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Pumpkin It Up

pumpkinsIt’s been a while since I did a foodie post, mostly because it’s been a while since I did anything terribly new and interesting. I totally failed to grow anything this year (those beauties in the pic are from last year –>) and for the most part, I’ve just been cooking the usual (albeit fairly varied) dishes based on Sunday Roast leftovers with a few stock alternatives for variety. Of course, with a fairly warm Summer and mild Autumn up until recently, there has been a certain reluctance to slave over a hot stove.

Hallowe’en is always an entertaining time in trying to find new and exciting things to do with pumpkin. I’ve never been able to countenance the hideous waste of simply hacking up a perfectly good foodstuff and then throwing it out untasted (especially if you’ve grown it yourself!). This year, I cooked the scrappier pumpkin scrapings completely unseasoned in the pressure cooker with a little water and then pureed it. I drained the excess water from about 400g and put it aside for pumpkin pie and used the rest for soup.

Spicy/Curried pumpkin soup has always been a regular method of using up the pumpkin scrapings, though this year a friend gave me the idea of adding double cream which resulted in a nice rich Korma-like soup. It’s hardly worth sharing it as a proper recipe since it’s just water and your preferred stock (vegetable and/or chicken) added to your (cooked or uncooked) pumpkin, along with spices of choice (mine included* cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander and chilli, salt and pepper, of course, and garlic if you wish). Cook until soft, liquidise and then add the double cream just to warm through at the end, so it doesn’t curdle. It works very well with the Roasemary and Sea Salt artisan bread I get from the Saturday market, though my new favourite is the Walnut bread, which also goes really well (and it works with marmalade for breakfast too!).

*I’m afraid I use spices in a rather artistic way – in other words, I just fling it a bit of this and that and see how it comes out, which makes citing quantities in a recipe rather difficult.

Not all the pumpkin was scrapings. I have a method of scoring the inside of the pumpkin and then slicing out roughly cuboid chunks. Plus, once the pumpkin lantern is done with (I don’t put it outside), I chop up the remains and rescue as much of the remaining flesh as possible. In this instance, I had a particular reason for wanting diced/chunky pieces, namely this rather nice recipe for Baked Pumpkin Gratin with Rosemary and Goat Cheese that I picked up in Waitrose a few weeks ago. I omitted the pumpkin seeds and used a hard, cheddar-style goat cheese.  I also pan fried some Sea Bass fillets in garlic butter to serve it with. The creamy sauce complimented the fish very well. Try it, it is very yummy 🙂

If you have leftovers, as I did, you can rehash them into a pasta bake. I had some roast chicken, steamed cauliflower and cheese sauce leftover from Sunday lunch, so I cooked up some macaroni, mixed it all up together with the leftover pumpkin, re-Gratin-ed it with more breadcrumbs and a mixture of cheeses (a little mild creamy blue, some more goat and a little cheddar) Et, Voilà! another two days of family dinners 😀

I mentioned Pumpkin Pie earlier and I will share the Leon recipe, though in all honesty, I found it rather too sweet. Very nice, but a little too sweet for my taste. Perhaps I made a mistake with the sugar (I used light and dark brown sugar) , or DD added too much Maple syrup (I was busy with the pastry at the time). I used about 60% wholemeal flour for the pastry  for a thin but robust and textured base. A friend made her pumpkin pie using a Jamie Oliver recipe (I’m not sure which one or I would link) and it was much less sweet and tasted more like a traditional custard tart. I will definitely reduce the sugar next time.

I was so enthused that I did try to pick up more pumpkin (to process and freeze so that these dishes can be enjoyed all year around), but now that Hallowe’en is over, they have reverted back to just selling dinky little ones for £1 each, rather than the massive ones for not much more. I knew I should have bought two 🙁


8 November 2014

2 Comments to “Pumpkin It Up”

  1. The pie and soup sound tasty 🙂 But no blue cheese for me, thanks 😀

    • The blue cheese is entirely optional 😀 I don’t like rally stinky blue cheeses, but I do like a few of them. It’s an acquired taste – my Mum was find of a bit of Danish Blue and I used to think she was insane for eating it 🙂

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