THE SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness brings with it the chance to savour members of the pumpkin and squash families as they’re now in plentiful supply.
Nothing says autumn more than a golden butternut squash, with its sweet, succulent and versatile flesh, or a weighty pumpkin packed with edible seeds and orange goodness.
So if you’re hollowing out a pumpkin for Hallowe’en don’t throw away the flesh. Turn it into a soup, risotto or simply puree it as an accompaniment to a roast dinner. Even the highly-nutritious seeds can be harvested, then spread on a baking sheet with a light sprinkling of salt and roast until pale brown and crispy. Eat them whole.
October also offers rich pickings of late beetroot, marrows, chestnuts, swede, Swiss chard, turnips, kohlrabi and leeks; all should be available from UK growers at this time of year.
Our healthy seasonal recipes featured here are from The Vegetarian Society and really make the most of readily available fresh ingredients. Visit www.vegsoc.org for more ideas.
A chestnut and pumpkin seed croustade would make a colourful and unusual starter and uses several seasonal ingredients; while the risotto is highly nutritious and could be made in a heavy saucepan as well as in the oven.
However, there’s nothing quite as simple and warming as a winter soup.
To use up your pumpkin flesh simply chop an onion and two cloves of garlic, sauté with a little olive oil and add a teaspoon of ground coriander. Add chopped pumpkin flesh, a sachet of coconut milk and sufficient vegetable stock (made with bouillon powder) to cover.
Simmer for 15 minutes until everything is tender and then blitz in a blender. Serve with croutons and small cubes of cheese.