Marker pens, knives and candles at the ready – it’s pumpkin carving season once more. Originating from the Gaelic Samhain Festival or ‘Feast of the Dead’, in preparation for which people would carve turnips to ward off spirits and prevent fairies from settling in the house, pumpkin carving became an American tradition when an influx of Irish immigrants in the 1840s could not find any turnips to carve, opting instead for the orange-fleshed gourds.
Fun as it is, this leaves us with a dilemma – how do we use up 3kg of pumpkin flesh? Well, we may not be able to help you create the perfectly carved Jack’O’Lantern (or the cleanup afterwards), but we can offer some recipe inspiration.
This is pretty much the recipe given by Joyce Goldstein in her wonderful recent book The Mediterranean Jewish Table; but it’s all in the seasoning, so remember to taste, taste and taste again. In Tunisia this is served with bread, but it’s also lovely with roast lamb and chicken. Here’s how to make it.
There’s only one thing better than cheese, and that’s cheese with heat. This is a perfect autumnal sofa supper. It’s delicious just spooned from a bowl, but I’ve given instructions for how to serve it in the scooped out and roasted hull of a small pumpkin or butternut squash, if you fancy it. Try it now.
I adore coconut, which is an ingredient of the Persian/central Asian kitchen, and especially love it with pumpkin. A tarator is a dressing. Though this one is less typical, the classic is a combination of tahini, garlic and lemon juice – a traditional salad dressing. Click here to see the recipe.
If the butter is an effort too far, leave it out – it’s still a good dish. Start with Italian salami, if you want, and finish with Italian dessert wine or cheese and ripe pears. Find out how to make it here.
Roasting the pumpkin for the quiche helps to bring out its natural sweetness, which is balanced by a little bitterness and acidity from the blue cheese – both are boosted by the nutty pastry which helps to enhance the autumnal and toasty flavour. Follow this link for the recipe.
I’ve always associated pumpkin and squash with the US and Italy, but we grow them here – and in abundance. I had plov, a rice dish cooked in stock, in Russia (without the yogurt and butter). If you want to add herbs, fork through chopped coriander, parsley or dill (or a mixture) before serving. Here’s how to make it.
Picada is a Spanish mixture – usually of breadcrumbs, nuts, garlic, herbs and a little liquid – added to a dish towards the end of cooking to thicken it. But picadas are also thrown over at the end to heighten flavours. Try the recipe now.