO children and a LOT of time on my hand. And it's amazing how much you can get out of just one fruit!
First up and out: the seeds. This is a novelty for me, as I said, Halloween was a non-entity when I grew up and my farmer granddad always used to say "pumpkins are for the pigs". All I knew was the pumpkin seeds (and the oil made from it) which we bought in the shops - dark green kernels, already hulled. Imagine my surprise when I bought the seeds here and they came in their white shells!
So this year, with lots of time on my hands, I decided to recycle what would normally have ended up in the bin or, as in previous years, featuring as part of our scary pumkpin display - I can't find the picture right now, but it's basically a carved pumpkin "being sick"... you get the idea.
This recipe is incredibly easy to do, and there's a chance these beauties will be done before you finish carving - a lovely pre-dinner snack, tasty morsels that add some crunch to your salad or a spicy sprinkle on your pumpkin soup... they're so versatile, you'd be foolish to chuck them in the bin! (They're also a great home-made gift to bring along to dinner parties - stored in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, they'll easily keep for a few weeks!)