One of my absolute favourite places to wander is the Tivoli gardens in central Copenhagen, which is now open exclusively for the halloween period.
Passing the construction site of “Tivoli Hjørnet”, I turn into pass through the grandiose gates to bring myself into the most famous gardens of Copenhagen. Walking down the reclining cobbled pathway, I start to reflect on what is so special about these gardens.
Nothing makes Copenhagen more unique than its centralized fairy tale land Tivoli. The second oldest amusement park in the world has always reserved a sentimental spot in my memories. When I used to live in Malawi and Nepal, my return trips to the North were always highlighted by a marathon visit throughout the tivoli gardens. Tivoli Gardens is a sensual bombardment of flickering lights, synthetic and organic smells triggered by candy floss and blooming flowers respectively. To venture into Tivoli, you escape into the eccentric faily tale writers ,Hans Christian Andersens, source of inspiration. You can almost imagine the top-hatted Dane strolling gracefully through the flower patches.
Normally a summer venture, the tivoli gardens are now open for business during the Christmas period, and as a last edition, the halloween period. At first I felt a distinct scepticism as to why the Danes decide to adopt a wholly American tradition when the Danish counterpart “Fastelavn” should be as equally inspiring. Essentially, my theory is that as traditional and “hyggelig” fastelavn may be, the cultural production regarding halloween far outruns the February fastelavn festivities. Kids these days indulge in a overwhelming amount of American pop culture with Halloween serving as the main theme. It is no secret that Denmark is largely Americanized, but Halloween festivities are here to stay, so we might as well make the best of it. The tivoli gardens this evening are packed to the brim with pumpkins. There is even a display of Denmark’s largest pumpkins of which the first price tallies an enormous 485.4 kilograms.
Despite this extremely high yielding vegetable being so popular, a lot of people have absolutely no idea what to do with them in the kitchen. I have always loved pumpkins, especially in soups. I therefore felt inclined to share my take on a beautiful pumpkin soup to tackle the onset of this winter:
This dish is inspired both by Thai and Indian traditions. The addition of Ginger, coconut and Shallots along with Cardamom seeds give this dish an oriental kick.
Method (serves 5)
- Remove seeds and roughly chop the pumpkin (Skin on if the pumpkin is not too sturdy)
- Slice the shallots
- Grate the ginger roughly.
- Crush cardamom seeds, roughly chop the birds eye-chillis and crush the garlic.
- Sautée the pumpkin along with the shallots in olive oil until tender.
- Add in the vegetable stock, coconut milk and the assortment of spices. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and let it simmer for 40 minutes.
- Take all of the contents of the bowl and blend it on hard, you want a creamy texture
- Pour into a bowl and garnish as you please, I used roasted pumpkin seeds, lime zest and chilli flakes.
- 500mg Pumpkin (Any kind will do, Butternut is available all year long)
- 3 banana shallots
- 25 gr Ginger
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 2-3 bird eye chillis
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 litre vegetable stock (or water)
- 300ml coconut milk
- Dried chilli flakes
- Lime juice
- Olive oil
- Roasted pumpkin seeds