Thursday, 28 October 2010

The wicked witch, i.e. a lesson in carving a pumpkin

It was decided that my team had a pumpkin carving competition for Halloween in order to have some fun.
So we went, carved some pumpkins and had fun. End of story.

Ok, silly me. Let's be more articulate in retelling the events, or at least the most interesting bits, thus leaving out any decision made on the topic of "having fun".
I spent Wednesday lunch break at Vasi's house with the rest of the test team. Even though it was her week off, Beth was there as well, with her son Zain (future diver champion and charmer extraordinaire).
We had 4 pumpkins with us to carve. Now, while the other team (the I&R part of the team) had carving kit, we had kitchen knives and screwdrivers. Heck! Until last week I had no notion whatsoever about pumpkin carving, let alone I knew of the existence of something such as a "pumpkin carving kit".

Still, it was time for a... "Art Attack!" 
I choose a last minute template, a witch riding a broom, and set to work, trying my best not to cut myself or kill anybody else. I succeeded in the task, gaining, in the meanwhile, lots of orange spots on my t-shirt.
So first 2 important points here are:
1. It's way better if you have somebody that has cut the top of the future sculpture and took the seeds out for you. Thanks Beth!
2. Wear an apron.

Time to be thankful to Beth again as she explained me how to do the carving, because I had no idea of what to do with my template.
And here is lesson number three:
3. You fix the template on the pumpkin with some tape and punch the whole outline.

When I finished the outline and used the above mentioned ultra-modern tools to carve the pumpkin, all it was left to do, was to scrape a little bit more the inside of my sculpture, put it aside, clean the mess and... have lunch!
Beth had baked some potatoes and made a salad, while Vasi cooked a curry. To finish there was an apple coated in chocolate on a stick... something I had seen only in the movie.
Halloween is not something I celebrate or I go to party, as it's not part of my tradition and having to go to a party just because everybody else does is what sheep herds do, but I rather avoid. This year I'm not celebrating it, as usual, but I have to say that the 2 hours I spent together with Vasi, An-li, Noriko, Jason, Beth and Zain had been the best celebration I could get and hope for.
I think I'm quite lucky to work with such a great group of people.

You may wonder what happen to the competition... I have no idea. I know that the judges (oh yeah, we had impartial specially appointed judges for the event) had all a look at the pumpkins, but I don't know who won.
Surely not me. I have no pics to prove it to you but the I&R pumpkins were carved so neatly and even had lights in! No candles, as it's again the health and safety standards, but still they had lights. So there's basically no doubt about the outcome of the competition.

Yet I was quite proud of my first carved pumpkin. I brought it back home tonight and lit it with a small candle to see how it looked. And it looked, more or less, like this:

The Wicked Witch of Clapham

Then... I cut it into chunks, tossed the chunks with olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and cumin and baked them for 20 minutes in the oven. I must say it tasted quite good. Wicked!

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