Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
1kg chestnut pumpkin, halved, deseeded and chopped into large chunks (seeds reserved)
125g large onion, peeled and finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and left whole
100ml whipping cream
1 litre hot vegetable stock
30ml olive oil
15g butter, Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Warm up your oven to 180 degreesC. Place the pumpkin chunks on a baking tray along with half of its reserved seeds and throw in the garlic cloves. Drizzle oil over them, followed by a sprinkling of salt and toss to coat well.
Place in the hot oven to roast for half an hour or until the pumpkin turn fork-tender; set aside to cool. Scrape out the flesh from the pumpkin chunks and put them into a pot; throw away the skin. Press the garlic cloves firmly to squeeze out the flesh and throw it into the pot.
Melt butter in a clean saucepan and add in the roasted seeds. Add the sliced onion and sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they caramelise. Pour the stock into the pot and pulse into a smooth puree using a handheld blender; taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Simmer the soup for another minute or two until heated through while the cream is whipped with a dash of salt and lots of ground black pepper.
Divide the soup into individual bowls and add a dollop of whipped cream on top. Pile up the caramelized mixture on top of each serving and serve warm.
See our latest foodie delights at The Exmoor White Horse Inn
Whatever time of year I visit Exmoor there is something to look out for and today it’s the stunning colours and population of pheasants and partridges along the roadside. Bred locally these birds are fairly tame, seemingly with no fear of traffic, sadly! On this visit I am hoping also to catch sight and sound of the rut.
After an early lunch at the hotel I headed out of Exford on the Porlock road then took a right at Hill Head Cross following signs to Stoke Pero and Cloutsham. The wide open views across the hill to the right and below Dunkery generally show deer. With several walkers out today there were none here so I drove on over the cattle grid at Cloutsham Gate to find a good number of deer in the pastures across to the right and above the nearby farm. Over forty hind with three young stags and one much older. He seemed at ease to graze around nipping the grass, his coat a vivid russet-red in the direct sunlight.
A Buzzard skirted the sky here, riding the thermals until he was gone. I watched him for some time then feeling cold from a sharpness in the air I drove back to Exford. A cream tea at the Exmoor White Horse Inn was a most welcome to warm up before heading over the Dunkery Road to Webbers Post. Looking across the open views here shows the differing shapes, sizes and colours of the trees which clothe the steep valley slopes especially now enriched with the fire colours of the changing leaves. The vast and glorious ancient oak Exmoor woodland here is an important sight for mosses ferns and litchen. Also home to Pied-flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Redstart, Dipper and many more plus several bat species.
Shrivelled fronds of bracken everywhere, a reminder of season’s change as is walking amongst dry crumpled leaves, reflecting on my day.
Sherryl Woods …………………………..3 November 2014
Enjoy the flavour of the west in our warm and inviting restaurant where we encourage you to take your time over every meal. Indulge in our five-course menu rich in pheasant, partridge and venison from the Moor, locally caught trout, salmon and lobster and organic produce from surrounding farms.
Our famed Carvery menu is available most evenings and of course for Sunday lunch. With tempting puddings and cheeses, which are hard to resist, and a selection of fine wines, vintage ports and liqueurs to finish off every meal, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
To book a table ring 01643 831229. Visit our new website to see our latest menu The Exmoor White Horse Inn
During a recent stay at The Exmoor White Horse Inn I took a pre-supper circular walk in the village via Court Farm. Entering the village car park with the school on my left and River Exe on my right I always check out the stream here and overhanging trees as earlier this year they gave me a good view of a Nuthatch family. None today but some Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird and Flycatcher showing. Continuing on into the field I kept close to the river being Dipper territory as they nest upstream.
Soon I spotted one on a stone bobbing continuously as they do. It saw me too and flew low upstream on a loud call. Through a gate, the river widens to a fairly deep pool where I sat to watch the trout and feel the quietness there. On a patch of gravel at the water’s edge a Grey Wagtail came with a high-pitched metallic call. A very pretty bird with distinctive yellow underparts. Whilst there a Kingfisher landed on an overhanging branch opposite me but didn’t stay to fish.
Before walking on a farmer and his dog arrived in the field behind me to move the sheep on. I am a fan of the ‘One Man and His Dog’ program so watched the collie control the flock with whistles and shouts with huge interest awarding maximum points!. Moving on the water quickens falling over large rocks in the river and then another gate found me at Court Farm Bridge where a Public Footpath signpost offers Higher Combe and Lyncombe a mile each to the left.
Usually I spend some time on the bridge where Dippers feed in the fast water. Today, however, some chaps were working under the bridge to dam the water away from the left bank to repair the wall. Whilst using nets to rescue young trout trapped in the shallow water they also found Crayfish. Being predators these didn’t go to my ‘tick list’ but interesting to see them. Following on over the bridge and to the right in the County Road direction narrows uphill with pretty hedges either side. Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Hazelnut and bearing fruit and below them the Foxgloves now dying back into the bracken and gone to seed. Looking through the hedge to the right it was interesting to see how high I now was from the River Exe where I had earlier walked.
This road at the top then widened to a grass triangle where I took a right turn down the hill to the hotel bridge. The whole walk including bird-watching and sheepdog intervals took around 2 hours and certainly gave me a good appetite for my supper and being a Thursday it was ‘Pie Night’ at The Exmoor White Horse .
Sherryl Woods …………….6 October 2014