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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Tried and tested pumpkin/squash recipes

The time came where I had to cut into my monster 5kg pumpkin, or winter squash, depending on what you prefer to call them. This is my home grown Courge Musquée de Provence. I have to admit I was disappointed with it. It's ripe and it looks lovely, but the flesh is too sweet, rather like Butternuts, but also a bit on the stringy side. However I did manage to get through one of them by making puree from the left over bits after trying out several savoury recipes shown below. I would have enjoyed the savoury recipes far more if I had made them with my usual winter squash, Potimarron, which has a chestnutty flavour, is not too sweet and roasts wonderfully, but I only managed to grow one tiny one, which we saved to have with our Christmas dinner.

Courge Musquée de Provence

Roast Butternut, Spinach, Feta and Lentil gratin

This recipe was in the Times but luckily I have found it online.
Link to recipe here

I have to admit to a few changes. This recipe really sounds like a very odd mix of ingredients, but they actually work very well together! I couldn't find any spinach in the shops though so can't comment on that.

I also don't like Puy lentils and have never heard of black lentils, so I used some French blonde lentils that had been in the cupboard for a long time. These are not like the kind of lentils that you use in Indian cuisine which break down nicely to make things like dhal, for example. You really need lentils that hold their shape for this recipe.  I also only used half the amount of feta cheese which was just the right amount, in my opinion.

So there's a nice mix of flavours, and be warned, this vegetarian version of 'Shepherds Pie' is far more filling than the meat version! 

Roast butternut, spinach, feta and lentil gratin

I also had a go at making the following recipe. Unfortunately I can't find the recipe online so I'm going to have to type it out. And I've taken the liberty of photographing the photo from the magazine to show you what it should look like, all plated up beautifully and shot by a professional food photographer. :-)

My photo of a photo in Good Housekeeping so credit to whoever
and apologies for my watermark which is automatic.

Jamie Oliver's Sicilian Squash and Chickpea Stew 
(from Good Housekeeping magazine, Nov 2013)

1 butternut squash (about 1.2kg)
Olive oil 

2 onions
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander (about 15g)
40g raisins

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
50g mixed olives, stone in
1 tin of chickpeas (400g)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 vegetable stock cube

1 mug couscous (about 325g)
Fat free natural yoghurt, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan) mark 5. Peel the squash using a Y-shaped peeler, then carefully halve and deseed it (put the peel and seeds in a bowl, discarding any stringy bits, and set aside). Cut the squash into 3cm (1 1/4 inch) chunks, place in a large roasting tin and toss with a little oil, then season lightly. Roast for 35-40 min or until golden and caramelised.

2. Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onions and put in a large casserole dish with a lug of olive oil on a low heat. Finely slice the coriander stalks and add to the pan with the raisins and most of the cinnamon and chilli flakes. Cook covered for 20 mins, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water if needed. When the squash is cooked, stir it into the casserole pan.

3. Bash the olives, then remove and discard the stones (why? I just bung them in whole!). Add the olives to the pan with the tomatoes and chickpeas (juice and all). Crumble in the stock cube, pour in 500ml (17 fl.oz.) boiling water, then turn the heat up to medium and simmer uncovered for 40 mins, or until lovely and thick, stirring occasionally.

4. (I didn't do this, what a faff) Meanwhile, toss the reserved squash seeds and strips of peel with the remaining cinnamon and chilli flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread out in the empty roasting tray and roast until crisp (about 15-20 mins), then set aside.

5. Around 15 mins before the stew is ready, pop the couscous into a bowl, just cover with boiling water, put a plate on top and leave to 10 mins to do its thing. Fluff it up, season to perfection and tip on to a large platter. Spoon over the stew and serve drizzled with yoghurt, then scatter with coriander and the scrunched up squash peel and seeds.

*I don't have couscous here so served with a 3 rice mix which includes wild rice and red Camargue rice, much tastier in my opinion. It could have done with a bit more chilli for bite, but that's up to individual taste.

Rubbish picture of mine stewing :-)
New Year's resolution - learn to take better food photos.

As for butternut squash, I don't like it in savoury dishes but like to grow it occasionally for making into puree to use in sweet things. Here's a recipe I haven't yet shared.

Easy Pumpkin Pie without pastry, or as I like to call it, "Pumpkin Pieless"

Pumpkin Pieless

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Pumpkin Pie. This one is a bit different. Metric measures are my workings out.

2 cups pumpkin puree (490g)
1 can evaporated milk (12oz) (I don’t know what this is in metric - I just use the whole can!)
1/2 cup egg whites whipped (I use 2 whole eggs- who’s dieting?!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
1/2 cup flour (62.5g)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp orange peel grated
*tsp = teaspoon

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (my addition)
1 tablespoon marg or butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter a pie/flan dish.

Combine pumpkin, milk and egg (or egg whites) in a mixing bowl.

In another mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, spices, baking powder, salt and orange peel.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just moistened. Pour entire mixture into the prepared flan dish.

To prepare topping, combine brown sugar, oats, walnuts  and marg/butter in a small bowl until thoroughly blended. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Eat cold.

It is one of my favourite desserts and is absolutely delicious!

I usually pour cream over it.

You can make pumpkin muffins too which are delicious, but the following photo is actually banana walnut muffins, because I had to use up some overripe bananas. 

Banana Walnut Muffins

Recipe here and I add 50g chopped walnuts too - because I grow walnuts and bung them in all sorts of bread and cakes! 

With my second huge pumpkin I'm going to have a bash at pumpkin and rosemary jam, which I have a recipe for. Pumpkin jam is quite nice and I've had it at a French neighbour's house. I'll report back on that later.


  1. Your pumpkin pieless is basically pumpkin crumble, really! Looks very nice. I have a giant pumpkin sat on a table in the kitchen. I's so big that I can't cut into it until I know exactly what I'm going to do with it all. I didn't grow it. I had lots of plants and basically NO PUMPKINS this year, including Musee de Provence. Yours looks quite magnificent. I really don't know where I'm going wrong with them. But hey ho. You've given me QUITE LITERALLY lots of food for thought here. So thanks for that!

    1. Hi stranger! :-) I waited until I had amassed some new recipes and was also a bit concerned cutting into this one, as it's the first time I've managed to grow a big pumpkin that actually ripened. I didn't do well with potimarron this year - only one plant germinated which had one very small fruit on it. Usually they have loads and much bigger. :-( I don't think it's a matter of doing right or wrong. I think they just do their own thing, and it can't be because there wasn't enough heat or sun, at least in July! Good luck with getting through yours and hope you enjoy it!

  2. Your Pumkin Pieless looks indeed delicious (cream must be divine on this!) , and your banana walnut muffins are absolutely scrumptious :-)
    .... and the pictures make me hungry, mon amie!

  3. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, Mandy! Lucky we had our dinner a and I just had a bit of ice cream Bûche de Noël left over of my daughter's New Year's Eve dinner she had with her friends, otherwise my keyboard would be too slippery to type on! Since I don't know you that long (but loved every minute up till now) I wasn't aware you were also a kitchen queen. I read of so many new pumpkin kinds here and would absolutely adore having of bite (or more) of every dish here! Maybe I should book a weekend at the Chateau! On the leg pulling part I could say I'd pour some crème anglaise over your Pumpkin pie (I think someone else here would risk that too!), but cream is delicious too!
    Thanks for this delicious blog post, dear Mandy!
    PS last year during our holiday in the Cotswolds my wife and I ended up in the Jamie Oliver resto in Cheltenham : it's in a former country court, great setting and food!

    1. Hi Marie-Helene and Jan. I'll reply to both of you together. I just knew Jan would come running when there were sweet things involved ;-) Poor Miss Ladybug will be missing out on this tea party!
      Yes I do cook and post recipes here occasionally. Usually it's involving doing something with the produce from the garden, like sweet vegetable cakes, jams and chutneys! I'm glad I made you both hungry looking at the pictures - the sweet stuff is much nicer than the savoury. :-)

      Jan there's a J. Oliver Italian restaurant I have passed many times in a big town near where my brother in law lives. Maybe I should try it. I just find JO really irritating on TV...... :-)

      Thanks both of you :-)