Halloween-themed X Factor – Scary Squash Soup

TV Dinners: Let the contestants put a spell on you as you enjoy a bowl of warming soup - and a pumpkin seed bat


RadioTimes.com’s TV Dinners series is designed to test your culinary mettle, whilst taking inspiration from some of your favourite television shows. From filling your empty belly with X Factor’s Chico-ry salad to a trip back in time to gorge yourself whilst sampling the delights of Downton Abbeyeat along with Homeland, or perhaps a slice of the supermodel lifestyle to enjoy with BINTM – each time the culinary magicians at Sous Chef will devise a new and exciting recipe for you to try…


The theme of this week’s X Factor live show is Halloween – as if things aren’t scary enough anyway with Gary’s temper tantrums, Louis’ ever-changing hairdo, and the girls’ outfits more reminiscent of Rocky Horror than red carpet glam.

She may not have an obvious Halloween look, but what are the odds that front runner Ella will vamp it up with a rendition of I Put A Spell on You, or perhaps a husky performance of Dusty Springfield’s Spooky, taking her sailing through to next week? And Jahmene’s next performance has got Michael Jackson’s Thriller written all over it, with his ability to nail those high notes. But it’s going to be a trickier week for boy bands District 3 and Union J as the baby-faced boppers will have to find an edgier look to stick to the theme. Or perhaps they’ll opt for a tweenie take on Bow Wow Wow’s I Want Candy – trick or treat stylee?

But the question on everyone’s lips is what will Rylan do next? So far we’ve seen him dress head to toe in gold for Spandau Ballet’s famous hit, Gold. Next, he took on a Gangnam Style medley along with a team of “dancing fashion pandas”, and then a prison-inspired dance routine to a J-Lo-Rihanna mix. So it’s likely that the Essex boy will keep the theatrics level high – perhaps putting his own…unique twist on Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams – or maybe a club anthem version of Tubular Bells?

Whatever happens, why not continue the Halloween theme in the kitchen at home, and settled down to The X Factor with a scary squash soup? Making a baking paper stencil is a great way to add a Halloween twist – like our pumpkin seed bat. Or, if you’re a real X Factor fanatic, then you could customise the soup with the initial of your favourite act. We wonder how many soups will have a big “R” on them…

Recipe: Scary Squash Soup
Serves 4

1.5kg butternut squash
2 small onions
20ml olive oil
1 litre vegetable stock

To garnish
15g pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin oil

Baking paper

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Peel the butternut squash. Cut it into chunks.
  3. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges.
  4. Put the squash, onion and oil in a baking tin, and roast for ½ hour.
  5. Put the softened vegetables into a blender. Add the vegetable stock and blend.
  6. Dry toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan until they start to pop, and then grind them to a powder using a pestle and mortar.
  7. Use a pencil to draw a Halloween-themed shape onto a piece of baking paper. Cut it out, and use it as a stencil to sprinkle the powdered pumpkin seeds in a pattern on top of the soup.
  8. Drizzle pumpkin oil around the edge to enhance the rich, nutty, autumnal flavours.
  9. Serve with toast or warmed buns.

For hard to find ingredients and more recipe ideas, visit www.souschef.co.uk