Thursday, October 26, 2006

Making the Most of - PUMPKINS

Yesterday I read this interesting fact - "pumpkins have the peculiar quality of absorbing and retaining the flavours of the food they are cooked with... and that stewed with plums, apples, rhubarb or gooseberries they taste exactly like them when used for puddings and tarts". So plenty of food for thought there. Cooked pumpkin puree and soups can be frozen to avoid eating pumpkin every day, although pumpkin in all it's different guises (as with potatoes) can turn out to be a seasonal worthy in it's own right.
Pumpkin Soup (F without the cream)
2 tblsp. grated onion,
1 pint of pumpkin flesh, roughly chopped
1/2 pint chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 pint milk,
1/2 tsp sugar,
1/2 tsp ground cloves or grated nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juices, plus 2 drops of Tabasco
pinch salt,
4 tblsp. double cream
Put a knob of butter in a large pan and gently fry the onions until transparent. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins.
Puree the mixture. (This can be frozen at this stage) Or carry on and stir in the cream, but do not boil. Serve hot with croutons.
Tip: instead of lemon and Tabasco, you could substitute orange zest and juice to taste.

Pumpkin and Pineapple Curry
1 onion, diced,
3 tblsp. Thai curry paste
around about 1 lb (500g) diced pumpkin flesh
1/2 can (or 200ml) coconut milk
a handful of green (string) beans, cut in pieces
diced pieces of red (bell) pepers (optional)
4 canned pineapple rings (drained) cut into pieces
Put a little sunflower (or chosen) oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the onion. Stir in the curry paste then add the coconut milk and stock. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender. Add the beans and the pineapple. Serve when heated through. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice or cous-cous.
Tip: When using part of a can of pineapple, use the liquid to make up a jelly, and freeze the
remaining rings separately so they can be used in stirfries or cheesecakes etc.

Pumpkin and Lemon Curd
1 lb pumpkin flesh, diced,
2 lemons
1 lb gran. sugar,
2 large or 2 med. eggs
Put the pumpkin in a saucepan without water, and simmer very gently until soft. Mash or puree this until smooth. Beat the eggs and add them to the pumpkin then stir in the sugar. Add the grated rind and juice of the lemons. Cook over a low heat stirring until thickened (about 30 mins). Pour into hot sterilise jars, seal and keep chilled. Eat within a month.