Witch’s Brew and Scary Stories
After the brief scare that we’d completely skipped fall and moved into winter with a decent dusting of snow, it feels like fall is in full swing. The days have a chill in the air, even when they are 70, and the neighborhoods are filled with the rattling sound of leaves getting blown down the street. This time of year is always my favorite, I love the colors and the weather, and of course I love Halloween! I love the decorations, the outfits, and of course trick-or-treating. Ironically what I don’t like is anything truly scary. I’ve never been a fan of horror and tend to get scared easily. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good vampire movie (of the non-sparkle variety) and some of the scarier Doctor Who episodes and villains are some of my favorites. I decided that on this lovely fall day that I would make a hearty squash soup and reminisce about my favorite scary episodes. Pull up a blanket, turn the lights down low, and let’s take a trip together. Before I get started down the episode list though I better start making the soup. Step 1 for that is to cut up and roast an acorn squash!
Such a pale set of acorn squash…..a nice long roast is the perfect thing! Okay, now on the episodes!
The Empty Child (Season 1 Episode 9)
As I mentioned in my last post, this I think was the first episode that creeped me out. The dark episode, the war zone, and of course the people in gas masks. For the last comic con, a wonderful little whovian dressed up like the creepy child. Let me tell you, there were a significant number of people who were weirded out. There was a moment in the elevator with her, her dad, and a random stranger. Guy walked out of the elevator shuddering saying “That’s just creepy”. So it’s not just me!
Tooth and Claw (Season 2 Episode 2)
This one is even fitting of the Halloween season! Werewolves, the queen, and some very scary monks. This one is just so classic that I love it, but of course has the twists and turns of a Doctor Who episode. There was a conversation a while ago about why Vampires and Werewolves always seem to be at odds with one another…now I know that there are no vampires in this episode, but it still makes me wonder, seems like every movie that has to two of them together they are against each other rather than being on the same side against humanity. What do you guys think? And what do you think of the episode?
The Idiot’s Lantern (Season 2 Episode 7)
This episode is a combination of a little creepy with the face removal and general uneasiness as it can sometimes hit close to home. Being an introvert and an avid knitter, I have spent a lot of time in front of the TV. I’ve tried doing audiobooks, and I do listen to them when I’m doing laundry or working in the yard. But when I get to knitting or cooking I find that I get too interrupted to really listen to the book I’m reading, so I turn on the TV. I watch movies, new TV shows, old TV shows. When I work late I just come home, turn it on and veg out. Millions of Americans (myself included) often eat dinner at the TV rather than at a dining table. So this episode always gets me thinking. Am I watching too much? Have I gotten “sucked in”? Will the world pass me by and I’ll just be another faceless person? It’s something to consider…though not while there’s Doctor Who or soup to be thinking about!
Look at that squash!
My soup is coming along nicely. The squash is now well roasted and the flesh scooped out into a bowl (now doesn’t that sound ghoulish?) I’ve now added to a pot some butter and wondrous aromatics: onions, garlic, celery and carrots. I may have gone overboard with the onions, but I am hoping they will counteract the sweetness of the acorn squash, not to mention I do love onions (now that I’m not a child that is). I also added purple carrots. They bring up such a lovely color, and did you know that originally all carrots were rainbow colored? White, yellow, orange, and purple? But at some point marketing and/or consumers started only buying orange ones and that’s why you only saw orange in the stores until the last few years or so when the organic “novel” rainbow colors started coming back!
As those sweat out in the pot, let’s move on to other episodes.
Blink (Season 3 Episode 10)
This one is of course the one that everyone is going to think about when they think of scary, and for sure this one (unlike some of the others I’ve talked about) brought back the raw fear in an episode. Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. Have you ever tried to keep your eyes open? Not just in watching something without looking away but to actually not blink a single blink? It’s incredibly difficult and if you think your life is going to depend on it, I think it’s even more difficult. There’s no way I would survive. And then the ending!! The disappearing phone box, and the last few moments pointing out that there are statues all around us, every day. And I swear some of them do move! Though that may be because of my cat….
Silence in the Library (Season 4 Episode 8)
‘Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark. But they’re wrong. Because it’s not irrational. It’s Vashta Nerada.’
Nothing like the Doctor telling us that our fear of the dark, a fear we are born with and are told to grow out of, isn’t irrational, isn’t something we should have grown out of, but something to continue to fear! The dust specks are really a swarm of flesh eating aliens. Oh and they aren’t not here on earth, but rather in small enough swarms that they won’t kill you. Makes you think twice about the random scrape on your arm or that dark alley. So thanks for that Doctor.
Midnight (Season 4 Episode 10)
This one seems to truly frighten the Doctor. In most cases there is some dangerous and terrifying situation and the Doctor is not only calm and cool but he appears to even be enjoying himself! But not towards the end of Midnight, when his voice is stolen and everyone starts to turn on him. It’s a fear we all have, that everyone will suddenly be against us, and even a fear that we can’t speak out. Either in defense of us or in defense of others. It’s something that haunts us that is there on screen in front of is. I think even the fact that the Doctor himself is scared makes it even more real, even more terrifying.
Break time. I’ve now added the squash, and some diced potatoes into the pot along with a quart of my homemade chicken stock. It’s now simmering away and melding into one soup. I will say these homegrown purple carrots bleed a lot more than the store bought ones, before adding my squash everything was very very purple. What’s better for a witch’s stew than strange colors?
There are so many more scary and spooky episodes. Either just on screen or when you sit down and really think about them. I haven’t even gotten part way through the new series, haven’t touched the older episodes and I’ve even skipped over a few (Family of Blood is one for sure!) What episodes scared you or brought your own fears to the screen? Which ones left you wanting to have the lights on or need to quickly talk about something else?
Until next time, happy Halloween everybody!
Below is the recipe for the soup I have been making. I’m not following a recipe myself, I’m grabbing vegetables that are sitting on the counter and stock that I canned sitting in the basement. So there’s a lot that can vary in this soup. Want some spice? Add some curry or chili flakes, want more sweetness add more squash or carrots. The sky’s the limit! Let your inner Witch go and brew up your own comfort spell in a pot!
- 1 large acorn squash, cut up into rings/wedges with seeds removed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stick celery
- 1-2 carrots
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbl butter
- 3-4 small red potatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Sour cream (if desired at the end)
- Roast the cut up squash in the oven until soft, dark, and bubbly. About an hour in a 350-375 deg oven. Don’t need to remove the skins before roasting, they are much easier to remove after they have been thoroughly roasted. The roasting of the squash brings out a deeper flavor for the squash. When the squash is done and cooled a bit, grab a spoon and scrape the soft squash into a bowl.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot. When it’s melted add the garlic, onions, celery, and carrots with a bit of salt. Cook them on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the other veggies soft. The salt will help sweat the veggies and pull out the delicious flavors.
- Add the flesh of the squash and diced potatoes and the chicken stock into the pot and cook until the potatoes get soft.
- Now here’s a decision point, to blend or not to blend. Because of the way I decided to cook the squash I felt that it was perfect for blending. So I gave it a blend with the immersion blender and made a thick soup.
The soup is now done, and even more it’s versatile. Right now it is a comforting (but slightly bland) soup. Adding a dollop of sour cream adds a bit of delicious tang to the soup. Stirring in some hot sauce or set of spices makes it different in all kinds of ways (I added both sour cream and a mix of paprika, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder to mine and it was warming all over!) What would you like to put into your soup?