Wednesday 31 October 2012


For the last couple of weeks, Sainsbury's supermarket has been selling "carving pumpkins" for Hallowe'en  - not with the rest of the vegetables, but with all the other Hallowe'en paraphernalia.  They were remarkably cheap, so I asked if they were suitable for cooking as well as for carving into lanterns, and was told that they were perfectly edible, but had been selected because they were a regular shape and even colour. 

So I bought one, and have cooked several meals from it:
  • 20% went into a North African Pumpkin and Chick pea dish from Claudia Roden's Tamarind and Saffron.  Pumpkin with chickpeas sounds a little bland, but it was actually very tasty.  (4 portions)
  • 20% made a pumpkin risotto, based on the recipe from Valentina Harris's Risotto! Risotto!      I left out the pancetta, because we hadn't got any, and it was fine without.  (2 portions)
  • With the rest, I made two batches of the delicious Pumpkin and Sage soup  from Susan Crawford's blog.  (approx. 8 portions).
Three recipes new to me, all very successful.  I have not cooked much with pumpkin before, except pumpkin pie.  That's OK, but in spite of all the sugar and spices you put in, it still tastes vegetable to me.  These savoury dishes are a much better use of it, I think.  

And the pumpkin which made all these dishes cost me £1.50 - remarkably cheap.  I'm sure that's less than the usual price when it's not Hallowe'en.  Jane Grigson, whom I trust completely on cooking matters, says in her Vegetable Book that whole pumpkins will keep for months, so I bought three more to keep for later.    Nice for us, though I don't see how anyone can grow pumpkins and make money, when the supermarkets sell them for only £1.50.

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