Last Night’s Pumpkin Experiment

My first attempt at a Moroccan Pumpkin & Chickpea
October means Pumpkins!

So as I said yesterday, in my Day 1 post, on my way home from work I stopped in at my local shop and picked two of these beauties on the right.

They cost £3 each or two for £5 which given the size of them I think is a bargain.

The Shop Incident

Plenty of comments in the shop when I was at the checkout with these under each arm (I don’t think they are used to a single bloke buying such items in our village) with the usual October classic

Lady: “You making Halloween decorations, ah how lovely

Me: “Erm, no, they are food!  For me, to eat!

(I don’t do purely commercialised rubbish like Halloween).

Lady: “You must be making Pumpkin soup then, I’ve got a great recipe

Me: “Well, er, most likely at some point, but I want to try out lots of things, I’ve got lots of recipes

Lady: “Really, what else is there besides soup?“..

Well, I’ll be dropping off some recipes to the shop later in the week for her :)

The Cook Off

Bare with me, dear reader, I’m fairly new to this blogging malarkey and completely forgot the endless task of taking pictures while doing all of this!  Apologies, I will get better!

I have to admit, I couldn’t wait, when I got home, to split one of these open and check it out.  I found my trusty new samurai grade mega knife and promptly slit it into two with ease!  Trust me good sharp knives are a must!!

A good quantity of flesh, slightly yellower than I thought it would be I was expecting more of an orange colour, loads of big seeds and the usual stringy gunk (no I’ve not thrown it away, it’s in the freezer along with the rind).

Inside they are still a little soft and foam like (hopefully the second will have firmed up a bit by the time I come to use it later in the month).

Once I’d divided one half of the first one into three, I carefully packaged up the other half and stashed it in the fridge for the next night and set about dicing and chopping up the quarters.

Moroccan-style Pumpkin, Sweet Potato & Courgette (Zucchini) with Spinach and Chick Peas

My first attempt at a Moroccan-style Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Courgette & Chickpea something or other..

Okay, I know, yesterday I said I was going to make Moroccan-style Pumpkin with Butter Beans, but guess what?  As with all good single blokes I wasn’t prepared.  I thought I had a can of Butter Beans in the cupboard, but alas, nope.. Just Chick Peas!

Note: I now have a batch of Butter Beans soaking ready for tonight or tomorrows enjoyment!

So anyways, this pumpkin was big enough to chop into six and have more than enough for one meal.  This third on it’s own has yielded six portions of the meal on the right!

The dish is a simple throw together dish, I don’t do complicated.

Tip: My trick for non-squishy, soggy Pumpkin and Sweet Potatoes and so on is to start with a really hot, dry pan and give them a good blast, keep ing them moving until they just start to get some colour (brown bits), then reduce the heat and add the oil, that way they have a slightly more stable exterior and won’t mush down quite so much.

Take the Pumpkin and an equal amount of Sweet Potato, cube them throw them into a pan and just before they start caramelising (catching brown bits) with some Olive Oil.  Throw in some crushed Garlic, Moroccan spices (I used a ready-made blend from a friend but will investigate ingredients).. I also threw in some Fennel seeds, crushed Cardamon and Sun-Dried Tomato flakes.

Once slightly softened and a little translucent, I added the Cubed Courgette (Zucchini) and some more Lemon infused Olive Oil, let those cook down for a few minutes before adding the Chick Peas.

A finishing touch of chopped Spinach for the last few minutes adds a bit more colour and flavour to the mix (and plenty more vitamins and minerals).  Next time they are getting the Seeds added too for garnish :)

All topped off with a Greek-style Yoghurt and some Lemon Pepper.  Boy it was good, hearty and satisfying!!

Pumpkin, Roasted Baby Tomatoes, Garlic & Chilli Soup (to be served with Greek Yoghurt)

The second third went straight into a bowl with crushed Garlic and a Mild Chilli Oil before being spread onto a tray with baby tomatoes and a good splash of Sea Salt.  In the oven for about an hour at 180c, turning occasionally, and then into the blender with some low fat single cream and cracked black pepper.

Voila, four portions of Chilli and Garlic pumpkin soup in freezer bags ready for the colder days to come :)

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato & Fennel Soup

The last third was combined with diced Sweet Potatoes and sliced fennel before being given a light olive oil coating and some more salt and pepper.  Worked up in the same way as above, giving another four portions of luxurious soup in the freezer for later days.

Chilli & Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Those seeds.. Oh wow, they looked good, so while the soup ingredients where roasting away in the oven I thought I’d whip these up into a tasty, tangy snack for work/tv etc.  There about 200g of seeds in this one pumpkin which in the shops could cost a good £2 or £3 so I’m definitely not wasting them!

I threw together some natural honey (with Local Pollen from my local farmers market) and some chilli flakes, a little ginger powder and the seeds and spread them over another smaller tray and popped them into the bottom of the oven with the soup mixes.

Oh wow, they are goooooood!  Tangy, yet sweet, yet earthy and crispy golden brown.  They are now in my cupboard ready for me to attack on a regular basis! :D

I’ll expand on these recipes later and add them to my recipes section.

So in summary..

Just half a Pumpkin (so a cost of £1.25, plus about another £1.50 in other ingredients) has yielded 8 portions of soup, 6 main meals (5 for the freezer) and 200g of roasted seeds!