“Smudge, Maxine has asked us to carve a jack-o’-lantern and I have no idea what that is”
“Oh Ted, you know its one of those round orange things with a tealight inside”
“Now I am even more confused, what’s a tealight?”
“Ted sometimes you are really dumb”
“Well, I guess I’m more of the creative one in the pack, so go on tell me more”
“Ok Ted, it is a carved pumpkin. The top is cut off to form a lid, the inside flesh is scooped out, and an image — usually a monstrous or comical face – is carved out of the rind to expose the hollow interior. To create the lantern effect, a light source is placed within before the lid is closed. The light source is traditionally a flame such as a candle or tea light. How’s that?”
“I am going to surprise you now, I have just looked at Google and I can tell you that the term jack-o’-lantern was originally used to describe the visual phenomenon ignis fatuus (“foolish fire”) known as a will-o’-the-wisp in English folklore. Used especially in East England, its earliest known use dates to the 1660s”
“Let’s get carving, think I will carve your face into mine!”
Well, the pumpkins have arrived in Waitrose & Partners so we know that Autumn is well and truly here and this month we have one of our favourite Autumn traditions: Hallowe’en!
If you recall, last Hallowe’en all of the staff at Maxine Lester Residential had a go at designing their own Jack-o’-lantern pumpkin and asking our Facebook friends to vote for their favourite. Our Steph had the winning pumpkin, and we all made an awful sticky mass.
This year we will be asking our friends and clients to make the jack-o’-lanterns for us. On Friday 19th October we will be giving out pumpkins from our office in St Ives, and you will have one week to carve and get your pumpkins back to the office, OR to provide us with a photograph to put onto Facebook.
We will then post all of the entries onto our Maxine Lester Facebook Page and ask for votes. Then we will be giving £1 for every vote we receive to our chosen charity: Carers Trust Cambridgeshire.
If you want to use the flesh from your pumpkin, you can make our favourite Winter soup!
Perfect pumpkin soup
Recipe is courtesy of All Recipes
- 750g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 onions, cut into wedges
- 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large potato, sliced
- 1 litre water
- 2 or 3 cubes chicken stock, crumbled
- 250ml double cream
- 1 1/4 tablespoons ground nutmeg, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 220 C / Gas 7.
- Place pumpkin, carrots and onions in a baking dish or roasting tin. Drizzle with vegetable oil.
- Bake in preheated oven 40 minutes, until soft but not blackened.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring water and crumbled stock cubes to the boil. Cook potato in simmering water until soft, about 20 minutes.
- Combine potato and water with roasted vegetables and puree in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth. Return to pan over low heat and stir in cream, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Heat gently; serve.