What to do with a Hallowe’en pumpkin

Hallowe’en.  Pumpkin season.  Every fruit and veg stall in the markets here will have  red kuri, ‘le butternut’, or acorn squash at the very least, and there are those dedicated to selling nothing but the rich variety of squash, pumpkin and gourd you can grow here.  Kalba gave me this butternut squash some 3 weeks ago, grown in their own garden.

The butternut makes a bid to take over the fridge

It weighs in at more than 7 kilos.  More than a stone!  We’ve been chomping our way through it, but see how much remains.  What’s worse: Malcolm has just owned up to not caring for pumpkin very much.  How could he not like it?  That comforting sweetness works so well with the saltiness of bacon, the heat and colour of chillies and oriental spices, or the fatty unctuousness of cheap cuts of meat and sausages.  Well, his loss.  Here are two of my current favourite dishes, both courtesy of Nigel Slater, from Tender, Volume 1, you may not be surprised to hear.

A recent BBC photo of Nigel Slater

Pumpkin laksa

Nigel says this is for a cold night.  Well, it is.  But it’s also a fine thing to dish up on a hot day after a gruelling few hours physical labour.  It looks complicated, but it isn’t.  Take a deep breath and read it slowly: tackle the pumpkin, then the spice paste; the rest just falls into place.


350g. pumpkin, unskinned

coriander and mint leaves to finish.

For the spice paste:

red bird’s eye chillies, 3-4

garlic- 2 cloves

ginger, a thumb sized lump

lemongrass, 2 plump stalks

coriander roots, 5 or 6 coriander leaves, a handful

sesame oil, 2 tablespoons

For the soup:

chicken or vegetable stock, 600ml

coconut milk, 400ml

nam pla (thai fish sauce), 2 tablespoons

tamari, 1-2 tablespoons, to taste

the juice of a lime

100g dried noodles, cooked as per packet and drained.

  • Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut the flesh into large chunks. Cook in a steamer or a metal colander balanced over a pan of boiling water until tender. remove from the heat.
  • For the spice paste, remove the stalks from the chillies, peel the garlic, peel and roughly chop the ginger and lemongrass. Put them all into a food processor with the coriander roots and leaves and sesame oil and blitz until you have a rough paste.
  • Get a large, deep pan hot and add the spice paste.  Fry for a minute, then stir in the stock and the coconut milk and bring to the boil.  Allow to simmer for seven to ten minutes, then stir in the nam pla, tamari, lime juice, pumpkin and the cooked and drained noodles.  Simmer briefly, add the coriander and mint noodles over the top, and serve in deep bowls.

And now for something completely different…..

Pumpkin and Apple fry-up:

either to accompany a meaty supper, or as a main dish in its own right.


a little butter

80g. fatty bacon

medium onion

650g. pumpkin flesh

400g. apples (Nigel says a desert variety.  Mine were very tart, and I thought all the better for it)

a lemon

caraway seeds, a pinch

  • Melt a slice of butter in a shallow pan, cut the bacon into short strips and let them colour lightly in the butter.
  • Peel and roughly chop the onion, add to the pan and allow to cook with the bacon until translucent but not browned.
  • Cut the pumpkin flesh into manageable pieces and add to the pan, turning from time to time till golden in patches and almost tender.
  • Core and roughly chop the apples, but don’t peel them. Stir them into the pan and leave to putter gently until they are on the verge of collapse. Avoid stirring too much, which is likely to mash the softening pumpkin.
  • Finely grate the zest from the lemon and add it to the pan with the juice, the caraway seeds and a little salt.

    But wait! Isn’t this what pumpkins are supposed to be for? My son obviously thinks so, and took this photo to prove it. Though he’s a dab hand at cooking too.

PS.  Some of you have been asking about Danger Mouse.  Well.  He’s not a mouse – too big, too cuddly.  He’s not a hamster, as we at one point thought.  Long tail.  He’s not a dormouse.  Wrong sort of tail.  And he’s not a rat.  Too small, too cuddly.  However, he’s continuing to be part of life here.  He rises at about 8.30 p.m. and organises his furniture behind the skirting boards, shoving stuff about quite noisily.  Then he knocks off and has a nap till we’ve gone to bed.  During the night he dismantles  the latest humane trap, and eats the bait.  In the small hours he may come and scurry round the floorboards under the bedroom.  Then he goes to bed until the next night.  If he ever goes, I think I shall miss him.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

10 thoughts on “What to do with a Hallowe’en pumpkin”

  1. So you – or at least Mal – don’t want to share in our 20 kilo Musquée de Provence, then? 🙂 (I wouldn’t mind if it were the only one. We have six others). Anyone out there reading this want some? Actualy perhaps Danger Mouse would like a new football ….


    1. Oh be reasonable. He can’t kick 20 kilos. But he does like a nice cellophane bag to make music with (scrunch, scrunch). I think you’ll have to have guests – lots and lots – throughout the winter. Pumpkin lovers to a (wo)man.


  2. My recipe is from my South African forebearers:
    Pumpkin Fritters
    Cook your pumpkin and mash it to a purée. It can be reasonably sloppy as this is the liquid for your batter.
    Add s/r flour (or plain with added baking powder) – about a quarter the volume of the pumpkin
    pinch of salt
    1 or 2 eggs depending on quantity of above
    You can add some cinnamon at this point …….. BUT! I prefer to dip my pancakes in cinnamon sugar to serve

    Cook as you would scotch pancakes and serve with a mixture of cinnamon and – if possible – soft brown sugar

    They are one of the treats of my childhood – so nice I think i must make some tonight.

    Don’t forget you can use squash as the basis for cakes as well – a lot of recipes on the internet for these. It often means you don’t have to add sugar which is a health bonus!


  3. Best ever squash recipe (in my humble opinion!) is Hugh F-W’s warm salad of squash & mushroom:

    Chunk the squash and roast at 190C with 12 bruised sage leaves, 4 sliced garlic cloves and some oil. About 40 minutes should do it – should be soft & slightly coloured around the edges.
    Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a frying pan with a large knob of butter and fry 300g of sliced portobello (or similar) mushrooms along with S & P until cooked and all liquid released has evaporated.

    (Hugh suggests a dressing of 3 tbls. of rapeseed or olive oil and 1 tbls. of balsamic but I find the squash oily enough so just toss with the balsamic.)

    In a large bowl combine still warm (not hot) squash, mushrooms. some rocket and 150g of blue cheese. Toss & serve with some gorgeous bread. Enjoy!

    Can’t believe you’ve got another one from me Margaret!


    1. Now that sounds good. Yes, I know pumpkin and sage are great together, but I’d never thought of teaming them with mushrooms too. Better go gather some then……


    1. Those look great too, as does the whole blog. A whole setof recipes to show a French person who declines to believe that vegetarians often know a thing or two about good food. Thanks.


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