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Vegetable Garden

Pumpkin Art – Time For Something Different?

October 25, 2014
Pumpkin Art - Are You Ready For Something Different?

“Green Man” Pumpkin

It never occurred to me to decorate a pumpkin at Halloween any other way than carving it, but Melissa from the Empress of Dirt blog recently published a post calling for entries to a pumpkin decorating competition where pumpkins are embellished rather than sculptured and it seems such a great idea.

Pumpkin Art - Are You Ready For Something Different?If you’ve ever carved pumpkins you’ll have noticed how quickly they go mouldy inside, yet when they’re left in one piece they’ll last for months, which is great if you’re wondering what you can cook up after the festive season that’s cheap, cheerful and healthy.

We usually carve one or two pumpkins at Halloween to hold tea lights on the windowsills, but I’ve friends and neighbours with several dotted around their homes and gardens. That’s a lot of pumpkin flesh to use up or freeze at a busy time of year. Embellishing the pumpkins can give you the best of both worlds – a decorated squash in October that you can eat at Christmas.

If you like the idea of creating a piece of pumpkin art and trying something different this year, Melissa has lots of examples that you can find here to give you some ideas.

Pumpkin Art - Are You Ready For Something Different?I opted for a natural, ‘green man’ look with the giant community garden squash that will be on display at Savour Kilkenny (using a glue gun to stick everything to the pumpkin).

If you’re in Kilkenny this weekend and would like to see it, the Kilkenny Community Garden Network will have a stand in the Leader Partnership marquee on Sunday, where we’ll be selling this seasons chutneys and jams, made by the gardeners from produce mostly sown and grown in Callan community garden this year.

I was planning to make an autumn door wreath but haven’t managed to, yet this seems to make up for it. Our eldest daughter wasn’t so keen on my ‘green’ pumpkin as she couldn’t see its orange skin behind the leaves but Mr G loved it as he’s always been a Green Man fan.

What do you think? Could you be persuaded to hang on to your pumpkin a bit longer, embellish it and perhaps make a soup from its flesh or roast the seeds in a couple of months time, or are you a carving traditionalist, something that was after all, supposed to have originated in Ireland?

Food & Drink

Parsnip Soup Recipe

February 6, 2011


Dug up by Mr G yesterday

This is one of the quickest soup’s I’ve ever made and if you’re a lover of parsnips (as we are), a great way of using them up if you have a few spare.

We like to eat thick soups in the colder months as they somehow seem more substantial and warming. All that means is that I don’t add as much stock as I would if I wanted a thinner soup.

The original recipe for this bakes the flour and Parmesan coated parsnips in the oven first, but as the cooker wasn’t fired up I skipped this part. I’m sure they would have tasted even more gorgeous prepared in this way.


Not sure how to tackle this one!

Four or five parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 litre chicken stock
Onion, chopped
Garlic, chopped
15g butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan (or similar) cheese


Melt the butter and soften the onion and garlic without colouring.  Add the parsnips, stock and seasoning and cook until the parsnips are soft which takes about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and liquidize. Pour into the bowls and grate some cheese on top.


Thick Parsnip Soup

Fair play to our children for trying this for the first time today. All three tried it, one loved it, one liked it then changed her mind, one wasn’t sure but ate it all anyway. 

Maybe next time I’ll try roasting the parsnips first and if I can stop myself from eating them at that stage, have a go at cooking the yummy sounding Roasted Parsnip and Parmesan Soup, in the meantime this was quicker than heating up a packet soup.