Category Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin soup

pumpkin

So, last night was Halloween. We had bought pumpkins to carve and this one missed out on its moment in the scary  limelight.  Isn’t it beautiful? What a gorgeous blue grey it is. Then inside it looks like this:

pumpkin flesh

The contrast between the blue and orange is amazing. The skin is very tough. I got my knife stuck several times. With it being Halloween, pumpkin soup seemed appropriate. The photo is terrible, because now the clocks have gone back we have a dark house at tea time, but the colour and texture of this soup was amazing too, dark, unctuous and velvety.

Pumpkin soup

As you can see, I served it with chopped crispy bacon and roasted pumpkin seeds.  With the carving of the other pumpkins we have been eating a lot of roasted seeds lately. Butternut squash seeds are delicious roasted like this too. This soup doesn’t need adornment though, it is lovely on its own.

Pumpkins make an awful lot of soup.  I only used half of this pumpkin and it made enough for about eight helpings. Thank goodness for freezers. The rest of the pumpkin will be steamed and pureed and frozen. I plan to try making a pumpkin bread.

½ pumpkin
1 onion, diced
1 apple, cored and chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
salt
pepper
water to cover

Method
Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into  a large saucepan and add the onion and cook until translucent. Peel and dice the pumpkin and add to the pan, cook for a few minutes. Add the apple and stir. Add the turmeric and the curry powder and stir well and cook for a few minutes. Add enough water to cover the pumpkin generously and then season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about twenty minutes until the pumpkin is tender when you insert a knife.

Blend, process or sieve the soup until smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve.

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Roasted pumpkin seeds

We have had so many pumpkins in the garden this year. They have trailed themselves across paths, down walls (with the pumpkins hanging on for dear life) and jostled for space with the other veg (they have won, hands down). We have grown pumpkins for several years, but I have always  scooped the seeds out and chucked them into the chicken pot*.  What was I thinking? Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious. The transformation is startling. If you are tempted to try a seed part of the way through cooking, when you think they might be done, you will be bitterly disappointed and think that I have gone mad telling you to make these. But if you wait until they caramelise then you will understand. Something happens in their chemistry that makes you think you added crushed chilli when you weren’t concentrating properly. Be warned, these little bites are addictive and you will find yourself cooking with pumpkin just so you can eat the roasted seeds.

This weekend, when every one will be scooping out their Halloween pumpkins, is the perfect time to enjoy these. By the way, when did we move on from scooping out swedes?

I don’t bother washing the seeds as I think bits of pumpkin flesh hanging on to them add a lot to their flavour. I scrape them out, remove most of the flesh, lay onto a lightly oiled baking tray so that they are in a single layer and sprinkle with a little more oil and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place into a preheated oven at 140°c, gas mark 1 or the simmering oven of the Aga and cook for about 30-40 minutes. Keep an eye on them as the ones at the edge of the tray may start to burn and will need stirring into the middle. When they have a good caramel brown colour all over they are ready. Leave to cool a little and then dig in.

*I probably should explain that we have a pot that sits by the side of our sink and any veg scraps get thrown into it for our brood of hungry chickens. They are now missing out on pumpkin seeds. Poor, poor chickens.

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Roasted pumpkin stuffed with risotto

We grew this little beauty.  It seemed such a shame to cut it up that I just popped it in the oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 or near the bottom of the Aga’s roasting oven covered in olive oil and roasted it until tender. Because it is quite small it took only twenty five to thirty minutes to roast.  Whilst it was roasting I made a risotto inspired by my recent fidget pie adventures using cider, sage, prosciutto, cream and a deliciously sweet apple from our tree. I stuffed as much of this risotto into the hollowed out pumpkin (removing the seeds but leaving the flesh intact) as I could and then roasted again for 15-20 minutes until bubbling.

It’s a wonderful celebration of autumn even if we are having a last fling with summer here in the UK this week. It’s a great dish to take whole to the table and let everyone dig out as much risotto and pumpkin flesh as they can.

This pumpkin served 2 hungry adults and 1 hungry child (and 1 child who said yuck – no surprise there though).

1 small to medium-sized pumpkin
Olive oil

25g butter
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 small apple, cored and sliced thinly (you can leave the skin on)
3-4 slices of prosciutto (reserve 1 slice to place on top for the final roasting)
5-6 sage leaves, finely sliced
120g risotto rice
300ml cider
250ml water
2 tbsp double cream
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Place the whole pumpkin in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast in a hot oven, 200°c, gas mark 6 or the roasting oven of the Aga until tender when a skewer is pushed through to the centre.  How long this takes will depend on the size of the pumpkin. Mine took thirty minutes. Allow to cool a little and then slice off the top and scoop out the seeds. Place the hollow pumpkin back onto the roasting tray.

Make the risotto by frying the onion, garlic and sliced apple in the butter for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.  Heat the cider and water together in a pan and keep at barely simmering. Add the prosciutto and sage leaves to the onions and continue to fry for a minute or two.  Add the rice and stir until all of the grains are coated in the butter. Add a ladleful of the cider and water mixture and stir the risotto continuously.  Add another ladleful when the first has evaporated and continue in this manner until the rice is creamy and has only a tiny bit of resistance when you bite into it.  Add one more ladleful of cider and water and cook for a minute or so and then add the double cream, stir through. Season to taste and then fill the pumpkin with this mixture and place the reserved prosciutto on top.  Place back into the oven for 15-20 minutes until all is bubbling. Serve with crusty bread and parmesan grated over the top.

 

 

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Pumpkin patties

pumpkin patties

In our quest to get through our pumpkin harvest my husband suggested that we mash the pumpkin with kidney beans and make a chilli flavoured veggie burger and out of that suggestion these pumpkin patties came into being. They can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until you are ready to cook them so whilst it takes a while to get everything prepared you could do the preparation earlier when you have a bit of time, or even the day before.

The picture above shows them coated in homemade wholemeal loaf breadcrumbs.  If I am honest, I forgot that I had put the loaf in the oven until 2 hours later, so all it was good for was to use the unburned centre for breadcrumbs!  I had put the timer on, but then forgot about it and went for a walk…

I served them with a chorizo tomato sauce, which is made simply by cubing the chorizo and frying in a little olive oil with a finely chopped clove of garlic for two minutes, adding a 400g tin of plum tomatoes, salt and pepper and oregano to taste and then cooking over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes until the tomato sauce has reduced to a nice thick consistency.

500g prepared pumpkin that has been peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
300g prepared potato, that has been peeled and cubed
130g drained weight red kidney beans (a 215g can provides this amount)
1 red onion, peeled and diced
2½ tsp harissa paste or you could use chilli sauce or dried chillies to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
20g parmesan cheese, finely grated
salt and pepper
200g breadcrumbs
a little olive oil
a little butter

Method

Put the cubed pumpkin onto a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil and roast in the oven at 200° c (400°f, gas mark 6) for 15-20 mins until soft and beginning to brown at the edges.  In the meantime place the cubed potato in a pan and just cover with water and boil until tender. Fry the onion in a little oil and a little butter for 5-10 mins over a gentle heat until translucent. Drain the kidney beans and place into a large bowl.  Dry fry the cumin seeds over a medium heat for two minutes until their smell is beginning to be released.  When the pumpkin, potatoes and onion are all cooked add them to the kidney beans.  Add the harissa paste, the cumin seeds, the parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and mash the mixture well. If you have time allow the mixture to cool.  Place the breadcrumbs onto a plate. When the mixture is cool shape into patties and dip each patty well into the breadcrumbs.  You can now place them in the fridge until you are ready to cook.  When you are ready place the patties onto a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven at 180°c (350°f, gas mark 4) for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

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Baked pumpkin

baked pumpkin

Further to my post about our bumper pumpkin harvest I have been thinking about how we can use some of our pumpkins.  So tonight I thought that pumpkin goes well with sage and that perhaps adding cream and wine and roasting the pumpkin might be good. I was going to cut it into chunks but when I cut it in half it occurred to me that if I scooped the seeds out the pumpkin itself would be the perfect receptacle for a sauce, so I simply added the cream, wine and sage leaves and cooked until tender and I have to say that this is a really nice way to have pumpkin. It went really well with the roast chicken that we had with it. It’s hard to be precise about quantities of cream and wine as it will depend on the size of your pumpkin, you need to use an equal amount of each to fill the cavity.

A small to medium pumpkin
white wine
double cream
4-5 sage leaves
salt and pepper
olive oil

Method
Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place the pumpkin into a foil lined baking tray.  Season the pumpkin with salt and pepper.  Add equal quantities of cream and white wine into the cavity, add the sage leaves and season generously.  Sprinkle the pumpkin shell with good olive oil.   Bring the foil over the pumpkin and wrap well. Bake in a hot oven (200°c, 400°f, gas mark 6) until tender.  The medium sized one I cooked took 40 minutes. Unwrap the foil and place back in the oven for five more minutes until the cream mixture is bubbling.

To serve, take the whole pumpkin to the table and scoop the flesh and the sauce out with a large serving spoon.

This would be good with parmesan cheese grated over before it’s cooked for the last five minutes. You could also try different herbs, a sprig of thyme would be good or rosemary.

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Our pumpkin harvest – a plea for more recipes

What shall we do with them all?

What shall we do with them all?

This isn’t a recipe, but I did want to share our bumper harvest of pumpkins with you.  I bought a packet of mixed seed and I gave quite a few seedlings away but we still managed this bumper crop.  The plants really took over the veg plot.  We have seventeen pumpkins in storage and the Turk’s Turbans (the yellow ones in the pic) are still producing. Next year we will have to be more restrained with the number of plants we put into the garden.  I have already posted my pumpkin and apple soup recipe and I have also been making roasted pumpkin that I then mash and spread into a baking dish and top with a breadcrumb and cheese mixture and bake at 180°c for about 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.  We will be saving some for halloween carving (if they store well) and we will be giving some to friends for this purpose.  We would really like to use more in cooking though so if any one has any good ideas and recipes for delicious pumpkin recipes I would be very grateful.

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Pumpkin and Apple Soup

We planted some pumpkin seeds earlier this year which have turned into monsters and taken over our veg patch.  Not wanting to waste them I came up with this soup, which was delicious.  I have a feeling we will be eating a lot of it…

Pumpkin & Apple Soup

Pumpkins in our garden

1kg Pumpkin/squash
300g apple, peeled, cored and chopped
(I used eating apples as this is what I had available)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 heaped tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin seed
1 pint vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200c (400f/ gas mark 6)Cut the pumpkin into slices, removing the seeds.  Place onto a baking tray, season and sprinkle with olive oil.  Roast for 20 mins until soft.  Leave until cool enough to handle and remove skin.  Chop into cubes.

In a large pan, sweat the onions in a small amount of olive oil over a medium heat for five mins. Add garlic and apples and cook for a further five mins on a low heat, making sure that they don’t start to brown. Add curry powder and cumin seeds and fry for 2 mins, stirring. Add the roasted pumpkin and stir well so that it all gets covered in the spices.  Add the vegetable stock and simmer gently for 20 mins.  Do not boil as this will ruin the flavour of the soup.

Take the pan off the heat and blend or sieve the soup.  Serve in warmed bowls with croutons or crispy bread and a few sage leaves that have been fried in olive oil until crisp.

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