It's Halloween this weekend and pumpkins are absolutely everywhere! I can't believe that Sainsburys are selling them for just £3.00! Credit crunch in full effect, I would say... but why not stock up and get cooking? Here are 3 great suggestions for what to do with pumpkin this time of year:
Roasted Pumpkin and Rosemary Soup
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a large baking tray with oven paper. Peel and cut the pumpkin into 2 inch chunks and season generously with Maldon sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of dried rosemary and roast in the oven for about 40-50 minutes (until browned and cooked through). Make up 2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil in a pan. Add your pumpkin pieces and using a hand blender, blitz the mixture until smooth. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
Seasonal Wild Rice Salad
Peel and chop your pumpkin into 1 inch cubes and in a preheated pan over a medium-high heat, sautee the pumpkin until cooked through and nicely browned and remove from heat. Take 250 grams of either black rice (or black and white mixed rice ) or red Camargue rice, boil per packet instructions and strain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. In a large salad bowl, add your rice, a generous handful of dried cranberries, the same of juicy golden raisins and add your pumpkin. Dice 1 medium sized red onion, chop a small bunch of flat leaf parlsey and take a handful of pine nuts and add them all into the bowl. In a small bowl, measure out 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 200ml of apple juice and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and dress the salad mixing it well. Allow the flavours to soaks in for 2 hours at room temperature and serve.
Spiced Pumpkin Martinis
250g of peeled pumpkin flesh, diced into chunks and placed in a pan over a low-medium heat. Spinkle 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, 5 tablespoons of light brown sugar and add 250ml of water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook the pumpkin thoroughly with the spices and sugar. Blitz the mixture to a smooth puree using a hand blender and taste to adjust sweetness, remembering that it should be as sweet as a jam would be. Then pass the mixture through a sieve and allow to cool. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into a cocktail shaker filled 2/3's with ice, add 50mls of Vodka (or white rum if you prefer), place lid on tightly and shake well. Serve in a Martini glass.