My partner said to me the other day that we shouldn’t be importing American celebrations like Halloween to Scotland. I had to disabuse him of that notion and remind him we’ve always celebrated Halloween in our house. Many believe that the Halloween tradition originates from a Celtic harvest festival and the Gaelic festival of Samhain. So it’s a very old tradition in Scotland and one we enjoy celebrating.
Scary Nights and Turnips
When I was growing up we would dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating. There would be the obligatory, ‘dookin’ (ducking) for apples, toffee apples, monkey nuts, scary stories and watching of black and White Boris Karloff horror movies. What we didn’t have then was pumpkins – they came along much later. We used turnips which in the country are in plentiful supply. However they are much harder to carve and begin to smell bad quite quickly. especially after you light the candle!. Turnips don’t make a really tasty soup and you can’t make a lovely pie out of turnip. Once pumpkins came along it was much easier. My mother would make pumpkin soup which was then frozen and served as the first course on Christmas day.
Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes
Today I’ll be making my pumpkin pie. I confess however that for pie making I buy pumpkin ready prepared in a tin. I’ll never make the Great British Bake-Off! This weekend I’ll gather a range of pumpkins and make soup. if your making soup, remember to roast your pumpkin first as it really does improve the flavour. I use a Jamie Oliver recipe, which uses some nice spices.
Of course Guy Fawkes night is just round the corner on the 5th November. Guy Fawkes has an interesting connection to the Border country. All will be revealed later this week. Lots of fireworks and bonfires to come and of course lots more opportunities to eat cake.
Have a very happy halloween. And now coffee.