Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Smashing Pumpkins

I read in the newspaper today that enough pumpkins will be bought in the UK in the week running up to Halloween to provide two bowls of pumpkin soup for every man, woman and child in the land.

Sadly though, most of these gorgeous courges are thrown away after the 'celebrations' - and not eaten at all.

Well, it's time to tempt people to use up those pumpkins before they rot in the dustbin.

I've updated my cucurbit repertoire to try and do just that.

Roasted pumpkin/squash/courge is always a good place to start so, put a tray of sliced squash in the oven at 200 degrees to roast with any other veg you like- onions, garlic, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers etc- a good glug of olive oil, salt, pepper and plenty of herbs- and after 40 minutes or so you have a tray of delicious, caramelized veg to go with any meat dish as a side.

                           Prepare your squash for roasting                                 

The leftovers mash up nicely with a bit of potato to top a Parmentier (Shepherds, Cottage, Duck confit or Haggis- you can find the recipes on the blog using the labels or search button or click on these links)



Pumpkin Parmentier
Or try making some simple ravioli, filled with the mashed roast veg mixed with some garlic and herb soft cheese (for method and recipe click on the link):
Or wrap the chopped roasted veg, mixed with a little curry paste,  in filo pastry to make samosas:


If you are clever, you can roll them up into these spirals and serve them as a veggie alternative to sausages on Bonfire Night. Just keep brushing them with melted marge or butter to keep them easy to shape.
Butternut Catherine Wheels
(Photo courtesy of Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook)

Talking of sausages, this traybake is a simple and substantial family meal:

Sausage and Squash Traybake
Just right for Bonfire Night- sausages, squash, onions, garlic and new potatoes roasted in oil, salt, pepper and coarse grain mustard. A handful of cooked peas added at the end brightens up the dish.

To bring the pumpkins up to date- try roasting them with miso paste to give them a rich, umami flavour:
Image for  Squash 'Sucré- Salé' with Miso
Miso roasted Squash

1kg of squash- peeled and chopped into chunks
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp mirin (or dry sherry)
2 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp golden caster sugar or honey
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper
2. Spread the chunks of veg out on the tray evenly and bake for 20-25 minutes
3. Mix together the mirin, miso and sugar or honey and add in the sesame oil
4. Brush over the squash with a pastry brush until well coated and all the mixture used up
5 Bake for a further 10 minutes until golden brown and bubbling
6 Scatter the sesame seeds over just before serving.

This is nice served with greens, plain rice and salmon.

And finally, I was served this Thai-inspired Butternut soup last week. It is simple- but beyond delicious:


1 kg chopped squash
1 large clove of garlic
3 cm piece of root ginger
1 lime
1 lemon
300ml coconut milk
12 cooked prawns
2 tsp sesame oil
1 bunch spring onions
1 finely chopped chilli

1. Peel and slice the squash into cubes
2. Reserve some of the green parts of the spring onions for decoration- and chop the rest.
3. Place in a heavy saucepan and soften in some vegetable oil over a moderate heat

Gently fry your squash
4. Add the crushed garlic clove
5. Grate the lemon zest, lime zest and ginger and add to the mix

Grate your ginger, garlic, lime and lemon zest
6. Squeeze in the lemon juice
7. Add 700 ml  boiling water and leave to simmer
8. Peel the prawns and place in a marinade of lime juice, half the chopped chilli and the sesame oil

Marinade those prawns!
9. Add the coconut milk, warm through and then blitz with a hand blender
10. Adjust seasoning and then pour into bowls
11. Decorate with the prawns, chopped spring onion, chopped chilli and the remaining marinade drizzled over.
Thai-inspired Prawn and Buttenut Soup
Two bowls of that served to every man, woman and child in the land? Now, that's what I call smashing!

Please enjoy your pumpkins responsibly!
(No sniggering.)