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


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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Cider cabbage with bacon

This is a recipe inspired by friends and family.  Our friend Pete has a friend, Chris, who produces his own cider on his farm near Ludlow.  Pete describes himself as Chris’ Chief Helper as he often spends his weekends at Farmers’ Markets selling the cider.  He had told us that he was selling it at a market near us, so after years of hearing about this cider we thought it was about time that we gave it a try.  So, off we went and purchased some medium and dry cider.  Now, I am afraid that you can no longer to tempt me to drink cider, (tales of a misspent youth would explain), but I do love to cook with it and Mr OC is more than happy to drink it.

On the way home from the market we called in to see Mr OC’s family and my sister-in-law told me about how she sometimes cooks cabbage and bacon in cider with wholegrain mustard and crème fraîche.  Now this seemed like a very good idea indeed and so this is my take on her recipe, adding a bit of garlic and using the rest of the double cream in the fridge rather than buying some crème fraîche.  It’s a really good way of eating cabbage and I think it would be especially good with roast chicken.  We had it with yorkshire puddings because I had no chicken and I think you can never pass up the opportunity of eating yorkshire puddings.

I only wish the photo had been better and had done the cabbage justice.

1 small cabbage, shredded
4-6 rashers of bacon, snipped into bite-size pieces
100- 150 ml cider (depending on the size of your cabbage)
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
100ml double cream
salt and pepper to taste


Heat a little oil in a large pan over a medium heat and cook the bacon until golden, add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Add the shredded cabbage and stir well.  Add the cider and cover the pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is cooked through.  Add the cream and the mustard and stir to combine.  Cook until the cream is bubbling. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with something to mop up the cidery juices.

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