Pumpkins

Having realised that hubby was not going to be able to partake of his usual diet this year I started to process the pumpkins for storage slightly earlier than usual and managed to freeze all those that were left, which was quite a few, in January.

By the end of the week I had fifty 500 gram bags of gently roasted sweet pumpkin in my freezer. Which is slightly daunting! But then if I use one a week, it’s a years worth and if I try to occasionally use two a week, I should just about finish them before our next crop.

The pumpkins I choose to grow are a lovely culinary variety called Crown Prince, so far, every other pumpkin I have tried has paled into insignificance compared to the sweet taste of this fine example. Pumpkins are packed full of vitamins and minerals, are low in calories and high in fibre and their bright orange colour means they are packed full of beta carotene which is a powerful antioxidant. A power house of a vegetable that just happens to satisfy and taste good and is equally happy in sweet and savoury dishes. Is there anything more versatile?

So there has been a little more experimenting this year.

There have been souffles which were then twice baked, with a spinach base and cream sauce.

There was a lovely recipe passed onto me by Noelle, Corn Bread with Leeks and Feta by Diana Henry. Which came just at the right time as I had roast pumpkin in the fridge and leeks freshly dug from the allotment. I didn’t have the feta but a lovely selection of cheeses looking for a job to do. It was absolutely delicious and one I must make again very soon.

Pumpkin scones have been made and enjoyed, recipe from Soup, Broth and Bread by Rachel Allen.

There have been pastry rolls stuffed with a pumpkin, chestnut and stilton filling ready for drinks and snacking over Christmas. They went down very well.

There have been many pumpkin and potato topped cottage pies, which are so tasty. I think Dad enjoys the novelty value of an orange topped pie.

Along the way there have been many roasts and soups, pasta and rice dishes but tonight (which was the inspiration of this particular post) I realised I had hit the ultimate with a two course pumpkin meal.

Firstly, I made a version of a humous which was homegrown dried runner beans along with home grown haricot beans (in their bean format – I grow white beaned runners) soaked for 24 hours and then cooked until nicely soft, made into a humous with peanut butter (having not found the tahini, but any port in a storm) good olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, cumin, hot smoked paprika and water to slacken with a generous amount of flakey sea salt. It was very good.

Then generously applied to some home made sour dough that had been toasted, with a dusting of more hot smoked paprika and a spritz of lemon along with some toms and cucumbers to munch alongside.

Which was followed by a piece of my first ever pumpkin pie. Hubby thinks I’ve made a pumpkin pie before but I can’t remember it. This pastry case was baked blind before filling and I used evaporated milk as that is what I had to hand. Basically it is made like an egg custard with the addition of good amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin. Dad really wasn’t sure when hubby took him some, but then really enjoyed it – I knew he would.

So that is the end of my culinary pumpkin adventure. Well, not the end, I’ve only got about 30 bags to go!

2 thoughts on “Pumpkins

  1. Noelle says:

    A celebration of your harvest with some wonderful recipes Mandy. I am in awe of the range of recipes. Regarding the twice baked souffles: I see that in the first instance your baked quite a few. How did you keep them, or did you have a party? I would like to make these, so a share in the recipe and advice for freezing at which stage etc, would be very welcome. Also great writing and photography.

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    • Mandy says:

      I was casually watching Saturday Kitchen Best Bites on the 09/01/22 – you may be able to find the video, and Theo Randell made a lovely twice baked soufflé with butternut squash. And with a few adjustments to use the Christmas cheeses, probably an emmental, I can’t remember, I had the ingredients and thought that was exactly what hubby could eat. Here is the recipe. They kept well for three days individually covered and hubby managed to eat them, he didn’t manage the spinach and cream sauce though! Personally I wouldn’t freeze such a delicate dish, it needs the structure intact for the rise which could be damaged by freezing. Pumpkin or butternut squash freezes very well. You could half or third the recipe and enjoy them over a couple of days. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/twice-baked_squash_82558

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