Pumpkins R Us

I know this seems like an unseasonable post, but I am currently experiencing pumpkin overload. Last summer we managed to harvest a couple of biggish specimens despite little effort on our part.

I cut into the first one back in the late autumn and I was amazed at how many meals it provided. In an effort to avoid wasting any, I made the last part of it into pumpkin, orange and ginger jam. The second pumpkin has been in our garage ever since. I have been putting off cutting into it as it is even bigger than the last one and will therefore require more creativity to use up.

My handspan is about 19cm at full stretch (I was never going to make it as a concert pianist) so that should give you an idea of how big it is.

It seems to have stored remarkably well in the coolness of the garage. There is just a little bit of softness around the place where the stalk was. Must have been just the right time to get stuck into it.

Our first pumpkin meal was Lucy from Attic 24’s sweet and easy curry recipe. I’ve been wanting to try it for a few weeks. I had the yogurt, I had the spices, I just needed something for ‘bulk’. The only thing I could find was the giant pumpkin, so I bravely started chopping.

It was a very simply recipe to prepare. Apart from the basic curry paste, I added a chopped onion and some green pepper.

It made a tasty end to Saturday night while I sat down to watch a film. I wish I could have persuaded the Husband to join me but he was Too Busy Doing Chores (I know I shouldn’t complain) and had decided that my choice of film was a ‘Chick Flick’ (Keira Knightly in “The Duchess”). A home made Saturday night curry is getting to be a bit of a habit these days. If you want to introduce your children to the idea of curry, this recipe is probably a good place to start. It is very, very mild and quite sweet. Probably a bit too sweet to be made with pumpkin really. Of course, you could adjust that to suit yourself by varying the amount of mango chutney and chilli you add.

Sunday arrived and I figured I would see off some more pumpkin by making soup. Another slice was hacked off, peeled, cubed and thrown into my biggest oven tray with a bit of oil.

After about 20-30 minutes in a hot oven it looked like this:

Slightly browned at the edges and soft all the way through.

While it was roasting I sauteed a sliced onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. 

To make the soup I mixed the whole lot together with a vegetable stock cube and plenty of boiling water.

After that, all I had to do was cook it a bit longer and give it a bit of a zshuss with my trusty stick blender.

Bingo – our lunch on Sunday. I did the usual trick of thickening it with baby rice for the most junior member of the family. He is quite taken with feeding himself these days. Thick soup sticks surprisingly well to a spoon, even when he turns it upside down to get it in his mouth. Even Son Number One ate his up! Result!

We managed to use up some more on Sunday night, roasted as a vegetable alongside our chicken. I threw a bit into my left-over chicken soup this lunchtime. There’s still a quarter of it left.

Now I am in a race against time to use up the rest of the pumpkin. The little soft patch at the top is slowly spreading so I’d better get a move on. Anyone for pumpkin and chickpea curry?