Monday, 19 October 2015

Pumpkin Fail and a Nice Day Out

Okay, I could lie and say that this was the result of many months of nurturing, tender loving care and quiet anticipation...


But I don't like porkies so this is the honest truth. The seed packet promised breath-takingly juicy, giant pumpkins in perfect time for Halloween. This is what I got...

Alan Titchmarsh must be quaking in his wellies

I tried really hard. Honest. I even dug out my flared dungarees and knitted sweater so I could fulfil my fantasy of being Barbara Good. But I've never been very green fingered, so what promised to be an encouraging start back in April...

Little pumpkin seedlings enjoying a warm windowsill

 And through the Summer months...

...sadly resulted in a less than impressive 'crop' of one pimple sized pumpkin.  I'm not sure what went so disastrously wrong but I'm quite sure the fat slugs and snails could provide the answer if they stopped chomping on my vegetation long enough to tell me.

So, it was with a heavy heart that I came to terms with the fact that there would be no homegrown pumpkins from which to create some delicious recipes to accompany Bree McCready and the Realm of the Lost.

Sandy and Honey's pumpkins turned out better than mine!

My stint at The Good Life taught me something. 

Gardening is like life. 

You have to be very patient, you have to get your hands dirty and you must deal with things that are out of your control. You need to be willing to put in rather a lot of effort even though the results might leave you frustrated and disappointed. The pleasure is very  much in the process and not in the end result and ultimately you have to sometimes admit defeat and move on. 

So, that's what I did.

All was not lost because my pumpkin fail provided the perfect opportunity for a nice day out with Junior. My plan had been to make Pumpkin and Lentil soup over on the Bake With Bree blog. I had all the ingredients I required except for the pumpkin, which, let's face it is a pretty important component for pumpkin soup. 

I knew the perfect substitute for homegrown was tinned and the only place I have ever been able to source good quality, organic pumpkin is Real Foods. They do Libby's and it's perfectly yum.

I've used this before in my Pumpkin Pie so I knew it would also work well in my soup. 

Now, it just so happens that Real Foods is situated across the road from "Our Special Cafe". We don't often go there as it involves a car and a tram ride but it was the last day of the October break so it felt right to kill two birds with one stone.

This is our special cafe...

Junior and I have had some lovely times at Cafe Nom de Plume. The atmosphere is great because it feels like sitting in someone's living room. You always get service with a smile. Good memories have been made here. I used to live in this part of the world so it's nice to visit again and show Junior where I spent my misspent youth.

Junior had the garlic bread with cheese (and brown sauce) and a raspberry milkshake...

I had a latte and a gingerbread cookie.

A day out at Cafe Nom de Plume (which incidentally means 'pen name' - a pseudonym adopted by an author) would not be complete without indulging in the gigantic bowl of popcorn and paprika. Junior has it every time. 

Here it is, a mountain of warm, salty popped corn.

I'll never manage all of that!

Fine, I'll give it a try then.

Taking a break halfway through for some hydration

Finally making a dent!
I can't manage another...single...piece...

On the way home I set Junior a challenge. Every time he spotted a pumpkin I would stop and take a picture. They were quite literally everywhere!

Lovely window display
Outside Real Foods
Pumpkins with an...erm, Christmas twist
Pumpkin overload

A pumpkin for a Munchkin
Literally a Munchkin Pumpkin

So it seems this is the perfect time to make Pumpkin and Lentil Soup. And very delicious it was too. Click here to get the recipe over on my Bake With Bree blog.

Thanks, Junior for making the day so special.  This is for you...

Sometimes I find it hard to believe I got something so incredibly right. I guess my boy is proof that I can grow and nurture something pretty spectacular. Single handedly, all by myself I have produced a perfect little pumpkin X