Pumpkins are not just for Halloween

Whilst your family is dressing up for Halloween and enjoying the fun, you as an expectant mum need to keep up your healthy regime. Kill two birds with one stone and use that pumpkin goodness for a beautiful autumn soup that will delight your family and friends… and even the hubby!

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Roasted pumpkin soup recipe

What you’ll need…

• 1.5kg edible pumpkin
• Olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried chilli
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 large onion
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 carrot
• 1 stick of celery
• 1 litre hot vegetable stock

How to do it…

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Half the pumpkin and remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), then chop into wedges. Place the pumpkin on two large baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil. In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely ground. Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some black pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft and slightly caramalised at the edges.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat a lug of olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet but not coloured.

easy pumpkin soup blending

When the squash is ready, add to the pan with the hot stock. Blend with a stick blender, adding a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.

Ladle into bowls and add you favourite toppings. Enjoy!

Sober as a judge? Not a problem at Bills.

If you are anything like me the first few weeks of knowing your pregnant can be tricky adjusting to not having that glass of red after a long day at work. But knowing you are pretty lucky to be pregnant certainly helps! The challenge really comes when you go out with friends and the only options open to you are water or orange juice. You don’t necessarily mind not drinking, but you don’t want to feel ostracised… feeling part of the party isn’t much to ask.

Bill's Restaurant St Albans Hertfordshire

Bill’s Restaurant, St Albans city centre eatery in Hertfordshire

Last weekend we had the exciting task of meeting with our best friends and their gorgeous 4 month old (I’m still holding back identities until we’ve reached 12 weeks) to tell them all about our news. Knowing the little fella would be with us we were looking for a lunch venue in St Albans that would be baby friendly and I was keen to see if they would be pregnancy friendly, so we decided on Bill’s on Chequer Street in the main city centre.

Our initial impression was a little concerning as they had placed us in possibly the worst location with a pushchair and 4 month old, next to the whirling oversized trays of hot food being danced through the restaurant by very busy waiters on a Saturday afternoon. We had booked 3 days earlier and informed them we would need a location for the pushchair but I think the Saturday madness had forced us to an unsuitable table. Luckily the very helpful host and waitress speedily cleared a table that had just emptied in the corner and we were quickly seated. I have to say that is the only negative I have to say, the remainder of our lunch was absolutely delightful.

DYClMORCTHqGN%lIBn70LQAfter receiving the drinks menu I looked at it anxiously avoiding the lovely looking cocktails and tempting wines to be pleasantly surprised at the over whelming non-alcoholic drinks offering. Not only did they have the regular classics of Virgin Bloody Mary, Elderflower Presse and Tropical Smoothies but also new to the market Alt-Gin Ceder’s which certainly could fool the biggest fan of the popular Hendricks Gin and Tonic. There certainly needs to be more restaurants like Bill’s that look to expand their non-alcoholic offering. It would be great to celebrate with friends with a glass of non-alcoholic bubbles but I am yet to find a bar or restaurant to ever stock any. I will have to stick to juice and water for most places and be pleasantly surprised when I get a bit more choice.

Thanks Bills, St Albans, I will certainly be frequenting your venue over the next 8 months a fair bit.