Guest Submission: Esmé’s Veggie Stuffed Punpkin

VEGGIE STUFFED PUMPKIN

Tonight’s supper is ghee (butter) fried prawns with veggie stuffed baby pumpkin. My husband is having is without cheese so his is sprinkled with nutmeg. Mine is covered in melted cheese

Ingredients
1 baby pumpkin halved and seeded
1 stock cube
4 Tblspns ghee (butter)
1/2 head broccoli cut into florets
1 cup frozen mixed veg
1 spring onion
1 small green pepper
1 small yellow pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
Crack of Himalayan pink salt
Vegetable spice
Grated cheese (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)

Method:
Boil the brocoli in the stock till just tender.
Drain and cook the pumpkin in the same water till the flesh is soft.
Set aside on a baking tray and rub with some butter or ghee.
Season and add the spices.
Fry the veg in the rest of the ghee then combine with the broccoli and fill the pumpkin halves.
Top with cheese or nutmeg then bake at 200C for 20 mins

Guest Blogger: Esmé’s Butternut Soup

Ingredients:
Soup greens cut into small pieces – leeks, onion, celery, potato, parsnips, turnips, carrots and quite a lot of Butternut cut into also small cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable stock powder (I use Kosher Feigels or Thelma vegetable cubes – 2)
1 tablespoon onion stock powder (Feigels)
Salt and pepper

Method:
Put into big pot on stove (I use a quick boil non spill lid) to make the process quicker.
Fill with water till covering all the vegetables plus about 2 cups extra.
Let boil until vegetables are soft. A lot of the liquid will boil away.
When ready, I use a blender stick to blend all together till smooth.
Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
For 2 of us, this makes enough for 5 meals so I decant into Tupperware x 5 and freeze and take out when needed. It is yummy.
Enjoy!

Guest Submission: Esmé’s Kale, Butternut and Beet Salad

Kale, Butternut and Beet Salad

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 very large onion, sliced into large pieces
5 cloves garlic, sliced into long slivers. I actually use a very large tablespoon full of minced garlic – we love garlic! ♥
2 bunches kale, cut into bite-sized pieces, stems removed
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Brown sugar
Extra Olive oil as needed
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme (fresh will also work)

Method:
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place the butternut in a baking tray lined with tinfoil, in a single layer and sprinkle with oil, then season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Repeat the previous step with the beets, but here I sprinkled it with brown sugar.
Bake both trays in the preheated oven until tender, ±20 to 30 minutes. We prefer the veggies to still have a bit of crunch to it, so be cautious not to over cook it.
Set both baking trays aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat ±1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Cook the onion and garlic until it starts to caramelize. Continue to cook while stirring until golden brown, at least 15 minutes and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Now add the kale to your skillet (add oil if needed) and cook until wilted and tender – it only takes about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave the kale to cool to room temperature.
In a large serving dish, add the butternut, beet and onions in three separate heaps and then add the kale and gently mix till combined.
Mix the apple cider vinegar with a bit more pepper and the thyme and pour over your veggie mixture.

If you prefer you can use yams instead of butternut, and any type of vinegar you prefer.

Sinister Countdown: The Darkest Night- Fanni Suto

This is the darkest night of the year for us; the night of dead souls, screams and dancing will o’ wisps: All Hallow’s Eve. The unpronounceable fear descends on us and in the cold night we mourn our lost ones. We murmur the ancient prayer of our kind as the darkness draws closer:

“Save us from the grinning death

Keep us from the flashing knives

Let our soul not turn to light.

Hold us through this fateful night.”

And we shudder in our warm beds, cuddling together as much as we can. We can hear their footsteps, they’re coming to reap us. They don’t need our flesh – they rip us apart because an ancient tradition demands so. Also for the fun of it. We can’t escape. If you’re picked, you’re damned. The rest of us can do nothing to save you. We are taught to think of the taken as a sacrifice, they give their souls to save the rest of us. The monsters tear their souls out and throw it away. Why? Because they want to replace it with a feeble flame, a candle shining its treacherous light through the mutilated faces of our brothers. Their horrible grimaces cast a shadow over our huddling forms and we tremble, fearing the next Halloween.

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Bio: Fanni Sütő writer, poet, translator and the proud owner of a growing number of novels-in-progress. She publishes in English and Hungarian and finds inspiration in reading, paintings and music. She writes about everything which comes in her way or goes bump in the night. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants.
Previous publications include: The Casket of Fictional Delights, Tincture Journal, Enchanted Conversation. Paris Lit Up 5.
Website: www.inkmapsandmacarons.com
Twitter: @Fanni_Pumpkin

Guest Submission: Esmé’s

BEETROOT & FIG SALAD WITH ROASTED RADISHES

The best ever salad, with fresh figs and yummy beetroot topped with all the healthy goodness of pumpkin and sunflower seeds!!
Ingredients:
6-8 medium sized beetroots, peeled and cut into wedges
125ml sugar
125ml balsamic vinegar
125ml boiling water
60ml olive oil
100ml pumpkin seeds
100ml sunflower seeds
1 bunch radishes, well rinsed and leaves trimmed off
8-12 ripe purple figs, broken open (we could not get fresh purple figs, so used store-bought dried figs)
2-3 handfuls rocket or baby salad leaves
100ml dried cranberries

Parmesan shavings (omit for vegan, or as we did, only add to the one side of the salad)

Method:
Boil the beetroot in the sugar, vinegar, and water until tender and syrupy.
Allow cooling completely. Season with salt & black pepper.
Heat half the olive oil and roast the seeds slowly until they start to puff up.
Remove from the heat and season with coarse salt. Allow cooling.
Mix the radishes with the remaining olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
Roast for a few minutes under the hot grill, it gives them a lovely texture.
To assemble, arrange the beetroot, radishes, and figs in-between the leaves, then sprinkle the cranberries, seeds and Parmesan cheese on top.
Serve with olive oil & extra balsamic vinegar.

Guest Submission: Esmé’s Eggless Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

Flax egg  used for those who have allergies and must follow an egg-free diet

When I first read the ingredients I was scared, I won’t lie, because the recipe asked for pumpkin puree and I have never seen it anywhere in the local supermarkets, but thanks to my all-time faithful good friend google, I discovered that I can make my own homemade puree, by steaming pumpkin cubes in a little water until soft and then use a masher, and mash it until there are no lumps and hey presto I have homemade pumpkin puree.

Ingredients for the cake batter:
2 cups cake flour.
1 cup caramel brown sugar.
½ cup castor sugar.
1 tsp baking powder.
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
½ tsp salt.

2 tsp cinnamon powder.
½ tsp nutmeg powder.
½ tsp ginger powder.
½ tsp cloves powder.
337g pumpkin puree.
1 tsp vanilla essence.
¼ cup vegetable oil.
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar.
1 flax egg.

Method:
Make the flax egg (1 x tbsp. crushed linseed mixed with 3 x tbsp. boiling water and set aside).
Sift the cake flour into a bowl.

Add the spices and both sugars and give it a good stir.
Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla essence, cooking oil, white wine vinegar and your flax egg.
Whisk till well combined.
Pour into a lightly greased 20cm cake pan.
Tap to remove any bubbles.
Pop into a preheated oven and bake at 180 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.

Ingredients for the butter cream icing:
450g sifted icing sugar.
112g margarine.
1 tsp vanilla essence.
2 tbsp. soy milk.
1 tsp cinnamon powder.

Method:
Cream the margarine, add a little icing sugar in at a time and whisk till it starts to resemble bread crumbs.
Add the vanilla essence, soy milk and cinnamon powder.
Whisk until well combined and the mixture comes together.

To assemble to cake:
Cut the cake into two layers.
Place one layer down on your cake board and generous layers the icing.
Place the second layer of cake on top of the icing.
Generously ice the top layer of the cake and decorate with chopped walnuts.

Sinister Countdown: The Preserve by L. Stevens

The Preserve

Sarah planted both hands on the railing of the boardwalk and peered down at the murky water and ferns. The signs for the preserve had advised to look down at the water as well as out at the trees to spot wildlife. So far, she had only spotted a tangle of wilting pink balloons ensnared in a cypress tree.

She sighed, hoping to spot an alligator, or at least a wading bird before leaving. When she spotted the small, pink sneaker sticking out the mud instead, she leaned closer, fearing the worst. It wasn’t until the little girl sat up from the muck, a crimson gash contrasting with her grey, sallow skin, that Sarah began to scream in earnest.

Author Bio:

L. Stevens lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two dogs. When she isn’t writing, she is exploring local sites for inspiration and watching morbid amounts of true crime documentaries.

You can read more from L. Stevens here.

Last Call: Guest Bloggers Needed!

Photo by Michael Erickson

Hello All!

This is a call to all writers who would like to be featured on The Ink Owl during the month of October! I am looking for guest writers who love to create terrifying short stories and poems, also those bloggers out there who like to cook!

In keeping with the Ink Owl’s Halloween theme tradition throughout the month of October submissions must have a Halloween theme, feel, or presence.

Submission requirements are as follows:

Short Story submissions: must be between 50 to 700 words long, and can be horror, suspense, thriller, or mystery themed.

Poetry submissions: Poems must be 1 to 100 lines long and can be horror, suspense, thriller, or mystery themed.

Food/recipe submissions: Please no posts with a million pictures per recipe step. That being said I do love pairing pictures to recipes, so submit up to three per recipe.

For each submission an author bio and picture are encouraged for readers to learn and enjoy more about those submitting. Please leave a link to your website or blog to link submissions back to you.

Please submit poems, short stories, or recipes to michael.erickson512@gmail.com by September 30th through the contact page. if you’d like to read more Halloween type posts, check out the Sinister Countdown page.

-M.E. Inkowl